Shanghai Quartet to Inspire MSU

Alexander Kasser Theater will host the Shanghai Quartet on April 12 as they make a stop in New Jersey this month

Symphony Violin
© Mohamed Osama | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Shanghai Quartet performs for Montclair.

The Shanghai Quartet, which also serves as the quartet-in-residence at Montclair State University, will hold a Friday night concert on April 12 at Kasser Theatre for their current tour.

Formed at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1983, members Weigang Li on violin, Yi-Wen Jiang on violin, Honggang Li on viola and Nicholas Tzavaras on cello celebrate 30 years in music this year.

Shanghai Quartet’s Tickets to the Friday night concert event are currently on sale for $15, with free admission for undergraduate students at the university. The concert will feature selections by Dvořák and Mozart, as well as the group’s internationally renowned soprano Ying Huang. Huang will perform selections written and arranged by violinist Yi-Wen Jiang from China Song. The collection will showcase mixes of traditional and popular Chinese folk music with classical ties.

In the last 30 years, the Shanghai Quartet has established quite a presence around the globe. Along with serving as the quartet-in-residence at Montclair State University, they are guest professors at the Shanghai Conservatory in China, and recently completed 13 years in residence at the University of Richmond.

The Shanghai Quartet was Graduate Ensemble-in-Residence at the Juilliard School, the Ravinia Music Festival and Tanglewood Music Center. The group coaches the students of the New York Youth Symphony, has been showcased on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall and has appeared three times in partnership with other ensembles. But, the Shanghai Quartet has done much more than just travel the world; they’ve also set records. In 2003, during their 20th Anniversary tour, the group performed “Beethoven Project: East Meets West.” This marked the first time the Beethoven’s quartet cycle was performed live in China.

The Shanghai Quartet’s focus, as mentioned on their personal site, is primarily “to present an elegant meld of Eastern music with Western repertoire performed at the highest artistic standard.” The Quartet strives to thrill and satisfy its audiences with passionate and engaging performances, while being true to the composers’ intentions.

The Shanghai Quartet is widely known for its versions of Beethoven and Mozart. The New York Times says, “The Shanghai cohesively blends the music’s pulsing rhythms and thrusting figurations with intelligence and grace.” With 24 recorded albums covering a wide range of Classical, Eastern and contemporary sounds, the Quartet is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The month of April will be a very active one for the Shanghai Quartet, as they will continue making stops throughout North America. Aside from the trip to Montclair, the Quartet can be seen in Winnipeg, Canada, Newtown, Conn. and Saint Paul, Minn.

The Shanghai Quartet concert will start at 7:30 p.m. Patrons can enjoy dining on the Montclair State campus at the Red Hawk Diner, open 24 hours and located only a short walking distance from Kasser.

If attendees are interested in a more formal dining experience, downtown Montclair is home to dozens of restaurants and eateries, including Raymonds on Church Street and Nauna’s Bella Casa on Valley Road.

Parking for the performance is available at the Red Hawk Parking Deck at an hourly rate,  located adjacent to the Alexander Kasser Theater. For more information about the show or to purchase tickets, please visit the Kasser website.

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