See the Lydians

Upcoming Brandeis University season at Slosberg Music Center:

It's About Time!

Concert 1:
November 8, 2014, 8 p.m.
(7 p.m. preconcert talk)

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN String Quartet in F major, Op. 50 no. 5, The Dream
PHILLIP GLASS String Quartet no. 5
ELLIOTT CARTER String Quartet No. 1

Concert 2:

April 18, 2015, 8 p.m.
(7 p.m. preconcert talk)

BEN JOHNSTON String Quartet No. 4, "Amazing Grace"
CHARLES IVES String Quartet no. 2
EVAN ZIPORYN "Sulvasutra" for tabla, pipa, and string quartet

with guest artists Sandeep Das, tabla; and Yihan Chen, pipa

Ticket Information:

$20; $15 for Brandeis community and seniors (55+); $5 for students.

Purchase tickets online, by phone at (781) 736-3400, and in person at Brandeis Tickets, located in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium.

For information on booking the Lydian String Quartet, visit LydianQuartet.com

Lydian String Quartet

Lydian String Quartet, 2014Since its formation, in 1980, the Lydian String Quartet has inspired critical acclaim worldwide. The Quartet’s special flair and interpretive mastery of standard and contemporary repertoire has won the ensemble prizes at international competitions in Canada, France, England, and in New York (where they garnered the prestigious Naumburg Award for Chamber Music). Based on their exploration and deep understanding of the composer’s expression and craft, the Lydians offer compelling, superbly integrated, balanced, and thoughtful yet dramatic and passionate performances of the quartet literature. Through concerts, recordings, workshops, lectures, and master classes, the Lydians bring to life music spanning two-and-a-half centuries. Their programming of traditional and contemporary, formal and informal, helps to build new audiences for the world of chamber music in all its aspects, from the spiritual to the funky, from refined to raw, from tradition to challenging it.

The LSQ has performed extensively throughout the United States at venues such as Jordan Hall, in Boston; the Kennedy Center, and the Library of Congress, in D.C.; Lincoln Center, and Weill Recital Hall, in New York City. Abroad, the Quartet has made appearances in France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, and Armenia.

In past seasons, the Lydians have created intriguing programs such as:

  • “Around the World in a String Quartet,” a multi-year concert series that explored string quartet music in global settings within and beyond the European tradition
  • “Vienna and the String Quartet,” a five-year project which surveyed the heart of the string quartet repertory by juxtaposing new and old Vienna on each program. Along with music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Schoenberg, Zemlinsky, Webern, and Berg, the Lydians featured contemporary composers such as John Harbison, Vincent Persichetti, and Donald Martino who have responded to the Viennese tradition.
  • A celebration of Jewish culture, a year that was dedicated to works by composers such as Bloch, Boykan, Wyner, Shostakovich, Golijov, and Leo Ornstein.

The Lydians have long championed the commissioning and recording of new works. Their five-year “American Originals” Project, from 1995-2000, featured the rich repertoire of the 20th-Century American string quartet. During that time they performed or recorded over sixty works by American composers, often accompanying their concerts with workshops, lectures, and discussions. Winners of a Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Quartet has also received grants from the Meet the Composer/Rockefeller Foundation/AT&T Jazz Program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous awards from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. In 2012 their first ever Lydian String Quartet Commission Prize drew over 400 applicants; the winner Kurt Rohde wrote his new epic string quartet treatises for an unrecovered past for the Lydians who premiered it in 2013.

The Lydians' recordings reflect their diverse and far-reaching repertoire, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Ives, Ornstein, Persichetti, and Schubert as well as American contemporary composers they have long known and collaborated with such as Martin Boykan, Peter Child, John Harbison, Lee Hyla, Steven Mackey, Harold Shapero, and Yehudi Wyner. Their recording of John Harbison’s String Quartet No. 3 and “The Rewaking” was chosen by both The New York Times and The Boston Globe as one of the best classical recordings of 2001. Their 2012 Centaur recording of Beethoven’s late quartets was given a rave review by the Boston Globe’s Jeremy Eichler who wrote, “These distinguished readings are full of subtlety, tonal refinement, and a sense of accumulated musical wisdom.”

The members of the Lydian String Quartet are on the faculty of Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Their website can be found at lydianquartet.com.

