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Carleton College Presents Rare Two-Night Appearance by World Renowned Chiara String Quartet

February 9, 2014

In a rare and spectacular two-night event, Carleton College will present the renowned Chiara String Quartet, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall. Considered to be one of the foremost musical ensembles in the world, the Chiara String Quartet will be performing one of the most influential and masterful collections of musical works by a single composer of the 20th century, Béla Bartók’s six string quartets. Both performances are free and open to the public.

Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) captivates its audiences throughout the country. The Chiara has established itself as among America’s most respected ensembles, lauded for its "highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing" (The Boston Globe).

Now in their 14th season performing together, the Chiara Quartet is moving forward by taking a cue from the past. Harkening back to a tradition that is centuries old and still common amongst soloists, the Chiara Quartet has adapted to a new way of performing: sans printed sheet music. For almost all of the Quartet’s upcoming concerts, they will be performing by heart. After spending countless hours working towards playing their repertoire from memory, they now feel that the sheet music is a distraction to the performance, instead of an aid. Of the process, the Chiara’s cellist Gregory Beaver says, “The act of performing from memory has been challenging for us. Each member must find a way to know the music inside and out. But the payback for each of us is equally rewarding, bringing us that much closer together in our music-making.” After memorizing a work, the Quartet is rewarded with deeply gratifying performances where each member feels fully present in the moment, truly performing with heart, by heart. 

The Chiara's recent honors include the nomination of its recording of Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartet No. 3 for a Grammy Award in 2011 and the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming for the 2010-2011 season. Past awards include a top prize at the Paolo Borciani International Competition, winning the Astral Artistic Services National Audition, and winning First Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Awarded the Guarneri Quartet Residency Award for artistic excellence by Chamber Music America, the Chiara Quartet has also been the recipient of grants from Meet The Composer, The Aaron Copland Foundation, and the Amphion Foundation.

They are currently Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University and Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Chiara (key-ARE-uh) is an Italian word, meaning "clear, pure, or light." More information about the Chiara Quartet can be found online at and on Facebook at

This event is made possible by the Christopher U. Light Lectureship Concert Series at Carleton College. The Christopher U. Light Lectureship in Music was created in 1985 by Mr. Light, a member of the Carleton Class of 1958. Among his many interests, Mr. Light is a freelance writer, composer, record producer, and musician with interest in computers and music. This series has brought a variety of renowned artists to Carleton College, including the Kronos Quartet, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Bad Plus, and Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band.

For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4475. The Carleton Concert Hall is located on First Street, between Nevada and Winona Streets, in Northfield.