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Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet joins with Grammy Award-winning composer

“The joy the Parker Quartet brings to the music-making process is infectious, and their residency at USC has become a Columbia treasure.”  –Daniel Sweaney, associate professor of viola

Inspiring performances, luminous sound and exceptional musicianship are hallmarks of USC’s Chamber Music Residency.

The University of South Carolina School of Music's Quartet-in-Residence brings a week of public concerts, master classes, community outreach and special opportunities for chamber music enthusiasts each fall and spring. Boston’s world-renowned Parker Quartet spends much of each week working with student chamber ensembles, coaching them in sessions throughout the week, and conducting a master class on Friday evening that is open to the public to observe.

As with every residency week with the quartet, Sunday’s performance is a free family concert. This concert, on March 20, includes Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence,” one of the composer’s rare chamber music works written in 1890 after he spent time in the Italian Renaissance city of Florence. It has remained one of the most popular works in the chamber music literature since its creation and abounds with gorgeous melodies, eliciting a nearly-orchestral sound from the six string players. Joining the quartet on this piece is USC faculty members Robert Jesselson, professor of cello, and Daniel Sweaney, associate professor of viola. The concert takes place in the new Johnson Performance Hall on level 1 of the Darla Moore School of Business.

Robert Jesselson says the Tchaikovsky is one of his favorite chamber music pieces. “It is almost symphonic in scope, and runs the complete gamut in its range of emotions and moods. It is a piece that has probably never been played here in Columbia – so it is worth the chance to hear this incredible piece.”

Also on the Sunday program is a fascinating work by one of the leading American composers, Grammy Award-winning Augusta Read Thomas. The science-meets-music work, "Helix Spirals," celebrates the Meselson-Stahl DNA replication experiment and celebrates that music can be an abstract and intellectual expression of nature. The work was given its world premiere one year ago by the Parker Quartet at Harvard University.

The concert on Tuesday, March 15 takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the USC School of Music Recital Hall. The program is bracketed by quartets by two of the established masters of the medium, Beethoven and Bartok – Beethoven’s Quartet in G Major, Op.18, No.2 and Bartok’s Quartet No.1.  Anton Webern’s Five Movements for String Quartet, Op.5 is also on the program. Tickets for this concert are on sale now: Adults $15; DISCOUNTS: seniors, USC faculty & staff, and military $10; students $5. Purchase tickets at the door or online here.

USC Chamber Music Day and Competition

During each spring residency, the USC Chamber Music Day and Competition is an exceptional opportunity for advanced high school string quartets from around the Southeast to be mentored and coached by the acclaimed Parker Quartet and members of the USC string faculty. Intensive coachings and master classes throughout the day lead to a performance and competition with cash prizes in the evening. This year, eight quartets from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia will participate and perform in a gala concert at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 19.

William Terwilliger, professor of violin and director of the USC Chamber Music Day said, “USC is happy to announce the eight quartets who were chosen as finalists in the 2016 USC Chamber Day and Competition with the Parker Quartet. We are quite impressed with the level of the groups this year.”

The high school quartets

•    Jacksonville High School Cardinal Quartet - Jacksonville High School, Jacksonville, North Carolina
•    Montclair String Quartet - Charleston School of the Arts, Charleston, SC
•    Bob Jones Academy String Quartet - Bob Jones Academy, Greenville, SC
•    River Bluff High School String Quartet - River Bluff High School, Lexington, SC
•    Fuoco 2.0 Quartet - North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, GA (Atlanta metro)
•    Song Quartet - North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, GA (Atlanta metro)
•    Brotherhood 2.0 Quartet - North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, GA (Atlanta metro)
•    Siciliana Quartet - South Carolina Governor’s School, Greenville, SC

Public Events

Tues., March 15, 7:30 p.m.
Parker Quartet Concert
USC School of Music Recital Hall
Beethoven- Quartet in G Major, Op.18, No.2
Anton Webern- Five Movements for String Quartet, Op.5
Bartok- Quartet No.1
Adults $15; senior citizens, USC faculty & staff, and military $10; students $5.
Purchase tickets at the door or online here.

Fri., March 18, 7:30 p.m.
Parker Quartet Master Class
USC School of Music, room 006  
Open for the public to observe.

Saturday, March 19, 7:30 p.m.
Chamber Music Day Participants Gala Concert
USC School of Music Recital Hall – Free

Sun., March 20, 5:00 p.m.
Free Parker Quartet Family Concert
Johnson Performance Hall, Darla Moore School of Business, level 1 - map  
Augusta Read Thomas- “Helix Spirals”
Tchaikovsky- Sextet "Souvenir de Florence" with School of Music faculty Daniel Sweaney, viola, and Robert Jesselson, cello.

Learn more about the Parker Quartet Chamber Music Residency.

Visit the Parker Quartet website.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.