Jerusalem Quartet Aims to Bring Revered Chamber Music to Life

By Druckenbrod, Andrew | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), October 22, 2012 | Go to article overview

Jerusalem Quartet Aims to Bring Revered Chamber Music to Life


Druckenbrod, Andrew, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Over the course of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society's 50- year history as a presenter, nearly every top quartet has performed on the stage of Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland -- except the Jerusalem Quartet.

The major string quartet, whose founding members met at the Jerusalem Conservatory of Music and Dance, has played the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall in New York and Wigmore Hall in London and won praise for its recordings on the well- respected Harmonia Mundi label.

While the positive attention is warranted, it has received some that is undeserved. At some of its concerts in Britain, the quartet has had concerts briefly interrupted by heckling from activists critical of Israel's relationship to Palestine. While the members are Israeli citizens, the quartet is avowedly nonpolitical and receives no funding from Israel. Its management, David Rowe Artists, sent a letter to the venues on its current tour, stating that, "[These disruptions] seem to have subsided recently as (presumably) activists realize they are not delivering their message effectively. And nothing of this sort has happened outside of the UK." PCMS director Annie Mollova echoes that, saying, "We are aware of it, but we don't in any way anticipate it being an issue with our concert."

What will be at issue is how its members -- violinists Alexander Pavlovsky (first) and Sergei Bresler (second), cellist Kyril Zlotnikov and violist Ori Kam -- interpret some of chamber music's most revered compositions. The program is Mozart's "Prussian" Quartet, Shostakovich's Quartet No. 1 and Borodin's Quartet No. 2. We caught up with Mr. Kam to talk about the quartet and the program:

Q: How has the chemistry of the quartet -- both interpersonal and performing -- developed over the years since it started in 1993?

A: A quartet is not an easy partnership and is rather like a four- way marriage. There have been many ups and downs, including a personnel change three seasons ago. I think what kept the group together over the years is an unshakable mutual musical and personal respect. At the moment, we have a wonderful dynamic and enjoy each other's company on- and off-stage. When the stars align this way, there is nothing else like it.

Q: How did the Jerusalem Music Centre prepare you for professional life? When did the quartet break away from it?

The Jerusalem Music Centre is a phenomenal institution. …

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