Today@Colorado State University
Arts / Entertainment
Borromeo String Quartet at the UC
If there was ever a group of classical musicians who arrived at a concert to be met by hoards of screaming fans, the Borromeo String Quartet would be it.
One of the most sought after string quartets in the world, the Borromeo travels internationally to play more than 100 concerts a year. This Friday, April 10, they’ll be playing at Colorado State in the University Center for the Arts.
'Unbridled joy in the music'
Suffice to say that listening to this group of youthful, masterful musicians (comprised of Nicholas Kitchen, Violin, Kristopher Tong, Violin, Mai Motobuchi, Viola, and Yeesun Kim, Cello) does not evoke images of scowling men in powdered wigs.
“The Borromeos are bent on getting us to feel the unbridled joy in the music,” says Cathy Fuller of National Public Radio. “The Borromeos rarely play it safe. They’re champions of new music… but they also thrive on making the old classics sound vital and fresh.”
A Washington Post critic, after hearing the Borromeo play the music of Joseph Haydn (in his time considered the preeminent composer of music for the string quartet) wrote: “The Borromeo made the composer sound like a life-loving creature of hearty appetites and generous wit.”
Paying it forward
In addition to performing, the Borromeo Quartet relishes and is committed to educating young musicians. Over the past several years they’ve been involved in bringing music education to high school students through distance learning.
In Maine, for example, the Department of Education used Asynchronous Transmission Mode technology to link the quartet (sitting with a live audience in Augusta) with schools in the farthest regions of the state. Students listened to a lecture on the history of the string quartet, chatted with the musicians, and heard the Borromeo perform. "The danger of not doing programs like this is that there are people who might enjoy what the arts promise, but they will never know what’s out there because they don’t have the exposure,” said Kitchen, first violinist.
In Japan, a similar effort involved an even wider-reaching broadcast that allowed the quartet to talk with students all over the country and demonstrate techniques for playing the violin, viola, and cello.
Friday night’s performance
These tech savvy performers will share something of their blend of art, science, and technology at Friday night’s performance in the exquisite Griffin Concert Hall.
The quartet will take their seats in front of four modified music stands, each holding a MacBook. The monitors will glow blue in the dim light of the stage and the quartet will "turn" their pages with floor pedals plugged into USB ports.