Two 20th century works by living composers and a string quartet by Haydn are on the program presented by the Apple Hill String Quartet during Serenata of Santa Fe’s March 25 concert at First Presbyterian Church.
Joan Tower’s 1988 piece “Island Prelude,” Celso Garrido-Lecca’s “String Quartet No. 2” and Haydn’s “String Quartet Op. 20, No. 2” are performed by violinists Elise Kuder and Colleen Jennings, violist Mike Kelley and cellist Rupert Thompson. Serenata of Santa Fe’s artistic director Pamela Epple plays the oboe in “Island Prelude.”
“Pamela is a great oboist, and we’ve known her for years,” explains Thompson.
“We talked with her about playing a work together that we haven’t done before. The Tower piece was written for a string quartet and oboe soloist and evokes a beautiful texture. It’s got its own sound world.”
The Apple Hill String Quartet discovered Garrido-Lecca’s piece during a concert tour of Peru last year. Born in Lima in 1926, Garrido-Lecca studied in Peru and Chile before studying with American composer Aaron Copland at Tanglewood in 1964.
“His string quartet is a powerful, very spiritual piece with an amazing, unique and expressive pizzicato (plucked strings) middle movement,” says Thompson. “People are going to love it.”
The Apple Hill String Quartet is the ensemble-in-residence at Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, which was founded in 1971 and is situated on 100 acres of fields and woodlands in rural New Hampshire. The quartet presents concerts and educational workshops throughout the world and teaches and coaches chamber music to 300 music students attending Apple Hill’s Chamber Music Workshop during the summer. Epple is on the summer program’s faculty.
Central to the mission of Apple Hill is Playing for Peace, an outreach program founded in 1988 that focuses on social change and connection through music by performing in areas of conflict and playing on both sides of the conflict. The quartet just got back from a three-week tour of Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus and Israel.
The Apple Hill String Quartet’s Santa Fe performance is part of a West Coast/Southwest tour that also takes the musicians to Albuquerque and Los Angeles.