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Quartet San Francisco Communicates Through Music

Add traditional chamber music along with a mixture of cultural sounds and throw the concoction into a blender of diverse stringed music for a recipe that gives you the Quartet San Francisco.

The Quartet kept students in awe of their talent.

Sophomore Terri Daughtery introduced Quartet San Francisco, a musical treat of stringed instrumentalists that have been sharing their talent of combining culture, sound and story. With their expertise and caliber and they revealed what is possible when four skilled and passionate musicians combine their skills.

There was an energy that exuded from each musician as they remained focused on the multicultural music that expressed a type of understood universal language. Holding his violin, Jeremy Cohen further discussed this concept with the audience expressing, "One thing we think collectively as a string quartet is that music is truly a language, and we communicate with each other in order to play these pieces and we communicate with you the audience not just through talking but through this music."

While they emphasized that music is a form of communication, the Quartet San Francisco also introduced the audience to two tango dancers that spoke with passionate intensity to the music of composers such as Armando Pontier and Astor Piazzolla. With their energy and focus, the dancers were telling a story in which words were not necessary. Their elaborate footsteps, snaps, and twisting movements mirrored the exotic sounds traveling from the stringed instruments and out into the minds of the audience. The steps of each tango dancer gave insight into traditional Argentinean culture and then melded into a spectacle of an intricate story being told by the dancers.

Steering toward more nostalgic pieces, the Quartet San Francisco transformed the auditorium into a time machine with songs that encouraged audience participation. Using what Cohen refers to as "old school" style, the musicians transformed paid tribute to the 20th century musical artist, Stevie Wonder. As their bows flew so did the notes resonating and ascending to every corner of the auditorium, filling and creating a presence that was reinforced by the interactive foot-tapping of the audience.

The group then switched to music that jogged the memory of students and youthful spirits alike by playing Boy Scout in Switzerland, composed by Raymond Scott. "Raymond Scott is a composer who most people do not know the name of, but if you grew up like we did watching 'Looney Toons' and Warner Brothers cartoons you will be very familiar with Raymond Scott’s music," said group member Jeremy Cohen who also gave explanations of the history of each song and composer. Cohen went on to discuss another great American composer, stating, "People generally associate string quartets with perhaps the three B's: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, that wrote the great chamber music. But in our family there were four B's: there was Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Brubeck."

It was no surprise when the crowd began singing along with Quartet San Francisco as they played the Disney favorite, “Under the Sea” from the classic, "The Little Mermaid." Cohen jokingly presented their next piece, reavealing, "We're going to play another piece that maybe your teachers will recognize from when they were kids." The Pink Panther theme slyly crawled its way from the quartet’s instruments. By using music from popular culture, Quartet San Francisco expressed their goal to market to audiences of all ages. Cohen stated, "We want you to stop thinking of string quartets as a stuffy thing, ya know?"

Quartet San Francisco's next piece revealed their bluegrass roots which seemed to spread and grow as the music’s tempo grew louder and louder. Soon, the violin had transformed into a fiddle and the quartet started a jamboree which they invited the crowd to participate in. When the upbeat, down home music ended, the clapping continued. The diverse selection of music from Argentina to Appalachia revealed Quartet San Francisco's ability to remain in-sync with one another while still playing a diverse selection. However, the personality of each mastered instrumentalist shined through during each piece. Audience members walked out of Phelps Stokes and into the frigid October night with thoughts of rich Latin sounds to keep them warm.

To listen and experience Quartet San Francisco, please visit their website found in the link below.

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