Lydian Biographies

Mark Berger
Violist Mark Berger joined the Lydian String Quartet in 2014 and has been appointed associate professor of the practice at Brandeis University. In addition to his work with the quartet, Berger frequently performs with many of Boston’s finest orchestras and chamber ensembles including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Emmanuel Music, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Worcester Chamber Music Society and Music at Eden’s Edge.  He has recently appeared as a guest artist with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Boston Musica Viva, and Radius Ensemble.  Strongly devoted to the performance of new music, Berger has performed with many of Boston’s new music ensembles including Sound Icon, Boston Musica Viva, Dinosaur Annex, Ludovico Ensemble, and ALEA III. In addition to his teaching at Brandeis, Berger is currently on the string faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and a lecturer at Boston College. Also an acclaimed composer, Berger’s works have been presented locally by Boston Musica Viva, the New York New Music Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, ALEA III, the Worcester Chamber Music Society, Xanthos Ensemble, Music at Eden’s Edge, QX String Quartet, and the Lydian String Quartet, as well as nationally and internationally by the Third Coast Percussion Quartet, Ensemble Permutaciones (Mexico) and the Hellenic Ensemble of Contemporary Music (Greece).  His compositions have received awards and recognition from the League of Composers/ISCM, ASCAP, and the Rapido! Composition Competition and he has received commissioning grants from NEFA and the Brannen-Cooper Fund.

Judith Eissenberg
Second violinist and a founding member of the Lydian String Quartet, Judith Eissenberg is Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University, where she has been on the faculty since 1980. With the LSQ, she has won numerous international prizes, including the Naumburg Award for Excellence in Chamber Music. She has also commissioned new works, recorded, and toured extensively in the United States and abroad, performing on period and contemporary instruments. With an expertise in chamber music, she has played, in the Boston area, with the Boston Chamber Music Society, The Boston Conservatory Chamber Players, Emmanuel Music, and others. Ms. Eissenberg is co-founder and director of Music From Salem, a chamber music festival in upstate New York; is on the faculty of the Chamber Music Conference and Composers' Forum of the East; and coaches chamber music at The Boston Conservatory. At Brandeis, she founded and directs MusicUnitesUS, whose mission is to further the understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures through music, and enjoys teaching Intro to World Music as well as Chamber Music Performance and Analysis: From the Perspective of the Performer.

Joshua Gordon
The cellist Joshua Gordon has won acclaim from audiences, critics, colleagues, and composers for his dramatic music making and rich tone. An experienced soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and educator who joined the Lydian String Quartet and became Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University in 2002, he is also an artist member of the Worcester Chamber Music Society and resident cellist at the annual Wellesley Composers Conference. He has performed across the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and South America. He was a member of the New York Chamber Soloists, the Group For Contemporary Music, and the New Millennium Ensemble, and has been a guest of the Apple Hill, Cassatt, DaPonte, Juilliard, and Ying Quartets, Apple Hill Center For Chamber Music, Boston Baroque, Boston Chamber Music Society, Boston Jewish Music Festival with pianist Donald Berman, Chameleon Arts Ensemble, Emmanuel Music, Fromm Players at Harvard University, Kowmung Music Festival (Australia), New York Festival of Song, North Country Chamber Players, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Portland Chamber Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Smith College Players, Williams College Players, and Speculum Musicae. Joshua Gordon's duo with pianist Randall Hodgkinson has been described as "insightful and impassioned" by The New Yorker, and their New World recording Leo Ornstein: Complete Works For Cello and Piano was named one of the top 10 classical recordings of 2007 by the All Music Guide. As a Lydian, Gordon can be heard can be heard on critically acclaimed recordings of quartets by Martin Boykan, Mohammed Fairouz, John Harbison, Vincent Persichetti, and their newest set on Centaur of Beethoven's late quartets released in 2012. He is also featured playing music ranging from Roger Sessions and Charles Wuorinen to Morton Feldman and Gerry Hemingway on recordings from Albany Records, CRI, Cala, Koch International Classics, Naxos, and Tzadik. His web site can be found at joshuagordoncello.com.

