The Escher String Quartet and guitarist Jason Vieaux presented a classical music ensemble on Friday during W&L’s Young Alumni Weekend in Wilson Hall.
Vieaux and the quartet played Guitar Quintet in D Major, G. 448 “Fandango,” by Luigi Boccherini, a 19th century Italian classical composer and cellist.
Before the performance, audience members from both the local community and W&L were eager to hear the musicians.
“I have always played violin, and I also like guitar very much,” Jiwon Kim, ‘20, said. “I look forward to seeing how they would put all strings instruments together.”
The quartet then performed Bartok’s Quartet No. 2, Op. 17, Sz. 67, which appeared to be the highlight of the night. Violinist Aaron Boyd explained Bartok’s inspiration behind the piece.
“Living in different times, and as a very sensitive, unbelievably great artist, Bartok was sensitive to all the horror occurring in the early 20th century,” Boyd said. “Both the charm and horror in this piece are unique in their combination. We hope the experience moves you.”
Tiffany Ko, ‘20, said she is a fan of Escher Quartet and shared her excitement after the concert.
“They communicate with each other through their music and their body movements show their enthusiasm and make the piece more than just notes,” Ko said.
Following the Escher Quartet was Vieaux with Francisco Tarrega’s Capricho Arabe, which Vieaux introduced before performing.
“This composition is seeking to fuse this music with more of the folk spirit with Spain,” Vieaux said. “The title refers to the scale that you hear from the piece, and this kind of sound of the Arabic music was from the moorage of 17th century.”
Audience members praised Vieaux’s profound playing skills and the tranquility of his music in Capricho Arabe.
The Concert Guild worked hard to invite these masters to campus.
“We aim to bring affordable quality music to W&L students and community,” said Jane Kim, who is a member of Concert Guild.
The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. The quartet served on the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme from 2010 until 2012. From 2007 until 2009, the quartet was in residence at Stony Brook University. Escher has been mentored by the Emerson String Quartet and has collaborated with artists that include Leon Fleischer, David Finckel, Wu Han, and guitarist Jason Vieaux.
In 2013, the Escher Quartet was awarded the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Martin E. Segal Award in 2015.
Described by NPR as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation,” Vieaux performs a wide range of music. His solo recitals have been featured at every major guitar series in North America and at many important guitar festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico.
Vieaux has performed with nearly a hundred orchestras and has recorded nearly a dozen albums. In 1992, he was awarded the prestigious GFA International Guitar Competition First Prize as the youngest winner ever.