Portland String Quartet's annual concert features Matthews composition

The Portland String Quartet will perform the ninth annual Florence Pennell Gremley Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St. A reception in the lobby will immediately follow the concert, and the public is invited to attend free of charge.

The program showcases a new string quartet by William Matthews, the Alice Swanson Esty Professor of Music at Bates. Composed in 1999, the five-movement work includes “Lullabye,” “Blue Ridge,” “Cooper Square,” “Blue Rider” and “La Marcy.” The program also features the String Quartet in B-flat, Op. 74, No. 3 (“The Rider”) by Franz Josef Haydn; and the String Quartet No. 2, composed in 1948, by Ernest Bloch.

Called “a model of experienced ensemble playing” by The New York Times, the Portland String Quartet has been performing, teaching and recording for more than two decades and consists of violist Julia Adams, cellist Paul Ross and violinists Ronald Lantz and Stephen Kecskemethy. Its international touring has taken the quartet to more than two dozen countries, from Russia and Japan, to Norway and Brazil. Artists in residence at Colby College, the foursome have performed in New York’s Carnegie Hall and at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens.

The ensemble’s recording of Bloch’s The Five String Quartets (Arabesque) was named outstanding chamber music release by both The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. More recently, the recording of the complete cycle of string quartets and the Piano Quintet of American composer George Chadwick was named among the best chamber releases by The New York Times.

The Portland String Quartet’s chamber music workshops gained international acclaim when the United Nations education division sponsored their string quartet workshops in Caracas, Venezuela. The group’s repertoire and recordings include the works of Bach, Schubert, Dvorak, Strauss, Kreisler, Bloch, Piston and Chadwick.

The Olin Arts Concert Hall program is made possible by the Florence Pennell Gremley Endowment Fund, given by Florence Pennell Gremley ’25 in memory of her parents, Walter J. Pennell, M.D., and Lelia Goff Pennell, members of the Bates classes of 1890 and 1893, respectively. For additional information, call the Olin Arts Center at 207-786-6135.

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