During their week long stay the Ying String Quartet were extremely busy. They came in for the Community Concert Series, but agreed to do so much more. They attended several receptions; taught a series of master classes at Austin Peay State University; gave concerts for APSU students; performed for Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division, and Students at Fort Campbell Schools; and on Friday they performed for the Clarksville Community Concert Association’s Community Concert Series. In other words once they arrived in Clarksville, Tennessee; they never stopped moving.
The quartet is composed of Ayano Ninomiya, violin; Janet Ying, violin; Phillip Ying, viola; and David Ying, cello. The Quartet was originally founded by four siblings: Timothy, Janet, Phillip and David Ying.
APSU’s Fall Salon Series
I was fortunate to hear them first play at the Pace Alumni Center at APSU; the old Emerald Hill Mansion. It was as if we were ladies and gentlemen of substance enjoying a fall concert during the heyday of the mansion. The soft strains of the masterfully played string instruments flirted about the old stately residence.
The Ying Quartet first came to professional prominence in the early 1990s during their years as resident quartet of Jesup, Iowa, a farm town of 2000 people. Playing before audiences of six to six hundred in homes, schools, churches, and banks, the Quartet had its first opportunities to enable music and creative endeavor to become an integral part of community life. The Quartet considers its time in Jesup the foundation of its present musical life and goals. The residency, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, was widely chronicled in the national media. Toward the end of the residency, the quartet and several of the townspeople were invited to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress on behalf of the NEA.
25th Anniversary of the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence kickoff
The next meeting was at a reception kicking off the 25th Anniversary of the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence at APSU. Founded in 1985, the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence brings regionally and nationally acclaimed artists to campus to work with students and the community in a dynamic atmosphere of unrestricted experimentation.
During the reception the Ying Quartet were named one of the the latest holders of that distinguished title; also named for the 2010-11 sitting were Sydney Guillaume, William Bennett, Paul Schoenfield, and Clifton Ware. For information on current or previous holders of the chair see the APSU page on the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence. http://www.apsu.edu/creativearts/chair
APSU commissioned Rick Goodwin Productions to create a video tribute to Roy Acuff and the chair he founded.
They need the continued support of the community in the form of individuals or corporate donations to help the Chair continue its grand mission.
Sydney Guillaume will be performing Friday
At only 28, Guillaume is a rising talent in the choral and music world. He has been commissioned by renowned choirs such as The University of Miami Frost Chorale, Seraphic Fire, the Young New Yorkers Chorus, the Miami Children’s Chorus and the Kokopelli Choir. His music has been performed around the world, and the Miami Herald praised his compositions as showing “impressive maturity and striking melodic distinction.”
As one of this year’s Acuff Chairs of Excellence, he will spend a week on campus, meeting with composition students and helping with choral rehearsals. His stay at APSU will culminate with a concert of his work, performed by the University Choir and the Chamber Singers, at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 8, in the Music/Mass Communication Building’s Concert Hall.
Austin Peay commissioned a new work by Guillaume for that performance. That piece, “Fèt Chanpèt,” pays homage to the carnivals of northern Haiti.
Meredith Monk to perform on October 21st at 7:30pm
In October, the multifaceted artist Meredith Monk will bring her seminal mixed-media work “Education of a Girlchild Revisited” to the concert hall.
“Monk is considered one of our pioneering artists in our country,” said Christopher Burawa, the Director of the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts. “She was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious ‘Genius Award’ in 1995, and she was among the first artists back in the ‘70s to bring together different disciplines to create a whole new category of art, which is performance art. She integrates music and original composition with vocals, visual arts, theater and dance.”
Community Concert Series performance
Their performance for Clarksville Community Concert Association’s Community Concert Series was quite masterful. From the first moment I saw them rehearsing before the auditorium was opened, I knew that it was going to be really something to see and hear! They added layers of deep emotional intensity to the numbers they played. This was the Ying Quartet at their very finest.
They featured three composers during their performance. Anton Arensky’s Quartet No. 1 in G Major, Op. 11; Samuel Barber’s String Quartet, Op 11, and Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Quartet in B flat major, Op. 130 “Liebguartett”.
At times you could hear sobs of joy coming from the audience during points of their performance.
About the Ying Quartet
During the summers, the Ying Quartet’s activity is primarily centered at music festivals. They are presently ensemble-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival and also have performed and taught for several summers at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Other festival appearances have been at Tanglewood, Ravinia, Caramoor, San Miguel de Allende, Kneisel Hall, Norfolk, Skaneateles, Amelia Island, Interlochen, and many others. The Quartet’s 2008-2009 season featured performances at Carnegie Hall and McGill University’s Haydn Festival, in addition to appearances with the Billy Childs Sextet.
As quartet-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music, the Ying Quartet teaches in the string department and leads a rigorous, sequentially designed chamber music program. One cornerstone of chamber music activity at Eastman is the noted Music for All program, in which all students have the opportunity to perform in community settings beyond the concert hall. From 2001-2008, the Ying Quartet has also been the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University.