Arts Blog

Chiara Quartet play Bartok “By Heart”

Chiara in Italian means “clear”, “pure” or “light”.  These are apt words to describe the group’s sound, as well as their approach to string quartet repertoire.  The four have been together since their Juilliard days (more likely longer than that), and have several recordings under their belts already.  By now, you’ve probably wondered what “by heart” means: Yes, they play the 6 Bartok quartets from memory.  For those of us who have listened to the works, and especially for those of you who have experience performing or at least reading through them, the Bartok quartets are definitely challenging works to perform.  Let’s not beat around the bush:  they’re about the furthest thing from “easy listening” as you can get.  However, as I told my guests in the accompanying interview, Bartok has his own language, and once you give him enough time to communicate with you, you start to “get” him.  Whether it’s the big orchestral showpieces like Concerto for Orchestra, or these 6 quartets, Bartok becomes more comprehensible with each hearing.  Taking that journey with Chiara quartet, which made the decision to perform “without a net”, is a great way to go.  In this audio interview Hyeyung Julie Yoon (2nd violin), Jonah Sirota (viola), and Gregory Beaver (cello) describe the experience, and the advantages, of playing without a score in front of them.

Bartok by Heart, Chiara String Quartet
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