The Calder Quartet — which trained at USC and the Juilliard School, and has played in recent years at Carnegie Hall in New York, Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival — visits UC Davis this week as part of the Art of Migration festival. The group will give three concerts — one of which is free — and local audiences can engage in an online question-and-answer session with the foursome, as the Mondavi Center hosts a Google+ Hangout with the Calder Quartet from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The hangout will be an intimate conversation led by Mondavi Center artist-in-residence, pianist Lara Downes.
“New music has an active, curious audience that, by and large, is highly engaged with technology and social media,” said Rob Tocalino, the Mondavi Center’s director of marketing. “And, because (new music) often intentionally provokes questions, we felt providing an opportunity to have this conversation was a vitally important parallel to the programming work we are doing.”
A Google+ Hangout is a user-driven video chat where participants can engage with the artists or simply watch the chat. To join the hangout, visit the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts Google+ page. For directions on how to participate visit www.mondaviarts.org/hangout. To RSVP for the chat and ask questions in advance, join the event at www.facebook.com/mondavicenter
There will be a free opportunity to hear the Calder Quartet perform during the Thursday noon concert in the Mondavi Center lobby, which will feature several artists appearing in the five-day Art of Migration festival. The Calder Quartet will play excerpts from two classics: the second movement from the String Quartet by Maurice Ravel (1903), and the first movement of the String Quartet No. 6 by Felix Mendelssohn (1847). Marimba player Mayumi Hama and the Rootstock Percussion group will also perform briefly on that program.
The Calder Quartet will give full programs in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3. The Saturday program features a complete performance of the Ravel String Quartet, and the String Quartet No. 5 by Béla Bartók (1934 — it will also be heard at Mondavi next season as part of the Alexander Quartet’s cycle of concerts featuring Bartók’s quartets). Also on the Saturday program will be festival guest composer Lei Liang’s “Serashi Fragments” (2005), plus a very recent piece titled “Reach” by Nicholas Omiccioli, which the composer describes as inspired by “the determination of individuals who attempt to climb Mount Everest every year… ‘Reach’ explores this struggle and intensity while attempting to recreate the deadly environment of Everest.”
The Sunday program will feature the complete String Quartet No. 6 by Mendelssohn, as well as three recent compositions by young composers: “Acqua e Luce” by Ryan Suleiman (b. 1990), “Selective Defrosting” by Tina Tallon (b. 1990), and “Stay” by Elliot Cless (b. 1984).
Tickets to the Saturday and Sunday concerts are $38 regular, $19 students, www.mondaviart.org or 530-754-2787.
The Calder Quartet’s name honors American sculptor and painter Alexander Calder, reflecting the group’s interest in visual arts. In addition to performances in classical venues, the foursome is known for working with contemporary composers (including Northern California’s Terry Riley), collaborating with rock bands, and occasionally appearing on late night talk shows hosted by David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.