JUNO and Opus Award winning New Orford String Quartet performs in Brandon

Two men are seated on steps in front of a wooden door. A man stands on their right, while a women stands on their left.
The New Orford String Quartet will perform at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall on Friday, Nov. 3. (Photo by Dahlia Katz)

A highly decorated Canadian string quartet will visit Brandon University (BU) this week for a “plucky” performance.

The New Orford String Quartet will perform at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall on Friday at 7:30 p.m., as part of the School of Music’s pro series. A short question-and-answer session will follow the performance.

Their program, titled “Pizzicato!”, will showcase the diverse ways in which pizzicato, a technique where the strings are plucked instead of bowed, is used to shape the expressive landscapes of string quartet music. Caroline Shaw’s “Blueprint” experiments with pizzicato textures, creating intricate rhythmic patterns that weave a mesmerizing musical tapestry. Ana Sokolovic’s “Commedia delle’arte” utilizes pizzicato to evoke the playful, lively spirit of the Italian theater, adding a delightful rhythmic energy to the music. Beethoven’s Harp quartet incorporates pizzicato passages to enhance the ethereal and dreamlike atmosphere of the piece. Ravel uses pizzicato in one of his movements to create a delightful rhythmic complexity. Throughout this program, pizzicato serves as a powerful tool, showcasing the expressive possibilities and adding a unique sonic dimension to the string quartet repertoire.

“The New Orford String Quartet has enthralled audiences across North America, and we’re delighted to have them here on our stage at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall for an intimate and invigorating performance,” said Greg Gatien, Dean of Music at BU. “The musicians are each remarkable in their own right, and when they come together they produce magical performances that will bring our audience members the joy they have come to expect from a pro series performance.”

“The musicians are each remarkable in their own right, and when they come together they produce magical performances”

Greg Gatien, Dean of Music

The original Orford String Quartet performed more than 2,000 concerts on six continents between 1965 and 1991. In 2009, the New Orford String Quartet was born, performing a sold-out concert at the Orford Arts Centre, in Orford, Que. Sharon Wei, viola, Jonathan Crow, violin, Andrew Wan, violin, and Brian Manker, cello, comprise the New Orford String Quartet. Their goal is to develop a new model for a touring string quartet by bringing four elite orchestral leaders and soloists together regularly to perform chamber music at the highest level while maintaining a fresh perspective and sense of joy.

“These are four greats of Canadian string playing,” said Leanne Zacharias, Associate Professor of cello in BU’s School of Music. “I’m thrilled that our students and community have the chance to hear them up close, in our fabulous hall, this Friday.”

The quartet has received two Opus Awards for Concert of the Year and won a JUNO Award in 2017 for top chamber music recording. Dedicated to promoting Canadian works, they have performed in major cities, including Washington, D.C., Toronto, New York and Chicago, while also performing frequently in smaller centres.

Tickets for Friday’s concert, at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building, will cost $20 for adults and seniors, and are free for BU Students as well as Conservatory of Music students who are accompanied by an adult. Tickets will be available at the door.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Manitoba Arts Council.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programs are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit Events.BrandonU.ca/Events/Category/Music.

Please contact the School of Music at Music@BrandonU.ca with any accessibility considerations.


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