Home Programs Paf Spotlight March 2013 Spotlight: Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra + Chiara String Quartet

March 2013 Spotlight: Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra + Chiara String Quartet

Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra in Grand Forks, ND presented Chiara String Quartet in October 2012.

This Arts Midwest Touring Fund—supported engagement featured a public performance and masterclasses, open rehearsal, and performance for adults (age 65 or older) and youths (age 18 or younger) over two days in the communities of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

The Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra is a community orchestra based in Grand Forks, North Dakota that began operation in 1908 and is one of only a handful of orchestras to surpass their centennial year. Their mission is to put excellence on stage. In the spring of 2012, the Symphony announced a four-year goal to explore the heritage of their region through the music of composers who came from the areas of the community’s grandparents and great-grandparents. The 2012-2013 season focused on German heritage. The following seasons will highlight Russian and Norwegian heritage. In addition, they look forward to reaching audiences that may not normally hear live music with small groups performing in venues such as churches and municipal buildings through their “Random Acts of Music” program.

Chiara String Quartet began their relationship with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra through a two-year residency that took place between 2003 and 2005. The ensemble is renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire, as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music. Their recent honors include the nomination of their 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. The quartet consists of two violins, a viola, and a cello. They are currently artists-in-residence at Harvard University and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Chiara String Quartet presented a solo public performance that was part of Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra’s subscription series that took place at the Empire Arts Center in Grand Forks. Prior to the performance, the quartet provided an open rehearsal that gave audience members an opportunity to experience how the artists prepare and understand the acoustics of the venue. The artists included Rebecca Fischer (violin), Hyeyung Julie Yoon (violin), Gregory Beaver (cello), and Jonah Sirota (viola).

The engagement included a number of opportunities for outreach activities that occurred the day after the public performance. Chiara String Quartet went to Thief River Falls in Minnesota and provided free performances for students at Lincoln High School and residents (65 and older) at the Life-Care Center. Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra removed a significant geographic barrier by providing access to the performing arts for these youths (18 and younger) and adults (65 and older) by bringing the Chiara String Quartet directly to these audiences. In addition, the artists provided a cello masterclass for students at the University of North Dakota and string instruction for the Northern Valley Youth Orchestra which works with both public and private schools in providing music development and opportunities for young people.

“Music changes facial expressions. Individuals in various audiences think and feel in ways they may be unaccustomed to when they listen to a great music performance. That’s what we were able to observe during the course of Chiara String Quartet’s visit.” — Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra staff

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This engagement was a Star Project that provided access to a geographically underserved audience by partnering with Lincoln High School and Life-Care Center in Pennington County, Minnesota.