From Chiara String Quartet: “World Premiere of Philip Glass’ Piano Quintet ‘Annunciation'”

Chiara String Quartet

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and the Lied Center for the Performing Arts Present

Chiara String Quartet and pianist Paul Barnes

World Premiere of Philip Glass’ Piano Quintet “Annunciation”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 7:30pm
Lied Center for the Performing Arts
301 N. 12th Street | Lincoln, NE

Tickets ($15-$30) available online at, by phone at 402.472.4747, or in person at the box office

The quintet was commissioned by the Pearle Francis Finigan Foundation, Mike & Amber Kutayli, Rhonda Seacrest, and the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska in celebration of over twenty years of collaboration between pianist Paul Barnes and composer Philip Glass.

Drawing upon Barnes and Glass’ mutual love of ancient traditions, Glass based the melodic material on the Greek Orthodox byzantine hymn for the Annunciation. The text comes from Psalm 133:13, “The Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired her for his dwelling place.” Part One opens with an ethereal chromatic chord progression leading to the first entrance of the chant stated by the piano and later developed by other members of the ensemble. In Part Two is a poignant meditation in which Glass connects the transcendental ethos of the original chant with his own spacious approach to musical time. The work ends with an increasingly energetic and ecstatic coda based on the opening chant transformed into scale passages that ascend and dissipate into a pianissimo chromatic flourish evocative of incense rising.

In addition to the premiere of Piano Quintet Annunciation, Portland-based Cappella Romana will perform traditional byzantine chant upon which the piano quintet is based. Chiara String Quartet violinist Hyeyung Yoon and pianist Paul Barnes will perform Glass’ duo, Pendulum, and this special evening will conclude with Glass’ monumental Piano Concerto No. 2 “After Lewis and Clark” in a cross-departmental showcase of the Glenn Korff School of Music featuring pianist and Professor of Music Paul Barnes, the UNL Symphony Orchestra and University Singers under the direction of Tyler White and Peter Eklund, and guest Native American flutist Ron Warren.

Upcoming performances of Philp Glass’ Piano Quintet Annunciation include the East Coast premiere on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 4pm at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, CT and the New York premiere on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 2pm at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Chiara String Quartet concludes its tenure as Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with this concert. The group will end full-time work performing together in September 2018, and characterizes its decision as made, “in a spirit of tremendous gratitude and love.” Although the members of the group are each planning solo performance and teaching careers moving forward, the group plans to reunite regularly for special projects and performance opportunities. Learn more about future plans for the Chiara members at

Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet captivates its audiences throughout the country. Lauded for its “highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing” (The Boston Globe), the quartet is currently Hixson-Lied Artist-in-Residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was the 2015-2016 quartet-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Chiara Quartet has been performing and asking probing questions since 2000. Always interested in engaging with the music at its core as well as reaching audiences, the quartet has dedicated itself to finding ways to make the musical experience meaningful for all involved. In this pursuit, the quartet has performed in venues from major concert halls to clubs, created interactive programs for all ages, and most recently taken to performing and recording from memory, or “by heart.” Described by an audience member as “a 3-D experience for the listener,” playing by heart is deeply rewarding for the Chiara as well; memorizing the score helps them to closely relate to the composer’s compositional process. The Chiara’s latest recording is Bartók by Heart, a 2-CD set featuring Bartók’s six string quartets, played entirely from memory, released to critical acclaim in August 2016 on Azica. The quartet’s previous album, Brahms by Heart, was released on Azica in March 2014. Chiara’s discography also includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 on New Amsterdam Records.

The Chiara Quartet regularly performs in major concert halls across the country and has toured China, Korea, and Sweden. Recent collaborators include The Juilliard, Shanghai, and St. Lawrence String Quartets, Joel Krosnick, Roger Tapping, Simone Dinnerstein, Norman Fischer, and Paul Katz. The Chiara has been committed to the creation of new music for string quartet since its inception, and has commissioned composers such as Gabriela Lena Frank, Jefferson Friedman, Pierre Jalbert, Nico Muhly, and Robert Sirota.

The Chiara’s honors include the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming; winning the Astral Artistic Services National Audition; First Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition; and the Guarneri Quartet Residency Award from Chamber Music America.

In August 2017, the Chiara String Quartet announced that 2017-2018 will be its final concert season. The group will end full-time work performing together in September 2018, and characterizes its decision as made, “in a spirit of tremendous gratitude and love.”

The Chiara trained and taught at The Juilliard School, mentoring for two years with the Juilliard Quartet, as recipients of the Lisa Arnhold Quartet Residency. Chiara (key-ARE-uh) is an Italian word, meaning “clear, pure, or light.”

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The Chiara String Quartet is an internationally performing professional string quartet based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Group is the Quartet-in-residence at the School of Music in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is also the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University. The group is also in residence as faculty at the Greenwood Music Camp, a summer program for advanced high school musicians. The group’s members are Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; and Gregory Beaver, cello.


Gregory Beaver

Jonah Sirota

Rebecca Fischer

Hye Yung Julie Yoon

In addition to traditional concertizing, in December 2006 the group began performing in bars and other unusual performance venues for a classical string quartet under the tagline “Chamber music in any chamber.” This has brought them into bars such as The Brick in Kansas City, Missouri, the Rose in Brooklyn (New York Times review), Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Avantgarden in Houston, TX.

On August 29, 2017, the members of the Chiara String Quartet announced that the 2017-2018 season would be their last; in the future, they will be focusing on solo performance and teaching careers.

John Schaefer

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