Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

  • A quartet—three men and a woman—stand against a cement wall as they each smile and hold their stringed instrument.
  • Pianist Gilles Vonsattel clasps his hands together while he looks and smiles at the camera.

Escher String Quartet
Gilles Vonsattel, pianist

7:30 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Escher String Quartet—an ensemble championed by Emerson String Quartet, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zukerman—makes its Penn State debut in a program featuring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23. Pianist Gilles Vonsattel joins the quartet to perform the world premiere of All Roads by San Francisco-born composer Anthony Cheung. The five-movement work, inspired by Billy Strayhorn’s Lotus Blossom, was co-commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts through its membership in the Music Accord consortium. The five musicians also perform Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.

The Escher ensemble, formed in 2005, has earned applause for its expressive, nuanced performances that combine unusual textural clarity with a rich, blended sound. A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet is one of the few chamber ensembles to win the Avery Fisher Career Grant. The quartet has performed with a number of classical music luminaries, but it also has collaborated with jazz artists such as Joshua Redman, Kurt Elling, and Paquito D’Rivera.

In its hometown of New York City, the quartet serves as Season Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The ensemble—violinists Adam Barnett-Hart and Danbi Um, violist Pierre Lapointe, and cellist Brook Speltz—is also quartet in residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Vonsattel, winner of the Naumburg and Geneva piano competitions, is a musician of versatility and originality. The Swiss-born American artist, who displays a sense of adventure and musical curiosity, performs an enormous range of repertoire. An Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Vonsattel in recent years has made his Boston Symphony, Tanglewood, and San Francisco Symphony debuts. A New York Times critic describes his most recent New York City recital as “tightly conceived and passionately performed … a study in intensity.”

Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before this performance, but members of the quartet and Cheung will engage in a conversation with audience members after the concert.

Adult $44
University Park Student $15
18 and Younger $34

Pieter W. and Lida Ouwehand

support provided by
Norma and Ralph Condee Chamber Music Endowment


Secondary Events on Each Event

Classical Coffeehouse
featuring Escher String Quartet
and composer Anthony Cheung

8:00 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall

Classical Coffeehouse is free for University Park students.
A $10 donation is suggested for each community member. Donations help to sustain the coffeehouse series.

Presented by the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State and the Penn State Alumni Association in partnership with the Blue & White Society, the PSU Music Service Club, and the Penn State Coffee Club.

The Escher String Quartet’s expressive performances combine unusual textual clarity with a rich, blended sound. Hear selections from the quartet's repertoire. Composer Anthony Cheung will also be present to discuss his work.

The coffeehouse includes a mini-performance, discussions among artists and audience members, and social time with the musicians and others in attendance.

Enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages. Seating is limited. Standing room is available when seating is full. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.