Oct. 26, 2015
For immediate release
WATERLOO – The Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ), Laurier’s quartet-in-residence, recently began a two-week tour of China that will see the group perform eight concerts in major halls in Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Tianjin as well as concerts and masterclasses at universities in Beijing, Ningbo and Tsinghua. This will mark the third time the quartet has toured China.
The PSQ is touring with full travel assistance from the Ontario Arts Council and are presented under the sponsorship of Shanghai-based agency Wu Promotions. Toronto-based jazz pianist David Braid, with whom the PSQ have collaborated extensively in Canada, will join the tour initially.
The main program of concerts includes a new work by Hong Kong native and longtime University of Toronto composition professor Chan Ka Nin. Titled “Mountain Song”, Chan uses folk melodies from his recent research in China, including a folksong, “Beautiful Red Flower”, which is the main underlining element in this new quartet. The acoustic ambience of the Chinese mountain landscape is evoked with sounds of wind, birdcalls, rustling of leaves and echoes, explored in the instrumental writing.
“We love being in China; the food, the energy of people, the complex and rich history of the country. On our last two tours the audiences were plentiful and receptive,” said PSQ violinist Jeremy Bell. “We have performed works by Chinese composers in China before and it is wonderful to sense the pride they have for their musical heritage, sometimes applauding spontaneously in the middle of a work when a folk tune is recognized.”
Additionally, the PSQ will perform works of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Haydn, as well as their namesake composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Quartet No. 2” (1968) and “Quartet No. 3” (2008).
“We are proud to include Krzyzstof’s quartets on this tour,” noted violist Christine Vlajk. “These works are an important part of our identity and we have worked with the composer on them and recently recorded ‘Quartet No.3.’ They are dynamic, exploratory and represent us well.”
For cellist Katie Schlaikjer, there is an additional personal interest in travelling to China. “I have a cousin once-removed in Shanghai who is coming to the concert when we are there,” she said. “Though we both grew up in America, this will be the first time she'll hear me play. I am named after her grandmother, and I haven’t seen her in 15 years!”
As quartet-in-residence at Laurier since 1991, members of the Penderecki String Quartet teach studio instruction and chamber music in the Faculty of Music. Formed in 1986, the PSQ is comprised of Jeremy Bell (violin), Jerzy Kaplanek (violin), Katie Schlaikjer (cello) and Christine Vlajk (viola). Their recent schedule has included concerts in New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Paris, Prague, Berlin, Rome, Belgrade, Zagreb and Atlanta, plus appearances at festivals in Poland, Lithuania, Italy, Venezuela, and Brazil.
More information on the Penderecki String Quartet is available at ps4.ca.
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