Christopher Costanza (St. Lawrence Quartet) Responds to Questions: Why this repertoire? Why now?

By pcurchack on February 3, 2011

As part of our initiative exploring how artists choose the program they present, we asked Christopher Costanza (St. Lawrence String Quartet) the following questions:

PCMS: Why did you choose this particular repertoire for your concert?  Why perform these pieces at this time?

St. Lawrence Quartet (l-r): Lesley Robertson, viola; Geoff Nuttall, violin; Scott St. John, violin; Christopher Constanza, cello

Christopher Costanza: Generally, the choice of programs is a joint effort between the concert presenter and the performer.  We offer a balanced list of repertoire each season, from which concert presenters choose programs.  In the case of this program, we had originally planned to play the new string quartet Osvaldo Golijov is writing for us; when we realized that we wouldn't receive the piece in time to offer it prior to March of this year, we had a discussion with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society directors to see what might be a suitable substitute. We quickly realized that Osvaldo's 1st string quartet, Yiddishbbuk, written in 1992 for the SLSQ, would be a perfect replacement, with the added bonus that this performance would be a Philadelphia premiere of the work!

As for the other 2 works on the program, we're always happy to perform any Beethoven string quartet, and we're very excited that we were asked to play this wonderfully energetic and intense work from Beethoven's early period.  It perfectly complements the intense, emotional, and uniquely creative voice of Yiddishbbuk.  And the Mozart:  the G Minor Viola Quintet is one of the most perfect, sublime, honestly emotional and intensely expressive works of chamber music ever composed.  We'll happily play this piece anytime, anywhere, and we're thrilled to be performing it in Philadelphia with our great friend, colleague, teacher and musical inspiration, Michael Tree.  We very much look forward to performing this program for the always enthusiastic PCMS audience!

The St. Lawrence Quartet appears with Michael Tree, viola on Friday, February 11th at 8 pm at the Perelman Theater.  For tickets and information, please click here or call the PCMS Box Office at 215-569-8080.