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“Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber is among the most famous works of American music ever written. There are many connections between the Dover Quartet, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Samuel Barber. Barber was a child prodigy who studied at Curtis; the Dover Quartet, comprised of Curtis graduates, is currently in residence there. The Adagio is one movement from Barber’s String Quartet, which he composed for the Curtis Quartet. The Dover Quartet feels a strong connection to Barber’s music and especially “Adagio for Strings.” In fact, the Quartet’s name comes from Barber’s Dover Beach. In their performance for the Cornell Concert Series Fall 2020 Season, the Dover Quartet will introduce and discuss the Adagio, presenting this beloved music in a new and enlightened way.
In addition to its faculty role as the inaugural Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Dover Quartet holds residencies with the Kennedy Center, Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Artosphere, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in New York. Among the group’s honors are the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award. The Dover Quartet has also won top prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.
In the 2020–21 season, the Dover Quartet debuts with Berkeley’s Cal Performances and New York’s 92nd Street Y, performs in venues in London and Copenhagen, and embarks on its first-ever tour of Latin America, which will be conducted using virtual technology. Upcoming tour performances include collaborations with the Escher Quartet, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, and harpist Bridget Kibbey. The quartet’s first volume of the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle, which focuses on the composer’s Op. 18 quartets, is set to release from Cedille Records in September 2020.
Among its many notable performances in 2019–20, the Dover Quartet made its Zankel Hall debut in collaboration with Emanuel Ax and returned to London’s Wigmore Hall. Other recent collaborators include Inon Barnaton, Ray Chen, Edgar Meyer, Anthony McGill, the late Peter Serkin, and Roomful of Teeth. Equally comfortable with repertoire from a range of eras, the quartet has worked with some of the world’s foremost living composers, including Caroline Shaw and Mason Bates.