Performed by the Alianza String Quartet, former fellowship quartet-in-residence
Released at the end of 2009, the disc is the ninth volume in Albany Records' series The Music of Ezra Laderman. Laderman's twelfth (and, according to the composer, last) quartet was written for the Alianza. The members of the quartet that appear on the recording are Sarita Kwok and Lauren Basney, violins; Ahyoung Sung, viola; and Dmitri Atapine, cello. Eugene Kimball, the director of the Fred Plaut Recording Studio at the Yale School of Music, was the engineer for the CD.
This ninth CD with Albany Records brings me to the end of a musical exploration started October 1, 2000. This culminating CD, the final three string quartets I will ever compose, represent the most recent evolution of my compositional aesthetic… The excitement, the fun, the joy that composing has afforded me is due in no small measure to the unknown path traveled each morning as I sit before the blank sheet of music paper. It’s a great way to spend a life. I recommend it without reservation.
About the Composer
A distinguished and widely performed composer, Ezra Laderman has composed works commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony; the orchestras of Minnesota, Dallas, Louisville, Houston, Detroit, Albany, Denver, New Jersey, Indianapolis, Syracuse, and New Haven; and the New York City, Turnau, and Tri-Cities operas. He has also written works for such chamber ensembles as the Tokyo, Juilliard, Concord, Colorado, Lenox, Vermeer, Audubon, and Composers quartets and for soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Judith Raskin, Elmar Oliveira, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Samuel Baron, Sherrill Milnes, Emanuel Ax, Eugene List, Ronald Roseman, Bernard Garfield, and Ilana Vered, among others.
In February 2003 the Pittsburgh Symphony with Gunter Herbig conducting and Richard Page as soloist premiered Ezra Laderman’s Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra. He is the recipient of three Guggenheim Fellowships, the Prix de Rome, and Rockefeller and Ford Foundation grants. He has served as president of the National Music Council, chair of the American Composers Orchestra, director of the NEA Music Program, and president of the American Music Center. He was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1989 and became its president in 2006. From 1989 to 1995 he served as dean of the Yale School of Music.
About the Performers
Grand-prize winners of the 2007 Plowman National Chamber Music competition and the 2008 Chamber Music Foundation of New England International competition, the Alianza String Quartet has been described as “a showstopper” (Columbia Daily Tribune) and “a group of tremendous vision and integrity” (Clive Greensmith, cellist of the Tokyo String Quartet). Following their 2007 Carnegie Hall debut, the New York Times reported that “the Alianza players are musical, well trained and have an unusually elegant sound – they boil over with an edge-of-the-seat eagerness.” Classical Source praised their “elegant phrasing – rock-steady intonation, burnished sound and lively, characterful playing.”
The Alianza String Quartet was officially formed in 2004 at the Yale School of Music. From 2006 to 2008 they were in residence as postgraduate associates of the Yale School of Music and were closely mentored by the Tokyo String Quartet. The Alianza Quartet has had successful summer residences and debut performances at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Conn.), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), French Academy in Rome (Villa Medici), Aix-en-Provence Festival, and the Aldeburgh Festival (England). The ASQ has coached with ensembles such as the Takacs and Juilliard String Quartets and participated in the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in 2005 and 2006. They have won the Yale School of Music Chamber Music Competition and have been finalists at the Coleman National Chamber Music competition.