Originally Performed on October 8, 2018
Evan Price and Karen Shinozaki-Sor, Violins
Elizabeth Prior, Viola
Eric Gaenslen, Cello
Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 50, No. 3
Claude Debussy: String Quartet in G Minor, No. 10
FRANZ JOSEF HAYDN (1732-1809)
It is appropriate that these two composers, Haydn and Debussy, appear together in online performance. Both composers can be characterized by their wit and startlingly beautiful effects on the senses. On the 100th anniversary of the death of Haydn, Debussy wrote a piece in 1909 titled Hommage à Haydn whose theme is based on notes assigned to the five letters of his surname.
Papa Haydn is considered the father of the Classical symphony (he composed 104). As well, he is considered father of the Classical string quartet having written 83 of them. Although he didn’t invent the form, he reared and cultivated it to perfection.
There are six string quartets that comprise Opus 50. These quartets were dedicated to Haydn’s great admirer King Frederick William II of Prussia, one of the most prominent and generous patrons of arts in Europe.
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Although Haydn wrote 83 string quartets, Debussy wrote only one. But if a composer is going to write only one quartet, this should be the one. Completed in 1893 when the composer was 31 years old, the work is cyclic in structure with recurring themes and motifs in variation technique throughout the four movements. Having freed himself from restraints of Classical harmony and form, Debussy issues the work as a personal and original statement. He wrote: “any sounds in any combination and in any succession are henceforth free to be used in a musical continuity.” Since Debussy, the modern string quartet has not looked back.
Evan Price is a versatile violinist best known for his work with The Turtle Island Quartet and The Hot Club of San Francisco. He studied violin performance and music theory at The Cleveland Institute of Music and holds a BM in violin performance from the Berklee College of Music. An accomplished player of various non-classical genres, he paid early dues as a contest fiddler, winning first place in the 18-and-under division of the Canadian Old-Time Fiddle Championship, in the U.S. Scottish Fiddling Championship, and the Kentucky State Fiddling Championship. He also performed with many of his fiddling heroes including Stephane Grappelli, Vassar Clements, and Johnny Gimble. After joining the TIQ in 1997, he spent ten years touring extensively in North America and Europe and recording five acclaimed CDs with the group, two of which received GRAMMY® awards. During his tenure, the quartet also performed with many notable collaborators including clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, The Billy Taylor Trio, The Ying Quartet, and guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad. He continues to make his name as a leading voice in gypsy jazz, primarily through his sixteen plus years of performing and recording with the HCSF. In addition to his playing, Evan has contributed compositions and arrangements to both afore-mentioned ensembles and to other groups as well, including Chanticleer, The San Francisco Girls’ Chorus, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, with whom he also occasionally performs.
Karen Shinozaki Sor joined the New Century Chamber Orchestra in its inaugural season. A familiar face in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, she also performs with the Santa Rosa and Marin Symphonies and as an extra in the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. She is also a frequent chamber music collaborator, appearing with diverse groups including the Santa Rosa Chamber Players, the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, Music at the Mission, the Sor Ensemble, and the Worn Ensemble.
Karen serves on the music faculties at the University of California, Berkeley and at the Marin Music Conservatory. A Bay Area native, she received her BA from UC Berkeley as a longtime student of Serban Rusu of Tiburon, then continued her studies as a recipient of a Hertz Traveling Fellowship at the Konservatorium für Musik Bern, Switzerland as a student of Professor Igor Ozim.
In her free time, Karen likes to relax with her cellist husband, Eugene Sor, son Kenji, cat Bass, and indulge in her addiction to the Times crossword puzzles.
An active Bay Area violist, Elizabeth Prior is the principal violist with the Santa Rosa Symphony and member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Elizabeth is also a season substitute with the San Francisco Ballet and is the associate principal violist with the Marin Symphony. She performs regularly with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Other orchestral credits include Freiburg Philharmonic, Germany (Associate principal), and Cape Town Symphony, South Africa. She has toured and worked with Südwestfunk, Stuttgart Radio, Basel Symphony, and the Mannheim Opera Orchestras.
A native of South Africa, she was a prizewinner in the International String Competition in Pretoria and gave her debut at Carnegie Hall with the Russian Chamber Orchestra
She tours regularly as a soloist with the Chamber Ensemble of Cologne in France and has toured with the New Century Chamber Orchestra.
Other solo and chamber music engagements include the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival; Sun Valley Summer Symphony and “Chamber Music San Francisco” She is a member of the Farallon Quintet. She gave regular Viola and piano recitals for 13 years with Maestro Donald Runnicles.
Cellist Eric Gaenslen has performed as a chamber musician, recitalist and guest soloist in venues across North America and Europe. As cellist of the renowned Rossetti String Quartet, Eric performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Berlin Konzerthaus, and at the Spoleto Italy, Maverick and Vail Bravo Music Festivals, with such artists as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Eugenia Zuckerman, Gautier Capuçon and Pepe Romero. Solo highlights include the world premiere of Siddartha for cello and string orchestra by Laura Carnibucci and a performance of Bloch’s Shelomo at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall. From 2009-2011 Eric held the position of Acting Principal Cellist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
A devoted educator, Mr. Gaenslen gives master classes in cello and chamber music across the country and has worked with students at the University of Missouri, Kansas City; State University New York at Purchase; California State Universities at Fresno, Northridge, and Long Beach; the Brevard Music Center; Cornish College and the University of Western Washington He has held faculty positions at the Mannes College in New York and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. From 2013-2015 Eric was Artist in Residence at the University of Washington where he instructed the undergraduate cello majors as well as the Doctoral students. Eric currently teaches privately in Burlingame and Palo Alto.
Mr. Gaenslen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Master of Arts degree from the Juilliard School of Music. His teachers have included Joel Krosnick, Robert Mann, Aldo Parisot, William Pleeth, and Irene Sharp. email@example.com