The celebrated Miró Quartet will open the 2018-19 season of Midwestern State University’s Music Series at Akin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in Akin Auditorium. The award-winning quartet, formed in 1995, has served as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin’s Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music since 2003.
Daniel Ching, violin; William Fedkenheuer, violin; John Largess, viola; and Joshua Gindele, cello, make up the quartet. Each teaches classes at UT and conducts master classes at universities and conservatories around the world.
For the past 20 years, they have performed on the most prestigious concert stages, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and appeared in music festivals such as the Chamber Music Northwest, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, and Ottawa Chamberfest.
Ching, a founding member, began studying violin at age 3 and entered the San Francisco Conservatory Preparatory Division at age 5 on a full 12-year scholarship. He graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and earned a master’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He also studied recording engineering and production with Thomas Knab of Telarc, a respected independent record label, and subsequently engineered the Miró Quartet’s first promotional disc.
Beginning at age 7, Fedkenheuer toured the world as a country and western fiddler both individually and as a member of the Calgary Fiddlers. He won numerous national fiddling competitions in his early musical career. He won the Lincoln Center Martin E. Segal Award, and is a versatile artist with international performances as a fiddler, soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. He received a Bachelor of Music from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and continued his graduate studies at Indiana University.
Largess began his studies in the Boston public schools at age 12, studying with Michael Zaretsky of the Boston Symphony. He joined the Miró Quartet in 1997. He is an active speaker and writer about all things chamber‐musical, and was invited in 2004 to give a weeklong audience lecture series as a part of the Eighth International String Quartet Competition at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada – a series he has since been asked to repeat.
Gindele, also a founding member, began his studies at age 3, and has won numerous international awards including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. He has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, the New York Philharmonic, and Midori. He co-founded classicallounge.com, an online network for professional and amateur musicians, which was sold to classicalconnection.com in 2009. He continues to perform internationally in addition to his teaching at UT Austin.
With their home base in Austin, the group thrives on the city’s storied music scene, and takes pride in finding new ways to communicate with audiences of all backgrounds while cultivating the longstanding tradition of chamber music. They have released nine recordings and recently produced an Emmy Award-winning multimedia project titled Transcendence, which is centered on a performance of Franz Schubert’s String Quartet in G Major, played on rare Stradivarius instruments.
The quartet took its name and inspiration from the Spanish artist Joan Miró, whose Surrealist works — with subject matter drawn from the realm of memory, dreams, and imaginative fantasy — are some of the most admired of the 20th century. They have been called “furiously committed” by The New Yorker and praised by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer for their “exceptional tonal focus and interpretive intensity.” The Miró Quartet was the first ensemble to earn the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Formed in 1995, the quartet will celebrate its upcoming 25th anniversary, and 250 years of the string quartet, in retrospective. Quartet members have researched the roots of the string quartet as a genre in America. For the Quartet Archive Project, they studied newspapers, reviews, letters, and books and found three pioneering quartets in America. In 2019-2020, they will recreate three concert programs from those quartets to tell the story of chamber music in America.
The Miró Quartet were guests of the Music Series at Akin in 2014. The concert is sponsored by the Perkins-Prothro Foundation and Joe and Dale Prothro with the Lamar D. Fain College of Fine Arts at MSU. The series debuted in spring 2012 with pianist Yefim Bronfman. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein; pianists Inon Barnatan, Alessio Bax, and Lucille Chung; and ensembles such as the Faure Quartett, Emerson String Quartet, and Escher Quartet, among other notable musicians, also have been guests of the series.
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the MSU Department of Music in the Fain Fine Arts Center at 940-397-4267. Cash or check only, credit cards cannot be processed. General admission tickets are $25 for each performance. Tickets for senior citizens and military are $22.50. Tickets purchased for the original date in February will be honored.