Visiting Artists

Borromeo String Quartet
Visiting Artist Series

Nicholas Kitchen, violin
Kristopher Tong, violin
Mai Motobuchi, viola
Yeesun Kim, cello

The Borromeo String Quartet will perform on Friday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. They will also provide a workshop for our student chamber players. These free events are open to the public.

The quartet is made up of Nicholas Kitchen, violin; Kristopher Tong, violin; Mai Motobuchi, viola; and Yeesun Kim, cello. The Williams concert will include Janaçek’s String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata” (1923); Ives’s String Quartet No. 1, “A Revival Service” ; and Beethoven’s Quartet in C-sharp Minor, op. 131.

Considered “Simply the best there is” by The Boston Globe, the critically acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet is one of the most sought after string quartets in the world, performing over 100 concerts of classical and contemporary literature across three continents each season. Audiences and critics alike champion its revealing explorations of Schoenberg, Brahms, Ligeti, Kurtag, and Janácek, and affinity for making challenging contemporary repertoire approachable. Lauded for its absolute mastery of the complete Beethoven and Bartók quartet cycles, the ensemble is currently focused on the work of Dmitri Shostakovich.

The Borromeo Quartet’s long-standing and celebrated residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been called “one of the defining experiences of civilization in Boston” [Boston Globe]; and its ongoing concert series at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York has been hailed as “one of New York’s best kept secrets” [New York Sun].

They are faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory of Music as well as Dai-Ichi Semei Hall in Tokyo, and will return this summer for a third season in residence at the famed Taos School of Music in New Mexico. In April 2007 the Borromeo Quartet was a recipient the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Other highlights of the current season include the complete Shostakovich quartet cycle at the Gardner Museum, artist residencies in Israel at the Jerusalem Music Center and in France for ProQuartet, the premiere of a concerto by Lera Auerbach for String Quartet and Orchestra with the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra in Ohio, a series of educational projects with the Library of Congress, and studio recordings of music by composer Steven Mackey.

In 2003 the Borromeo made classical music history with its pioneering record label, the Living Archive Recorded Performance Series, making it is possible to order DVDs and CDs of most of its concerts around the world. The series promotes the impact of the live performance, and allows listeners the chance to revisit in greater depth the music they have just heard in concert, as well as explore new and rarely performed works. Gramophone Magazine hailed the “great clarity and beauty” and “ravishing fury” of the BSQ’s studio recording of masterworks by Beethoven, and their CD featuring works of Maurice Ravel was honored with the Chamber Music America/WQXR Award for Recording Excellence in 2001. In 2004 the Aaron Copland House honored the Borromeo’s commitment to contemporary music by creating the Borromeo Quartet Award, an annual initiative that will premiere the work of important young composers to audiences internationally. It has enjoyed collaborations with John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Mackey, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Gunther Schuller, Jennifer Higdon, and is currently performing “Hope Cycles” a new work by Lior Navok commissioned for them by the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress. In 2000 the Borromeo String Quartet completed two seasons as a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two and served as Ensemble-in-Residence for the 1998-99 season of National Public Radio’s Performance Today. Awards include Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award in 2001, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award in 1998 and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1991, as well as top prizes at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France in 1990.

“You could have watched as four perfectly ordinary human beings strode onto the stage and created magic.” Naples Daily News

This concert is made possible by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Performing Arts Endowment.