Tabernash / Live Music: Grand County Concert Series continues with the Veronika String Quartet
March 28, 2008
The next featured classical performance for the Grand County Concert Series is by the Veronika String Quartet.
The quartet had its beginnings in 1989 at Gnessin State Musical College in Moscow and since then it has been awarded top spots in competitions in Russia, Australia, and in the United States. They have also performed in France, Germany, Holland, Spain, England, Switzerland and Israel.
Members Veronika Afanassieva and Karine Garibova (violins), Ekaterina Dobrotvorskaia (viola), and Mary Artmann (cello) were coached by Valentin Berlinsky, cellist for the Borodin and Fine Arts quartets. They also learned from Henry W. Meyer, violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
Berlinsky carried on the Russian performing tradition, Garibova said.
“He taught us how to read and understand scores of Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, and this experience is invaluable,” she said. As a member of the LaSalle Quartet, Meyer, who was originally from Germany, knew quite a bit of the interpretation and recording of New Viennese composers like Schoenberg, Webern and Berg. He helped the Veronika String Quartet work on contemporary and traditional music.
Today, the musicians can be found on the other side of the student-teacher relationship, in residence at the Colorado State University Pueblo campus with the Pueblo Symphony. Their popularity has grown so much that the group of women were able to launch a concert series in the Pueblo area called Chamber Music with the Veronika String Quartet.
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The group also offers a new undergraduate honors string quartet program, a unique opportunity for regional high school student quartets to perform at an honors quartet festival under their direction. Few American schools offer such a program to string players so that they may focus on studying and performing quartets throughout their undergraduate years. Quartet members each receive a full scholarship and the Veronika String Quartet prepares them for at least one recital program each year.
“We all teach and like to be passing our experience on,” Garibova said. “I personally learn a lot from teaching students, it makes me more quality-conscious (in) analyzing what I do. It is great to see young quartets enjoy music making as much as we do. We are trying to pass on as much as we learned ourselves, and also see how else we could be helpful.”
When the Veronika String Quartet performs, their program consists of a wide variety of composers, including everything from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven to modern arrangements; and the quartet has released about eight albums showcasing their talents. Their repertoire also includes compositions by Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Verdi, Debussy, Dvorak, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Glazunov, Rakhmaninov, Prokofiev, Ravel, Shostakovich, Bartok, Janecek, Smetana, Turina, Ginastera, Wolf, Stravinsky, Berg, Webern, Schnittke, and Jalbert. They have been called “a sensitive ensemble with beautiful homogenous sound.”
“We are looking forward to playing a concert this Friday, to meet a new audience, and to share our passion for chamber music with them,” Garibova said of the upcoming show.
The Grand County Concert Series organization, which celebrates its fourth year, takes pride in offering outreach programs for students. The Veronika String Quartet concert starts at 7 p.m. and is preceded by a free demonstration and workshop open to local students (elementary through high school) starting at 6 p.m. Discussion of instruments and musical excerpts are scheduled in hopes to help build a substantial student audience in support of the classical music series.
The program couldn’t run without the help of many selfless volunteers, who also host complimentary receptions at the church after each concert. Everyone is invited to become a member, with proceeds helping bring top artists to Grand County to perform, as well as students to those concerts and performing artists into the local schools. Upcoming performers for the Grand County Concert Series include the Aries Brass Quintet April 25, the Arundo Winds Quintet May 23, and the Quadre French Horn Quartet July 25.