Manhattan String Quartet to perform in March, April at WCSU

DANBURY, CONN. — A $7,500 grant received last fall from the National Endowment for the Arts for a yearlong residency at Western Connecticut State University by the renowned Manhattan String Quartet (MSQ) will yield several performances by the popular group at WestConn this spring. The concerts are open to the public; tickets can be purchased by calling (203) 837-8499 or online at

The MSQ will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The program will celebrate American composers whose works derive from classical and musical theater. The highlight will be a tribute to George Gershwin and Jerome Kern in quartets rarely heard from these prominent American composers, including Gershwin’s “Lullaby” and Kern’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” The program also will include quartets by Aaron Copland and the well-known “Adagio” for string quartet by Samuel Barber. After the intermission, Beethoven’s monumental Op. 130 with the Grand Fugue will be performed. Tickets will be $25 for adults, and $15 for seniors and students.

Also at 8 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall on Saturday, April 25, the MSQ will perform a tribute to American women composers. “The Flute Quintet” by Amy Beach, a Boston composer of the early 20th century, will be performed by WCSU Professor of Music Dr. Kerry Walker, flutist, with the MSQ. Composer Laura Kaminsky’s String Quartet dedicated to the Manhattan String Quartet, “American Nocturne,” will premiere and the MSQ will celebrate the 70th birthday of one of America’s most famous composers, Joan Tower, with a performance of her third string quartet, “Incandescent.” Before the concert, there will be a “Meet the Composer” session at 6 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall where Kaminsky and Tower will discuss their compositional philosophies and the audience will get a chance to ask questions. Tickets will be $25 for adults, and $15 for seniors and students.

MSQ violinist Eric Lewis, a professor of music at WestConn, said, “In the past, to be recognized as an important composer was difficult enough, but to add the gender issue of being a woman was usually fatal for such recognition. Now, in the 21st century, we can say that women have found their place in the pantheon of the great composers of our time. The MSQ has always championed our wonderful women composers and instrumentalists.”

Lewis said the collaboration between the WCSU music department and the MSQ aims to bring qualified string instrumentalists to WestConn for expansion of its orchestra and chamber music programs. “This effort is in anticipation of the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ move to the new Visual and Performing Arts Instructional Center on the university’s Westside campus in 2014,” he said.

The MSQ has been associated with WestConn for 30 years, giving concerts and providing educational activities including lecture demonstrations, workshops for string teachers and summer string chamber music camps for children from elementary to high school. Members of the MSQ also have collaborated with other members of the WCSU faculty in concert and in teaching interdisciplinary courses.

For more information, call the music department at (203) 837-8350 or the box office at (203) 837-8499, or visit

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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