Composers String Quartet to Perform at Miller

Photograph: Quartet members Ronald Carbone, Mark Shuman, Matthew Raimondi, Anshid Ajemian.

Columbia's quartet in residence--the Composers String Quartet--celebrates its 30th anniversary season with a concert in Miller Theatre on Thurs., Nov. 3 at 8:00 P.M., featuring works by Charles Ives (Quartet No. 1 & Scherzo), Milton Babbitt (Quartet No. 5), John Cage (Quartet), and Roger Sessions (Quartet No. 2).

The concert is one of six in Miller's "America and the String Quartet" series.

In residence at Columbia since 1975, the Quartet was founded in 1964 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gunther Schuller, at a time when he says there were only a handful of professional quartets in the U.S., and "an even rarer few who were willing--or able--to tackle the new, often very challenging and complex quartet literature of the day."

Schuller remembers 1964 as an active time for many American composers--from Sessions to Babbitt to Wuorinen--but with no groups to bring them to life.

"It occurred to me that what was needed was a quartet devoted primarily to the new incoming string-quartet repertory," says Schuller.

Debut in Carnegie Hall

The Composers String Quartet took its name to indicate that its main purpose was to be at the service of the composer and it made its debut in Schuller's Carnegie Hall 20th-Century Innovation Series.

Throughout the years, CSQ has performed over 70 quartets by 60 different composers and has performed American works in all the 32 countries it has visited.

Its many awards include a Grammy nomination, Stereo Review's "Best Chamber Music of the Year," High Fidelity's "Best Quartet of the Year" and the inaugural performance at the Charles Ives Center.

Columbia University Record -- October 28, 1994 -- Vol. 20, No. 8