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

Escher String Quartet and pianist Gilles Vonsattel to perform world premiere Oct. 30 at Schwab

Escher String Quartet and pianist Gilles Vonsattel will make their Penn State debuts—in a program featuring the world premiere of a piece by San Francisco-born composer Anthony Cheung—at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Schwab Auditorium.

The quartet will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23. Vonsattel will then join the ensemble to christen Cheung’s “All Roads.” 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 will also play Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.

Purchase tickets, which are $44 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student, and $34 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student prices possible.

Access more information about the musicians and composer.

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 group 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.

See the quartet perform works by various artists.

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.”

Watch Vonsattel perform music by Claude Debussy.

After the concert, the artists will engage in a conversation with interested audience members.

Pieter and Lida Ouwehand sponsor the presentation. The Norma and Ralph Condee Chamber Music Endowment provides support.

Classical Coffeehouse featuring Escher and Cheung

The Escher ensemble is also scheduled to perform a mini concert at Classical Coffeehouse, a Center for the Performing Arts-Penn State Alumni Association collaboration that takes place at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, in Penn State’s Hintz Family Alumni Center. Cheung will speak about his work at the coffeehouse.

Designed for Penn State students but open to community members, Classical Coffeehouse aims to expand the audience for traditional and contemporary music by offering a relaxed atmosphere with discussion and socializing among audience members and artists.

Classical Coffeehouse partners include Blue & White Society, PSU Music Service Club and Penn State Coffee Club. The coffeehouse is free for University Park students. A $10 donation is suggested for each non-student. Donations help to sustain the series. Complimentary beverages and snacks are served. Seating is limited, but standing room is available when seating is full. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.