Artist Interview: Juilliard Quartet

By Erik Petersons on November 9, 2012

Joseph Lin is beginning his second season as the first violinist of the esteemed Juilliard Quartet.  While he has entered a vibrant tradition of music-making–witnessed in two performances this season–he also brings new energy and commitment to the quartet’s education outreach.  Joe sat down with us to discuss his new role, their two programs this season and his interest in working with students.

Erik Petersons: We have always felt privileged to hear the Juilliard Quartet twice on our series every year.  This year, you will be performing an all-Beethoven concert in November.  Then during your second appearance with PCMS in February, you will be performing the Quintet for Strings by Samuel Rhodes.  How have these programs come about?

Joseph Lin: The Juilliard Quartet's visits to Philadelphia have always meant a great deal to us because of our close relationship with PCMS and our many good friends in Philadelphia. This season, our two concerts in Philadelphia are particularly significant because Samuel Rhodes is celebrating his 44th and final season as violist of the Juilliard Quartet.

As we discussed programming over a year ago, Sam expressed his deep desire to play all of the late Beethoven quartets in his farewell season. It wasn't hard to convince the rest of us that this would be a wonderfully meaningful project. In Philadelphia, we are presenting three of the five late Beethoven quartets: opus 131 and opus 132 in November, and opus 135 in February. We had of course thought about performing all of the late Beethoven quartets in two concerts, as we are doing elsewhere this season; but then another exciting idea came to mind–we could present a concert with our new violist joining the four of us in string quintets, and moreover Sam Rhodes, himself an accomplished composer, had written a string quintet!

Thus we came to the special program that we are presenting on February 24th: opening with the Beethoven Quartet in F major, Op. 135, followed by the Rhodes String Quintet, and concluding with the Mozart String Quintet in D major, K. 593. In fact, that Philadelphia concert will be the first time that we are appearing together with our new violist, Roger Tapping.

EP: Tell us about your last season with Sam and your expectations moving forward when Roger Tapping joins the quartet next year.

JL: We are of course very excited that Roger Tapping will be joining the Juilliard Quartet. Roger is a remarkable violist, chamber musician, and respected teacher. His wealth of experience (as a former member of the Allegri Quartet and the Takács Quartet) and his unique perspectives will no doubt bring new energy to our quartet as we continue to engage in the wonderful process of musical sharing and discovery with each other and with our audiences. At the same time, knowing that this is Sam Rhodes' last season with us, we are cherishing every moment and each performance with him. Witnessing this momentous and moving transition with both Roger and Sam on stage together in February is a very special opportunity indeed, and we look forward to sharing this with our friends in Philadelphia.

The Juilliard Quartet appears on Friday, November 30th at 8 PM at the Independence Seaport Museum and on Sunday, February 24th at 3 PM at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater.  For tickets and information, visit our website or call the PCMS Box Office at 215.569.8080.