The Fry Street Quartet is a set of truly remarkable musicians that knows no boundaries. They’ve taken chamber music in new directions, with an approach that integrates a global perspective into new projects while nurturing the classical pillars behind today’s repertoire. This award-winning ensemble (including the Fischoff Competition Grand Prize, one of the crown jewels in the chamber music pantheon) is now an established quartet at the highest artistic level.
In addition to a focus on chamber music from Haydn to the Bartok cycle and beyond, the quartet’s current season includes a creative collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for a production of Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters. In addition, the quartet tours The Crossroads Project, a multi-dimensional performance around the issue of climate change. The dynamic program includes physicist Rob Davies and features high-production value large-screen projections. The stunning visual works by environmental photographer Garth Lenz and painter Rebecca Allan are integrated with Davies’ spoken word and with Rising Tide, a new piece the quartet commissioned from Laura Kaminsky, to create a visceral experience around the issue of global sustainability.NPR’s All Things Considered featured The Crossroads Project. Hear the story.
This remarkable quartet – hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the New York Times– is a multi-faceted ensemble taking chamber music in new directions. Touring music of the masters as well as exciting original works from visionary composers of our time, the Fry Street Quartet has perfected a “blend of technical precision and scorching spontaneity” (Strad). Since securing the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to London, and Sarajevo to Jerusalem, exploring the medium of the string quartet and its life-affirming potential with “profound understanding…depth of expression, and stunning technical astuteness” (Deseret Morning News).
With a discography that includes a wide range of works from Haydn and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Janacek and Rorem, the quartet is known for being, “Equally at home in the classic repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven or contemporary music,” (Palm Beach Daily News). The quartet’s latest release, The Crossroads Project (Navona Records) is a pairing of new works by Laura Kaminsky and Libby Larsen commissioned by the Fry Street Quartet. [CD link]
Upcoming tour programming includes the beloved Brahms b flat sextet with two renowned artists, cellist Paul Katz and violist James Dunham, long-time colleagues in the Cleveland Quartet. The FSQ’s tour repertoire reaches many corners of the musical spectrum, including works of Britten, Schubert, Ullman and Bartok, as well as a program of American women composers Laura Kaminsky, Amy Beach, Joan Tower and the newly recorded commission from Libby Larsen.
In addition to collaborations with acclaimed instrumentalists (including Joseph Kalichstein, Wu Han, Paul Katz, Donald Weilerstein, Misha Dichter, Andres Cardenes and Roger Tapping, among others), the Fry Street Quartet has commissioned and toured new works by a wide range of composers. Pandemonium by Brazilian composer Clarice Assad received its Fry Street premiere with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra; Michael Ellison’s Fiddlin’ was co-commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music Series and the Salt Lake City based NOVA series; Laura Kaminsky’s Rising Tide was commissioned especially for the quartet’s global sustainability initiative, The Crossroads Project, toured with projections of paintings created for the project by artist Rebecca Allan, talks by physicist Dr. Robert Davies and photographs by acclaimed environmental photographer Garth Lenz. The quartet has recently premiered Kaminsky’s new opera, As One with soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone Kelly Markgraff at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the new work by Libby Larsen, Emergence.
The quartet’s significant touring history includes performances at major venues, festivals, and for distinguished series such as Carnegie Hall and the Schneider Series at the New School in New York, the Jewel Box series in Chicago, Chamber Music Columbus, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, the DiBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame, the Theosophical Society in London, and the Mozart Gemeinde Klagenfurt in Austria.
The Fry Street Quartet was founded in Chicago in 1997 under the mentorship of Marc Johnson, cellist of the Vermeer Quartet. Cultivating authentic and creative artistic voices alongside collaborative skills through chamber music is central to the quartet’s teaching. Avid communicators the Fry Street Quartet offers extensive outreach while on tour, and is pleased to hold the Endowed String Quartet Residency at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.
And because you were wondering… “Fry Street” was the location of the quartet’s first rehearsal space in the Chicago neighborhood once ruled by Al Capone.
The Fry Street Quartet will tour a new set of collaborative programs with Maksim Shtrykov and Misuzu Tanaka,clarinet and piano.
The acclaimed Shtrykov and Tanaka will join the quartet for the Copland Sextet and the Prokofiev Overture on Hebrew Themes for clarinet, piano and string quartet. A variety of mixed programs are offered, with a choice of the clarinet quintets of Mozart, Brahms, Françaix, Reger and Weber, as well as piano quintets of Brahms, Dvorak, Elgar and Schumann.
“The Fry Street Quartet plays fluently and fluidly, with remarkable unity in unintuitive passages.” [read more] Boston Globe
“The robust, young Fry Street Quartet was a triumph of ensemble playing.”
New York Times
“technical precision and scorching spontaneity”
“their balance, blend and rhythmic cohesion work beautifully”
Washington Post [read more]
“the Fry Street Quartet… inhabited these epistolary mini-dramas”
Kansas City Star
“The Fry Street Quartet…was the highlight of the evening.”
MediaMikes.com [The Juliet Letters]
“Equally at home in the classic repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven or contemporary music”
Palm Beach Daily News
“[The quartet] inhabited the works, playing with a unified sense of articulation, blend and knowledge of the music’s dramatic keystones, nuanced subtleties and thrilling climaxes.”
Salt Lake Tribune
“[a] recital that spoke of precision, preparation, excitement, profound heritage, and ultimate satisfaction. This exaltation of individually superb instrumentalists showed what riches are to be had through the conjunction of forces in unity.”
New York Concert Review
“The Fry Street Quartet excels in exalting the cooperative dimensions at the center of the two quartets, not without internal conflicts but which ultimately transmit a refreshing optimism into an otherwise problematic future.” [CD Review] Kathodik.it
“The Quartet demonstrated their near-perfect technical abilities, produced a beautiful tone quality, blend, and a tight knit and sensitive ensemble delivery.”
“Fry Street’s performance contained elegance and that wonderful chemistry that makes chamber music magical. They have a combination of musical maturity and charisma. The Fry Street Quartet has a capacity for both a lot of energy and also a lot of poetry.”
South Bend Tribune
“The Fry Street’s performance was electric, holding the audience in rapt attention at every moment.the group filled the score with an understanding and emotion rarely seen in performers so young.”
Yellow Springs News
“….the FSQ captured the transcendent beauty of the music with its expressive and poetic reading. They brought spirituality to their interpretation and made it a profoundly moving and utterly spellbinding experience that left the audience enthralled by its eloquence.”