UPDATED: Miró Quartet Performs the Complete Beethoven String Quartets


Photo credit to Jeff Wilson

COVID-19 Update (April 2, 2020)

In honor of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is exploring options to move forward with the Miró Quartet’s performances of the Beethoven string quartets in June of 2020. Because of the worldwide COVID-19 virus, the Miró Quartet will not travel to Orcas Island for the concerts in June, as originally planned. Instead, OICMF and the Miró Quartet are working with leaders in the concert broadcasting industry to bring the complete cycle of Beethoven’s string concerts to our audiences remotely from the Miró Quartet’s home city of Austin, Texas. At this point, we don’t know whether the Beethoven quartets will be presented as scheduled or if there will be a different schedule of the performances. Updates will be posted here and in our Scherzo newsletter as more information becomes available.

If you have already purchased tickets for the Beethoven concerts, we encourage you to hold onto them for the time being. We anticipate creating a way to transfer your tickets from our Orcas Center ticket vendor to a streaming platform; we will let all Miró-Beethoven ticket holders know when this is in place. Because of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 virus, Beethoven concert tickets are fully refundable, but we hope you will be able to join the Miró Quartet for the concerts from the comfort of your own home!

In this concert series, the Miró Quartet performs the pieces in the order in which Beethoven composed them. In 1799, Beethoven gave a friend a copy of Quartet no. 1 from Opus 18 (his first series of six quartets). Soon after, he wrote to his friend, telling him to “show no one this quartet, as I am currently revising it, now that finally I know how to write quartets!” Beethoven wrote this series of quartets over a period of several years, and he revised many of them over time, sometimes replacing entire movements. Each of Beethoven’s quartets expresses his physical and emotional state over the time he was writing it; anxiety over his increasing deafness and the cultural changes in Vienna and the Western world were great influences on his compositions.

When asked about these concerts, Aloysia Friedmann, Artistic Director of Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, stated, “String quartets are considered to be the pinnacle of a composer’s art, and the Beethoven cycle of quartets are universally acknowledged to be the greatest of them all.” For a list of the quartets, in the order they will be performed, click here.

The Miró Quartet, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival’s Quartet-in-Residence, performs regularly at the August festival on Orcas, as well as on many of the world’s most prestigious stages, and in 2005 became the first ensemble ever to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Deeply committed to music education, the Miró Quartet members, violinists Daniel Ching and William Fedkenheuer, violist John Largess, and cellist Joshua Gindele, have served as the Faculty String Quartet-in-Residence at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin since 2003. Visit the Miró Quartet at miroquartet.com.