Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Concert Line (202) 707-5502

October 4, 1996

Juilliard String Quartet Celebrate Its 50th Anniversary and 35th Year as Quartet in Residence at the Library of Congress

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Juilliard String Quartet and its 35th year as the Library of Congress's quartet in residence the Library will present the Juilliard String Quartet in performances at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 16 and 17, in the Terrace Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The Juilliard String Quartet (Robert Mann and Joel Smirnoff, violins; Samuel Rhodes, viola; Joel Krosnick, cello) will perform Mendelssohn's Andante and Scherzo, Op. 81, Nos. 1 and 2; Schoenberg's Quartet No. 1, in D minor, Op. 7; and the Quartet in D major, K. 499 by Mozart.

All Library of Congress concerts are free and open to the public, but tickets arerequired. Ticket distribution will begin at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Terrace Theater, ninety minutes before the concert. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis, with two general admission tickets per patron. For information about the Juilliard String Quartet concerts and future events in the series, call the Concert Line, (202) 707 5502.

The Juilliard is one of classical music's most revered string quartets. Its overrenditions of the standard string quartet literature are widely regarded as definitive, and its performances are renowned for interpretive insight and vitality. In 1996, the Juilliard String Quartet was named Musical America's "Musicians of the Year," becoming the first ensemble to earn that distinction. In the 1996 edition of Musical America's International Directory of the Performing Arts, Mark Swed writes: "The Juilliard String Quartet is America's quartet. It was born American, founded by an American composer. It is the first American quartet to be intimately tied not just to music of its time, but to music of its place to American music. It is the quartet that, through its sheer intensity, awakened much of America to chamber music. And, it is the quartet that proved to the rest of the world that Americans could produce a first class chamber ensemble. It is the American quartet that has filled the music world with generations of string quartet proteges. But the most obvious way that the Juilliard belongs to and represents America is simply that it has been in our midst for as long as anyone under 50 can remember. Each of these accomplishments alone is reason to celebrate the Juilliard Quartet. Taken together, they make it a national cultural treasure."

The quartet was formed by Robert Mann in 1946, at the behest of the president of the Juilliard School, William Schuman, who envisioned the benefits of a resident quartet serving in both teaching and performing capacities. It was the first American quartet to be recognized internationally; and in 1961, the first American string quartet to visit the Soviet Union. In 1962, it established a continuing residency at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; in 1996, it celebrates its 35th anniversary as quartet in residence at the Library of Congress, as well as its golden anniversary. A special one hour radio program honoring the Juilliard Quartet's tenure at the Library will be broadcast nationwide in spring 1997 as part of the "Concerts from the Library of Congress" series.

The Juilliard String Quartet began the 1996/97 season with concerts at the New York's Lincoln Center, highlighted by an anniversary concert at the Juilliard Theater on Oct. 11, the exact date of the quartet's debut 50 years ago. In addition to the Juilliard's Library of Congress concerts at the Kennedy Center on Oct. 16 and 17, additional engagements throughout the season include performances in Toronto, Minneapolis/St Paul (performing a new concerto for string quartet and orchestra with the Minnesota Orchestra), and in New York City (the cycle of Bartk quartets). The Quartet will also perform in other major American music centers, including Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit, and will travel to Europe and Japan.

The Juilliard String Quartet has made more than 100 recordings. In this anniversary season, Sony Classical has released a boxed set, of seven compact discs of the Juilliard's recordings for Sony/CBS Masterworks from the past five decades. Other new releases from Sony include two sets of Brahms quartets and quintets, Janacek quartets Nos. 1 and 2, and the Berg Lyric Suite. Also, Wergo Records just released the first disc of the Juilliard's recording of the complete Hindemith quartets.

In 1986, the Juilliard String Quartet was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for its recording of the complete Bartk String Quartets. Also in 1986, it was the first chamber group to receive the Arturo Toscanini Artistic Achievement Award. In 1993, the Quartet was awarded the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Award) for Lifetime Achievement in the recording industry, and the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators' Tiffany Award.

As faculty and quartet in residence at the Juilliard School in New York City, the Juilliard Quartet has helped train a number of other prominent chamber ensembles, including the Emerson, Tokyo, Shanghai, Lark, Essex, and St. Lawrence String Quartets.

First violinist Robert Mann, a native of Portland, Ore., and an alumnus of the Juilliard School, is the only member of the Juilliard String Quartet who has been a member of the Quartet since its inception in 1946. He played his New York debut recital in 1941 after winning the Naumburg Award. He appears frequently as soloist and has recorded a number of solo compositions. He has also composed more than 70 works.

Joel Smirnoff, second violinist, is a native of New York City. He attended the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In 1985, he made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. He was a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for six years before joining the Juilliard String Quartet in 1986.

Violist Samuel Rhodes, also a native of New York City, is a graduate of Queens College and Princeton University. He is celebrating his 27th season as a member of the Quartet. He is a member of the faculty at the Juilliard School and at Tanglewood, and he is a frequent participant at the Marlboro Festival.

Cellist Joel Krosnick, born in Connecticut, is active as a performer and educator. He performs throughout the United States and Europe as a soloist and recitalist and enjoys a solo recording career. His principal teachers were William D'Amato, Luigi Silva, Jens Nygaard, and Claus Adam, whom he succeeded in the Juilliard String Quartet.

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PR 96-133
ISSN 0731-3527

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