CWU Presents 8th Annual Chamber Music Madness/Kairos Quartet Lyceum | CWU Public Affairs

Posted: June 12, 2012

Central Washington University‘s world-renowned Kairos String Quartet, with the Seattle-based Chamber Music Madness (CMM), will once again provide a 10-day, intensive institute for advanced high school and college-aged string players from around the Pacific Northwest on Central’s campus in Ellensburg. In addition, four, free public concerts will be held July 18, 19, 20, and 21.

From July 12-21, Kairos Quartet members will mentor five ensembles as they engage with challenging, yet rewarding, masterworks of the string quartet repertoire.

Students at the CMM Lyceum will focus not only on the technical issues of musical performance—things like pitch, rhythmic “groove,” beauty of tone, and expressive and inspired interpretation—but will also learn how to work together, as four individuals with diverse personalities, in a small group.

“A string quartet is a democracy,” said Tim Betts, violist for the Kairos Quartet and CMM artistic director. “Part of the performance is the intensity of the interpersonal relationships required to make the music happen.”

But CMM Lyceum students won’t be in their practice rooms looking at sheet music all day. The institute hosts a variety of workshops in other disciplines that can be related to performing or the creative process. Lyceum students will pay a visit to CWU’s Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute to observe chimpanzees using American Sign Language to communicate—non-verbal communication being a key component of a performer’s musical mission.

Other scheduled workshops include a lecture and demonstration from ceramic artist Matt Armbrust, and a stage presence workshop given by opera singers Tor and Gayla Blaisdell.

Students and faculty will present four concerts in conjunction with the Lyceum. The student quartets will perform at the Hal Holmes Center, in downtown Ellensburg, at noon on July 18. Lyceum faculty will present a recital of sonatas and duets in the CWU Music Building Recital Hall on July 19 at 7:00 p.m. The Kairos Quartet and a chamber orchestra composed of all the Lyceum participants will perform, under the baton of Maestro Nikolas Caoile, on July 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the CWU Concert Hall. The Lyceum student quartets will showcase their final efforts in a performance on July 21 at 2:00 p.m. in the CWU Recital Hall. All concerts are free and open to the public.

About the Kairos Quartet

Comprised of violinists Carrie Rehkopf and Heather Netz, violist Tim Betts, and cellist John Michel, the Kairos String Quartet is recognized as one of the premier chamber ensembles in the Pacific Northwest. The quartet holds an endowed residency at Central Washington University—where all four members also teach—affording the group a degree of stability that is unusual in the chamber music world.

History of String Quartets

The string quartet holds a special and prominent place in music history. The first quartet music—for two violins, viola, and cello—was composed by Joseph Haydn in the late 18th century at a time when composers were aspiring to write instrumental music that would delight a booming population of urban, middle-class concert-goers. Mozart and Beethoven followed Haydn’s lead, and the rest is history. The genre became a way for young composers to test their musical mettle and became a favorite performance outlet for virtuoso and amateur string players alike.

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