Daniel Stepner
Daniel Stepner joined the LSQ as first violinist in 1987.  A Professor of the Practice on the faculty at Brandeis University, Mr. Stepner is also a Artistic Director of the Aston Magna Festival in the Berkshires. As a touring musician, he has played in 11 countries in Western Europe and the former Soviet Union, and throughout Australia and the United States. He has performed and recorded a wide repertoire on period and contemporary instruments. In addition to the Lydian String Quartet's many recordings, he has recorded chamber music by Buxtehude, Bach, Marais, Rameau, Vivaldi, Telemann, Mozart, Schubert, Charles Ives, Harold Shapero, Irving Fine, Yehudi Wyner, David Rakowski and Yu-Hui Chang.  His recent CD releases also include the Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach (along with his transcription of the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue), and an album of 20th Century masterworks for solo violin, including music of Bartók, Hindemith, Ysaÿe and Perkinson.  Stepner studied with Steven Staryk in Chicago, Nadia Boulanger in France, and Broadus Erle at Yale.

The Lydian String Quartet on CD

  1. Anderson, Allen: String Quartet (CRI 727)
  2. Ludwig van Beethoven: The Late String Quartets (Centaur CRC 3212/3213/3214)
  3. Bouchard, Linda: Lung Ta (CRI 672)
  4. Boykan, Martin: String Quartet No. 3 (Albany Records TROY1196)
  5. Boykan, Martin: String Quartet No. 4 (CRI CD 786)
  6. Brahms: Piano Quintet and Viola Quintet in G, with Brandeis alumnae Sally Pinkas and Betty Hauck; CD produced by Brandeis University
  7. Child, Peter:  String Quartet No. 1 (Neuma CD 450)
  8. Child, Peter: String Quartet No. 2 and other chamber music (New World Records CD 80594-2)
  9. Fauré, Gabriel: La Bonne Chanson, with Sanford Sylvan, baritone and David Breitman, piano (Nonesuch 79371-2)
  10. Fine, Irving: String Quartet (Nonesuch 9 79175-2)
  11. Fussell, Charles: “Being Music” with Sanford Sylvan, baritone   (Koch 3-7338-2 H1)
  12. Harbison, John: Two String Quartets, and “November 19, 1828” with Yehudi Wyner, piano (Harmonia Mundi France 907057)
  13. Harbison, John: String Quartet No. 3, “Thanks, Victor” and “The Rewaking,” with Dominique Labelle, soprano (Musica Omnia 0110)
  14. Harbison, John: The First Four String Quartets (Centaur CRC 2985)
  15. Hyla, Lee: Second and Third String Quartets (New World Records 80491-2)
  16. Hyla, Lee: Fourth String Quartet (Tzadik)
  17. Ives, Charles: The String Quartets (Centaur 2069)
  18. Karlins, William: Quintet for Alto Sax and String Quartet (1974), with Paul Bro, saxophone; Music from Northwestern, Vol. 8, CD (Arizona University Recordings AUR CD 5008)
  19. Steven Mackey: Quartet For Strings (1983) (Originally CRI SD 526 / now New World NWCRL526)
  20. Lydian String Quartet in Moscow: (MCA; music of Chaushian, Firsova, Thomas Oboe Lee, Peter Child [out of print])
  21. Nieske, Bob: Simplicity; the Bob Nieske Trio with the Lydian String Quartet (Accurate Records: AC-5042)
  22. Ornstein, Leo: Piano Quintet, with Janice Weber, piano and String Quartet No. 3 (New World Records 80509-2)
  23. Persichetti, Vincent: The Four String Quartets (Centaur 2833)
  24. Schubert, Franz: “Death and the Maiden” (song and string quartet), and Quartet in B-flat, with Mary Westbrook-Geha, mezzo-soprano  (Centaur 2186)
  25. Schuman, William: Three String Quartets (Harmonia Mundi France 907114)
  26. Shapero, Harold: Serenade for String Quintet, String Quartet, String Trio (New World Records 80569-2)
  27. Seymour Shifrin: Cantata To The Text Of Sophoclean Choruses (New World Records NWCRL511)
  28. Wyner, Yehudi: String Quartet (1985), Brandeis Sunday (1996), and other chamber music, Song Cycle “On This Most Voluptuous Night” with soprano Dominique Labelle (New World Records 80549)

            To be released:  Gardner Read: Piano Quintet