Verona Quartet Brings Storytelling to the Mansion at Strathmore

Since forming six years ago while graduate students at Indiana University, Verona Quartet has established itself as one of the most sought after string quartets of its generation.

Verona Quartet. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas.
Verona Quartet. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas.

Under the mentorship of such notable names as the Pacifica Quartet, and Atar Arad, the group has rapidly grown into an exciting touring quartet that has earned a reputation for delighting audiences across the globe. Their skills now bring them to the Mansion at Strathmore for a special one-night-only performance on Thursday, February 21st.

Hailed by The New York Times as an outstanding ensemble, Verona Quartet has received critical acclaim for its intensity, expressiveness, and passion for expanding the canon by performing works by living composers. The group was named by Musical America as New Artists of the Month in May 2016 and In 2015 they won the prestigious Concert Artists Guild competition in 2015, an achievement the musicians consider to be one of the most influential steps in their early career.

“Not only has Concert Artists Guild supported our development as artists, they have helped open doors to relationships and performance opportunities that were brand new to us,” says Violist Abagail Rojansky. “We have had the pleasure of collaborating with other amazing young artists from the CAG roster which has been so much fun for us.”

Securing the sought after residency at the prestigious New England Conservatory, a program led by Paul Katz, former cellist of the Cleveland Quartet that boasts an illustrious collection of alumni quartets, as well as an impressive faculty, allowed them to nurture their passion for collaboration with other artists. The group has enjoyed the many opportunities the program provided, including several performances with Boston’s esteemed Jordan Hall and the opportunity to collaborate with other artists from the NEC community such as the Borromeo Quartet, Kim Kashkashian and Paul Katz.

Their performance at the Mansion at Strathmore will juxtapose the DC premiere of composer Michael Gilbertson’s 2016 Pulitzer Prize contender Quartet – which Verona Quartet co-commissioned – with works by Czech composer Leoš Janáček and Mozart. The program centers around the idea of dedication and memory since each work was written for someone influential in the composers’ lives. Mozart dedicated the Prussian Quartets to Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia and an amateur cellist. The Gilbertson piece harkens back to childhood and the Janáček composition directly references a collection of over 720 letters the composer wrote to a woman with whom he was obsessed in the later years of his life.

Verona Quartet. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas.
Verona Quartet. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas.

Verona Quartet’s belief that the essence of storytelling transcends genre is clear from their effortless ability to connect the audience with a powerful story. An appreciation that each audience’s familiarity with a repertoire differs, but be it music or literature, storytelling transcends an audience’s differences.

“It may be your first time hearing Michael Gilbertson’s Quartet No. 1, but the impact of his juxtaposed contemplation on childhood comforts and hyperactivity is truly captivating and it’s a piece with which people are really going to identify”

It’s therefore unsurprising to learn they took their name from one of the greatest storytellers of all time; Shakespeare, and Verona, the setting that plays host to many of the Bard’s greatest tales.

With an audience as passionate as the one at Strathmore’s ‘Music in the Mansion’, it is sure to be a lively evening of music.

Verona Quartet will play at the Mansion at Strathmore on Thursday, February 21 at 7:30pm at the Mansion at Strathmore – 10701 Rockville Pike, in North Bethesda. For tickets call (301) 581-5100 or go online.