Clayton State University’s Spivey Hall welcomes the Jupiter String Quartet November 15 – 20 for the inaugural week of “Project Jupiter,” a multi-year partnership that will involve the Quartet in a wide variety of performance, teaching, community outreach, and audience development activities in Atlanta’s Southern Crescent.
During the first week of its 2010-2011 season residency that coincides with Spivey Hall’s Twentieth Anniversary Season, the Jupiter String Quartet will work with student musicians at three south-side partner schools: Lovejoy High School in Hampton, Stephen Lawrence, Orchestra Director; Union Grove High School in McDonough, Kathy Saucier, Orchestra Director; and Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, Darilyn Esterline, Orchestra Director. In addition to working with large group ensembles, the Jupiters will mentor student quartets formed as an educational and artistic initiative of Project Jupiter. These quartets will take part in a public master class with the Jupiters at Spivey Hall in Spring 2011.
The fall Project Jupiter residency also dovetails with the annual Spivey Hall Chamber Orchestra Workshop, during which outstanding student string musicians from area schools have the opportunity to come together and work with a nationally renowned conductor. For 2010, the distinguished clinician is Mr. Bob Phillips, noted chamber music educator, composer, and author of over 50 works of strings pedagogy. The workshop’s concluding public performance will take place on Friday, November 19 at 7:30 PM, where students will be joined by the Jupiters on stage for two pieces.
Additionally, the Jupiters will present two public outreach performances, the first in the Atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (Tuesday, November 16, 5:00 – 7:00 PM), the second at Golden Crest Assisted Living Residence at Eagle’s Landing in Stockbridge (Wednesday evening, November 17). The week culminates in a Spivey Series concert, November 20, at 8:15 PM, with a pre-concert talk by Jupiter cellist Daniel McDonough in dialogue with Clayton State University music faculty member, Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller, at 7:15 PM. For their first performance in Spivey Hall’s annual series of concerts by outstanding international musicians, the Jupiters have chosen two works by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), whose string quartets are central to the chamber music repertoire, as well as a primary focus of the Jupiters’ three-season residency: an early quartet, Opus 18 No. 2 in G major, and a late quartet, Opus 130 in B-flat major. The program also includes the 12 Microludes for String Quartet (Hommage à Mihály András), Opus 13, composed in 1977/78 by contemporary Hungarian composer, György Kurtág (b. 1926) – lyrical, fleeting, intricately-woven short pieces that the Jupiters will introduce with spoken commentary from the stage before performing them. This program is the first of several that will explore the theme “the evolution of compositional voice,” and the distinctive ways in which composers over several centuries have written for the ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello.
Project Jupiter, a natural extension of Spivey Hall’s far-reaching Education Program, was spearheaded by Spivey Hall’s Executive & Artistic Director, Samuel C. Dixon, in consultation with the Jupiter String Quartet musicians and the Spivey Hall Education Committee, an advisory group that identifies ways for Spivey Hall to respond to music education needs in its region. Spivey Hall Education Manager Catherine Striplin leads the implementation of Project Jupiter, a significant addition to the scope of Spivey Hall’s award-winning Education Program that includes the renowned Spivey Hall Children’s Choir Program, popular Young People’s Concerts, choral, chamber orchestra and jazz-band workshops, master classes by distinguished guest artists, and professional development opportunities for teachers, all of which serve more than 18,000 individuals annually from throughout Atlanta and beyond.
A generous $9,000 grant awarded to Clayton State University in December 2009 from the National Endowment for the Arts’ prestigious and highly competitive “Access to Artistic Excellence” program provides Spivey Hall essential resources to launch the first year of the anticipated three-season Project Jupiter, which also receives a special grant from South Arts, as well as deeply appreciated operating support from the Georgia Council for the Arts, Clayton State University, the Walter & Emilie Spivey Foundation, and the Friends of Spivey Hall. Country Inn & Suites Atlanta I-75 South is the official hotel sponsor of the Jupiter Quartet, and The Coca-Cola Company, as corporate sponsor of Spivey Hall’s Twentieth Anniversary Season, is the exclusive beverage sponsor of Project Jupiter. Spivey Hall and the Jupiter String Quartet musicians extend their thanks to all of these entities, as well as its high school and community partners, for making this important residency possible. Additional support is already being sought to continue, extend and enrich the program.
The JUPITER STRING QUARTET, formed in 2001, consists of violinists Nelson Lee and Megan Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (older sister of Meg), and cellist Daniel McDonough (husband of Meg, brother-in-law of Liz). They currently reside in Boston, Massachusetts.
In addition to its extensive concert schedule, the Jupiter String Quartet places a strong emphasis on developing relationships with future classical music audiences through outreach work in schools and other educational performances. They believe that chamber music, because of the intensity of its interplay and communication, is one of the most effective ways of spreading an enthusiasm for “classical” music to new audiences.
The Jupiters have received several major chamber music honors, including first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition, grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, membership in Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two, and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, which “honors and promotes a rising young string quartet whose artistry demonstrates that it is in the process of establishing a major career.” The Quartet also won the 2005 Young Concert Artists International auditions and now holds YCA’s Helen F. Whitaker Chamber Music Chair. Most recently, they were the recipients of a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant.
In addition to their extensive schedule of performances in chamber music series and festivals throughout North America and beyond, the Jupiter String Quartet has earned accolades for its compact disc recordings on the Marquis label. Following the critical success of their first CD of quartets by Benjamin Britten and Sergei Prokofiev, the Jupiters’ second Marquis CD, released in 2009, features two masterworks of the Romantic repertoire: Felix Mendelssohn’s final Quartet in F minor, Opus 80, and another of Ludwig van Beethoven’s late quartets, the Quartet in F major, Opus 135.
The Jupiter String Quartet (www.jupiterquartet.com) is managed by Bill Capone of Arts Management Group, Inc., New York. Tickets to the Jupiter String Quartet’s Spivey Hall performance on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:15 PM are available from the Spivey Hall Box Office, telephone (678) 466-4200, and online at www.spiveyhall.org.