Jacobs School Preview: The Pacifica Quartet

Hear a performance of Prokofiev and Beethoven by the ensemble-in-residence of the Jacobs School of Music.

A string quartet in performance

Photo: Melvin Kaplan Inc.

The Pacifica Quartet in performance.

Event Information

The Pacifica Quartet

Prokofiev: String Quartet No. 2 in F Major Op. 92 Beethoven Op.130 with grosse fuge


Auer Hall

Saturday, October 20, 4:00 pm

Free admission

The members of the Pacifica Quartet – Simin Ganatra, violin; Sibbi Bernhardsson, violin; Masumi Per Rostad, viola and Brandon Vamos, cello – are reknowned for their virtuosity and diversity of repertoire. As of 2012, they are the ensemble-in-residence at the Jacobs School of Music.

The concert will open with Prokofiev’s String Quartet No. 2 in F. Written in 1941, the work incorporates Kabardino-Balkar folk tunes. Far from being a sentimental choice on Prokofiev’s part, the tunes originated in the Caucasus region to which he and other artists were evacuated when Nazi Germany attacked the USSR. In an effort to get some arts propaganda out of the situation, the Soviet government ordered Prokofiev to write a string quartet incorporating local melodies.

Though this circumstance appears less than conducive to artistic expression, the quartet retains the distinctive harmonic structure of all Prokofiev’s music. In the second movement, an imitation of the brittle sound of the kjamantchi, a Caucasian string instrument, adds a unique timbre. Prokofiev’s lively treatment of the folk tunes does credit to his ability to bear up under personal and professional hardship.

The concert will conclude with Beethoven’s quartet Op. 130, No. 13. The Pacifica Quartet will perform the original final movement, the Grosse Fuge, which Beethoven planned to include  in his Op. 130 quartet, but later published separately as Op. 133. This change of heart came about because the fugue is an incredibly demanding work, full of intricate counterpoint and technical challenges. The structural and tonal complexity of the movement were not well received by nineteenth-century audiences and performers, but modern observers consider it to be among Beethoven’s greatest compositions.

The members of the Pacifica Quartet are not strangers to the challenges of Beethoven’s oeuvre. In 2011, they presented the complete cycle of Beethoven quartets in Tokyo, in five concerts over the course of only three days. Saturday’s concert is an excellent opportunity to hear this prizewinning professional ensemble right here in Bloomington.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Harmonia Early Music

Ring Around The Rosie

plague victims

We’re exploring the Black Death and its influence in the lives of composers from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and beyond.

Read more »

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

More from Harmonia »