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Crane hosting residency for Alexander String Quartet

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POTSDAM - SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will host the Alexander String Quartet for a residency on Oct. 9. The quartet will present workshops and masterclasses for Crane students during the day, followed by an informal evening concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater.

This concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

The Crane performance will include works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Béla Bartók, with introductions by the quartet from the stage.

In addition to their activities at Crane, the Alexander String Quartet will be in residency at St. Lawrence University, Canton, during the week as well.

The Alexander String Quartet has performed in the major music capitals of five continents, securing its standing among the world’s premier ensembles over nearly three decades. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart and Shostakovich, the quartet has also established itself as an important advocate of new music through over 25 commissions and numerous premiere performances.

The Alexander String Quartet is a major artistic presence in its home base of San Francisco, serving there as directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at the School of Music and Dance in the College of Arts and Humanities at San Francisco State University and Ensemble in Residence of San Francisco Performances.

The Alexander String Quartet’s annual calendar of concerts includes engagements at major halls throughout North America and Europe. The quartet has appeared at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City; Jordan Hall in Boston; the Library of Congress and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., and at chamber music societies and universities across North America.

Recent overseas tours have brought them to the U.K., the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Greece, the Republic of Georgia, Argentina and the Philippines.

Among the quartet’s more unusual collaborations has been numerous performances of Eddie Sauter’s seminal Third Stream work, “Focus,” in collaboration with Branford Marsalis, David Sánchez and Andrew Speight.

A particular highlight of the last season was a celebratory concert in February 2012, marking the quartet’s 30th anniversary. For the occasion, San Francisco Performances commissioned a new work by Jake Heggie, “Camille Claudel: Into the Fire,” a work for string quartet and mezzo-soprano; the Alexander was joined in the world premiere by Joyce DiDonato.

Other highlights of the 2011-12 season included two multiple concert series for San Francisco Performances, one presenting the complete quartets of Bartók and Kodály and the other music of Schubert; a Dvoák series for Mondavi Center; and a continuing annual series at Baruch College in New York City, this season featuring the Bartók cycle.

Other important series include Concerts International in Memphis, the Tuesday Evening Concert Series in Charlottesville, the Asheville Chamber Music Series and the inaugural concert of a new chamber music series at the Capitol Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Fla.

They also continue their annual residencies at Allegheny College and St. Lawrence University, this year in collaboration with The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

The Alexander String Quartet added considerably to its distinguished and wide-ranging discography over the past decade. The ASQ’s three newest releases on the FoghornClassics label in the spring of 2012 include works by Brahms, Gershwin, Kern, Beethoven and new commissions from Paul Chihara, Veronika Krausas and Michael Gandolfi.

A forthcoming Bartók/Kodály cycle recorded on the renowned Ellen M. Egger matched quartet of instruments built by San Francisco luthier Francis Kuttner will be released in the fall.

The Alexander String Quartet was formed in New York City in 1981 and the following year became the first string quartet to win the Concert Artists Guild Competition. In 1985, the quartet captured international attention as the first American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition, receiving both the jury’s highest award and the Audience Prize.

In May 1995, Allegheny College awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees to the members of the quartet in recognition of their unique contribution to the arts. Honorary degrees were conferred on the ensemble by St. Lawrence University, Canton, in May 2000.

For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, please visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.

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