Catalyst Quartet to perform ‘Goldberg Variations’ Sept. 17 at Esber Recital Hall
Catalyst Quartet, featuring top performers from the renowned Sphinx Competition, will open the Center for the Performing Arts 2015–16 season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in Esber Recital Hall, Music Building I.
The program will feature music from the quartet’s debut album, “The Bach/Gould Project.” The recording includes new arrangements of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” and Glenn Gould’s “String Quartet,” the Canadian composer’s work completed shortly before recording his own arrangement of “Goldberg Variations.”
The Catalyst visit to Penn State features a variety of no-cost engagement events for students and the public.
Purchase concert tickets, which are $42 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student and $32 for a person 18 and younger.
The quartet includes the four principal players—cellist Karlos Rodriguez, violist Paul Laraia, and violinists Karla Donehew-Perez and Jessie Montgomery—from the Sphinx Organization alumni ensemble Sphinx Virtuosi. Sybarite5 violinist Sami Merdinian will fill in for Montgomery, who’s on a leave of absence for the quartet’s 2015 fall tour.
Through a collaborative arranging process, Catalyst recorded the first known four-instrument version of the “Goldberg Variations,” written by Bach for single harpsichord in the 1740s. The “Goldberg Variations,” an aria and a set of 30 variations on that theme, is considered by many historians to be the quintessential example of a musical variation form. Gould became famous for recording the “Variations” in 1955.
“Having been collectively inspired by Bach’s genius and Glenn Gould, the artist responsible for bringing the ‘Variations’ into our collective consciousness, we have decided to explore and highlight this three-dimensional relationship amongst Bach, Glenn Gould and the medium of the string quartet,” notes a statement on the Catalyst website.
Catalyst made its debut in 2010 at Carnegie Hall and since has participated in residencies and master classes at colleges and institutions worldwide. The quartet also has performed at prestigious events, including Festival del Sole, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Juneau Jazz and Classics, Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and the Grand Canyon Music Festival.
The Sphinx Organization, founded by Aaron Dworkin (musician, author, arts advocate, former member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and 2005 MacArthur Fellow) aims to cultivate an appreciation of the arts among minorities through advocacy, opportunity and mentorship.
Hear a Center for the Performing Arts conversation with violinist Donehew-Perez.
Read a Center for the Performing Arts feature article about Catalyst and its concert program.
Read a Center for the Performing Arts feature article about Donehew-Perez.
Read a Center for the Performing Arts interview with Dworkin.
Read about public engagement activities featuring quartet members and Dworkin.
Complimentary parking for the Catalyst concert will be offered at the Eisenhower Parking Deck, and complimentary wheelchair-accessible shuttle service will be provided from the parking deck to Esber.
Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, takes place at Esber one hour before the concert and is free for ticket holders.
This presentation is a component of the Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project provides opportunities to engage students, faculty and the community with classical music artists and programs.
Eileen Leibowitz sponsors the concert. WPSU is the media sponsor.