Events

Past Event

West and East: Beethoven to Zhou Long with the Cassatt Quartet and Magdalena Baczewska

November 30, 2023
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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Teatro of the Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue

"An extraordinary quartet" –New York Times

Pianist Magdalena Baczewska—"Columbia University professor by day, musical sorceress by night" (ConcertoNet)—returns to the Italian Academy with the renowned Cassatt String Quartet, who perform with "a mixture of boldness and finesse" (Cleveland Plain Dealer) with a new program of masterworks from three eras and three cultures. 

A full house greeted Ms. Baczewska and the Cassatts in 2019 and again in early 2023 here at the Academy. They will open their return engagement with an undisputed classic, Beethoven's Quartet in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1.

The program then leaps 200 years forward for a work by Columbia alumnus and Pulitzer Prize winning Chinese-American composer Zhou Long: "Song of the Ch'in" (2003). This remarkable quartet is inspired by the ch'in, a traditional Chinese seven-stringed, plucked zither, which was traditionally associated with sages and scholars. The sophisticated technique of ch'in playing involves various ways of plucking the strings, as well as a wide range, varied timbres, and florid ornamentation.

Ms. Baczewska joins the quartet for the final work, Shostakovich's 1940 G Minor Op. 57 piano quintet, in which a "spacious and haunting neo-classical story unfolds that looks back to the famous chamber-music masterpieces of the romantic age and often glances towards Bach, while at the same time speaking a language of its own.... Every note is clean and poised, the music moving seamlessly between the apparently light-hearted and the intensely moving. The finale is strikingly simple and powerfully memorable." (Boosey & Hawkes) 


Magdalena Baczewska, piano

CASSATT QUARTET

Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins
Rosemary Nelis, viola
Gwen Krosnick, cello

PROGRAM

Ludwig van Beethoven
Quartet in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1 (1801)

Zhou Long 
The Song of the Ch'in (2003)             

Dmitri Shostakovich
Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57 (1940)          


The Cassatt String Quartet was the first quartet chosen for Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program. Since then, they have performed at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, and the Beijing Central Conservatory in China. At the Library of Congress, the Cassatt performed on the library’s matched quartet of Stradivarius instruments, and they performed the three complete Beethoven Quartet cycles at the University at Buffalo.

The Cassatt has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, Boston’s WGBH, and New York’s WQXR and WNYC. They have 30 recordings and were named three times to Alex Ross’ 10 best classical recordings of the year in The New Yorker magazine.

The quartet is named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.


Hailed by the press as "One of the most innovative, even radical classical keyboardists in the U.S.," pianist and harpsichordist Magdalena Baczewska enjoys a multifaceted career as a concert artist, educator, and speaker. Having made her solo debut with the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra at age 12 in her native Poland, Baczewska performs internationally with the world’s leading orchestras: Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, China National Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, among others. She has been praised for her "magnificent, unique voice that stylistically never falters" (Classical Music Guide) and her "world-class playing" by the American Record Guide and hailed as "eloquent and technically flawless" by The Washington Post.