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British string quartet to play at Oberlin College tonight

  • Quartet
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U.K.’s Doric String Quartet — John Myerscough (cello), Ying Xue (violin), Alex Reddington (violin) and Helene Clement (viol) — over the past decade has performed in the world’s leading concert halls, including New York City’s Carnegie Hall. However, there’s one venue that so far eluded the ensemble’s stateside touring itinerary.

That changes when as part of Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series Doric String Quartet performs tonight at Oberlin College and Conservatory’s Finney Chapel.

“Oberlin is very famous, a very world-renowned school,” said Myerscough, calling from Boston.

“It’s exciting to come and perform in a place where there is a really unique music school and you know there is going to be sort of a history and tradition of music making and music participation and interest. It’s also always exciting to play to a knowledgeable audience.”

Winner of the 2008 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition, Doric String Quartet is known for delving into the marrow of the music in an effort to find hidden truths and create something that moves people and is emotionally compelling.

“We try to find new meaning in our interpretations, create really extreme contrasts and try to make this music as relevant today as it was, say,

200 years ago,” Myerscough said. “We make incredibly vivid interpretations. We don’t just sit there and have a nice time. We really challenge audiences and shock them.”

For its Oberlin performance, Doric String Quartet will be performing Joseph Haydn’s

Op. 33, No. 4; Benjamin Britten’s third; and Felix Mendelssohn’s E minor quartets.

Regarding the former piece, Myerscough said it’s incredibly interestingly and exciting.

“Its last movement is really one of the most wild and naughtiest that Haydn ever wrote for the quartet,” Myerscough said. “It’s the perfect example of why Haydn is really the master composer for the quartet.

“The Britten piece is particularly interesting in the way he really kind of thins all of the textures. It’s often very sparse: The sort of real direct emotional effect he creates through this, and there’s nothing superfluous. It’s all very focused and incredibly powerful music.”

The cellist said the last selection by Mendelssohn features drama and emotional darkness that’s full of life and energy acting as a great way to end concert.

Now that the Doric String Quartet will have performed at an Oberlin College and Conservatory,

Myerscough is hopeful the ensemble will soon return to Lorain County.

“Oberlin is definitely a big series in the states, so it’s really special to visit the first time,” Myerscough said. “Hopefully the concert will go well enough that you’d might like to have us back again.

“It’s always such a treat to return to venues, play to audiences who know you and develop a relationship. That’s a lovely kind of bonus that we get sometimes.”

Contact John Benson at Ndiffrence@att.net.
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