The Rococo String Quartet, composed of four University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music students, will present a lecture-recital focused on the renowned 20th-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Phillips Recital Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.
Members of the quartet — violinists Erin Thom and Bryce Sanville, violist Jaryn Danz and cellist William Callaway — had the opportunity this past summer to join Dr. Tulio Rondón, associate professor of music at UW-Eau Claire, at the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy.
The quartet received grant funding from UW-Eau Claire's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs as well as the department of music and theatre arts to participate in the festival and research the life and string quartets of Shostakovich, specifically, how his compositional style in Quartets No. 1, 8 and 11 mirror three distinct periods of his life.
The festival enabled the Blugolds to interact daily with other students and faculty from around the world. They rehearsed, researched and performed three of Shostakovich's 15 string quartets and immersed themselves in the musical culture of Italy. The ensemble also traveled throughout Italy and Slovenia, performing for audiences and experiencing the culture and traditions of both countries.
"This experience gave us a unique opportunity to link performance with research," Callaway said. "As musicians, we often give performances just to experience the music. With this project, we were able to let our research guide and influence our performance, giving us a more complete and compelling understanding of the composer's intentions."
During the Oct. 25 lecture-recital — a culmination of the students’ international research and performance experience — the quartet will perform Shostakovich’s Quartets No. 1, 8 and 11, and discuss how the works were influenced by the composer’s personal life. The event is free and open to the public.
Top photo caption: Members of UW-Eau Claire's Rococo String Quartet are, from left, Erin Thom, violin; Bryce Sanville, violin; William Callaway, cello; and Jaryn Danz, viola.