The Reynolda Quartet, acclaimed faculty-artists in the School of Music at UNCSA, will perform “In The Footsteps of a Giant,” a program of quartets by Béla Bartók and Johannes Brahms, at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 27. The concert will be the quartet’s first return to Reynolda since its debut concert in February 2020.
Tickets, at $25 regular and $20 student, are available online or by calling the box office at 336-721-1945. UNCSA and Wake Forest University students, faculty and staff get in free with advance registration.
The Reynolda Quartet includes world-renowned musicians Ida Bieler and Janet Orenstein, violins; Ulrich Eichenauer, viola; and Brooks Whitehouse, cello. Founded in 2019 as a partnership between two of Winston-Salem’s premier cultural organizations, Reynolda House Museum of American Art and UNCSA, the quartet performed its first concert on Feb. 1, 2020, at Reynolda House.
"Reynolda is ecstatic to partner with our collaborators at the School of Music at UNCSA to present the Reynolda Quartet for a second time,” said Phil Archer, deputy director of Reynolda House. “The last performance of the Reynolda Quartet at Reynolda in early 2020 was nothing short of amazing, and I’m confident the group’s upcoming performance will be an equally wonderful experience. This will be a Sunday afternoon treat not to miss.”
“It is quite a coup for the School of Music to boast a world-class string quartet featuring these talented musicians, whom we are also fortunate to have as faculty members,” added Dean Saxton Rose. “I am personally anticipating this welcome return to Reynolda, where our remarkable partnership was launched two years ago, for chamber music performed at the highest level in a perfect setting.”
In this concert, the Reynolda Quartet will juxtapose Brahms’ first quartet with Bartók’s last, his epic Quartet No. 6, written at the outset of World War II. “In The Footsteps of a Giant” refers to the “long imposing shadow” cast by Ludwig van Beethoven on both Brahms and Bartók, and the influences the great composer had on each.
Brahms, who waited until he was 40 to publish his first string quartet, proclaimed that, “You can’t have any idea what it is like always to hear such a giant marching behind you!” It is no wonder that Brahms’ first quartet, Op. 51 No. 1, when it finally came, was such a masterpiece — dark, ambitious, rhythmically complex, and in the tragic C minor key of Beethoven’s great Fifth Symphony.
In the 20th century, Bartók continued to advance the string quartet form, and the groundbreaking innovation of his six quartets is often compared to that of Beethoven’s famous late quartets.
“We wanted to play these quartets because each one in its own way displays a complete and mature mastery of the quartet genre,” said Whitehouse. “They share a dark richness and emotional complexity that is sometimes tragic, sometimes benevolent or tender, but always strikingly beautiful.”
An alumna of the UNCSA School of Music, Ida Bieler joined the faculty in 2013. She was subsequently named artistic director of the school’s Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute when it was formed in 2015. She has won prestigious music competitions on three continents, been a regular performer in major music capitals throughout the world, recorded for radio and television on five continents, and appeared with leading international orchestras. Bieler was a member of Germany’s legendary Melos String Quartet from 1993 until the quartet’s retirement from the concert stage in 2005, and was one of the first women to win a concertmaster position in a major European orchestra, serving from 1983-1988 as concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchester Symphony and Opera Orchestra of Cologne.
Her CD catalog boasts an exceptionally wide and stylistically varied range of solo and chamber music repertoire. Awards have included the Cannes Classical Award, Echo Klassik Preis, Fono Forum Stern des Monats, Repertoire “10” and the Strad’s “Chamber Music Selection of the Month.” She is also on the faculties of both the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Kunstuniversität Graz, Austria. Bieler is the creator and director of the Vivaldi Project, a teacher training program at both the Robert Schumann Hochschule and UNCSA aimed at educating underprivileged youth.
Violinist Janet Orenstein has enjoyed an active performing career as soloist, chamber musician and advocate of contemporary music. A two-time winner of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) Artistic Ambassador Competition and founding member of the Guild Trio, with whom she played for more than 10 years, Orenstein has toured throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Australia. She has recorded for the CRI, Centaur and Innova labels, and she has taught at major universities including University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and UNCSA.
Upon returning from a long solo tour at age 32, Orenstein contracted focal dystonia, which made it nearly impossible for her to coordinate left-hand finger patterns. Orenstein worked ceaselessly to regain coordinated movement and, after 17 years, she held her first solo recital since her recovery in 2013.
UNCSA cello professor Brooks Whitehouse has performed and taught throughout the United States and abroad. As a member of the Guild Trio, Whitehouse won USIA Artistic Ambassador and Chamber Music Yellow Springs competitions, and he has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. He is the co-creator with Paul Sharpe of the popular cello/bass duo Low & Lower, which has performed together as soloists with the Boise Philharmonic and the Winston-Salem Symphony, and in recital at Interlochen, the University of Michigan, Arizona MusicFest, Garth Newell Music Festival, Mallarmé Chamber Players, the Martha Bassett Show, and live on the radio on WGBH’s “Drive Time Live” and WUNC’s “The State of Things with Frank Stasio.”
Whitehouse has appeared as guest artist with the American Chamber Players, Villa Musica (Germany), the Ciompi Quartet, The Apple Hill Chamber Players, the New Zealand String Quartet, and the Garth Newell Piano Quartet, with whom he appeared in Carnegie Hall as part of their 40th anniversary celebration.
Ulrich Eichenauer grew up in Germany where he studied viola with Nobuko Imai. He is currently viola professor at UNCSA and has previously taught at conservatories in Germany and Switzerland. He was also on the faculty of the Guildhall School in London and has given master classes in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. As a member of the acclaimed Mendelssohn String Quartet and the Waldstein Quartet, he has toured extensively in the United States, Europe and South America and has released numerous recordings of romantic and contemporary repertoire.
In addition to performing with his colleagues in the Reynolda Quartet, he regularly appears at renowned chamber music festivals and concert series in the United States and abroad. Early in his career, he served for several seasons as principal violist of the Dresden Philharmonic in Germany. He has recorded CDs with solo works by Max Reger and Paul Hindemith, and lesser-known chamber music repertoire by Heinrich Kaminsky, Ludwig Thuille, Adolf Busch and others. Eichenauer plays on a viola known as the “Baron Knoop” made in 1670 by Jacob Stainer.
Reynolda is set on 170 acres in Winston-Salem and comprises Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village Shops and Restaurants. The Museum presents a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting: the original 1917 interiors of Katharine and R.J. Reynolds’ 34,000-square-foot home. Its collection is a chronology of American art and featured exhibitions are offered in the Museum’s Babcock Wing Gallery and historic house bedrooms. The Gardens serve as a 134-acre outdoor horticultural oasis open to the public year-round, complete with colorful formal gardens, nature trails and a greenhouse. In the Village, the estate’s historic buildings are now home to a vibrant mix of boutiques, restaurants, shops and services. Plan your visit at reynolda.org and use the free mobile app Reynolda Revealed to self-tour the estate.
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March 09, 2022