“There’s a reason they call it chamber music. And music doesn’t get any more chamber than
when it’s played in the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s intimate music room.”
James Chute, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 15, 2011
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is one of the few places in San
Diego where you can enjoy chamber music as it was intended - in an intimate
venue. The Athenaeum's Chamber Concert Series began in 1990 and was renamed
the Barbara and William Karatz Chamber Concert Series in 2003. Held in
the library’s 160-seat Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room, the six-concert
annual series features internationally recognized classical musicians
and ensembles, each followed by a private reception with the artists.
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is proud to present its 23rd anniversary
season of chamber concerts. Enjoy chamber music as it was intended—in
a warm, intimate setting, where you are treated as a guest in our historic
home. Doors open at 7 p.m. Guest names will be on a will call list at the door. Please note that seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Only members at the Donor level and above receive reserved seating.
These concerts are made possible in part, thanks to funding from the City
of San Diego through a program managed by the Commission for Arts and Culture
and the County of San Diego.
The series opens on Sunday, October 27, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., with the Formosa Quartet. Winners of the first prize and the Amadeus Prize at the Tenth London International String Quartet Competition in 2006, the Formosa Quartet was formed in 2002 when the four founding members came together for a concert tour of Taiwan, the land of their shared heritage. In addition to their performances of traditional repertoire, the Formosa Quartet has also embraced the works of contemporary composers, with world premieres of Shih-hui Chen’s Mei Hua for string quartet and of Thomas Oboe Lee’s Piano Quintet, as well as performances of pieces by Bright Sheng, Dana Wilson, and Richard Wilson. The members of the Formosa Quartet—Jasmine Lin, Wayne Lee, Che-Yen Chen, and Ru-Pei Yeh—have established themselves as leading solo, chamber, and orchestral musicians. With degrees from Juilliard, Curtis, and New England Conservatory, they have performed in major venues around the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Australia.
New York Polyphony
The second concert in the six-part series will take place on Friday, November 1, at 7:30 p.m., with New York Polyphony. Praised for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts” (NPR), New York Polyphony is regarded as one of the finest vocal chamber ensembles in the world. The four men “sing with intelligence, subtlety and consummate artistry” (Richmond Times-Dispatch), applying a distinctly modern touch to repertoire that ranges from austere medieval melodies to cutting-edge contemporary compositions. Their dedication to innovative programming, as well as a focus on rare and rediscovered works, has not only earned New York Polyphony critical acclaim and a devoted following, but also helped to move early music into the classical mainstream. In July 2013, New York Polyphony released its fourth album, Times Go by Turns. New York Polyphony will be performing the West Coast premiere of Gregory Brown’s Missa Charles Darwin.
The third concert in the series is on Thursday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m., with pianist Kuok Wai-Lio. Born in Macau in 1989, Kuok-Wai began his piano studies at the age of five. In 1997 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and in 2006 he entered the Curtis Institute. Most recently, Kuok-Wai has been working regularly with Andás Schiff at international master classes and festivals in Europe. Kuok-Wai has also performed with the Macau Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Curtis Chamber Orchestra, Russian Symphony Orchestra, and Camerata Salzburg, and has given recitals in Japan, Germany and Italy. Kuok-Wai has received prizes in international piano competitions, including the Fulbright, Gina Bachauer, Seiler, Steinway, Ettlingen, and Chopin (Tokyo). In January 2004, he was awarded a Commendation of Merit given by the Chief Executive of Macau. That same year, he was invited to perform for the President of China, Hu Jintao, at the fifth anniversary of Macau’s handover to China.
On Thursday, February 20, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., we continue with violinist Sarah Chang. Sarah Chang is recognized as one of the world’s great violinists. Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of eight, she has performed with the greatest orchestras, conductors, and accompanists internationally, in a career spanning more than two decades. This season, highlights in the United States include appearances with the Boulder Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and at the Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Ms. Chang appears regularly in Asia and will perform at the Beijing Music Festival for concerts in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Beijing.
“Her gifts are at a level so removed from the rest of us that all we can do is feel the appropriate awe and then wonder on the mysteries of nature. The ancients would certainly have had Ms. Chang emerging fully formed from some Botticellian scallop shell”—New York Times.
Tuesday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m., will feature the Parker Quartet with Kikuei Ikeda. Hailed by the New York Times as “something extraordinary,” the Grammy Award–winning Parker Quartet has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. The quartet began its professional touring career in 2002 and garnered international acclaim in 2005, winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition as well as the grand prix and Mozart Prize at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France.
Kikuei Ikeda, violinist, was born in Yokosuka and studied violin at the Toho Academy of Music with Saburo Sumi and Josef Gingold and chamber music with Hideo Saito. While still living in Japan, he performed as soloist with the Yomiuri Symphony and the Tokyo Metropolitan and Tokyo Symphony orchestras and toured Europe as concertmaster of the Toho String Orchestra. Mr. Ikeda was a prizewinner in the Mainichi-NHK and Haken competitions in Japan, the Washington International Competition for Strings in Washington, D.C., and the Vienna da Motta in Portugal.
The series concludes on Tuesday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m., with the Trio Sorpresa. Members of Trio Sorpresa have been performing nationally and internationally as soloist and chamber music musicians. Each has earned raving reviews, released CDs as a soloist and collaborative artist, and has separate professional careers. Two members of the trio, Wanchi Huang and Robert Koenig, had known one another during their student years at the Curtis Institute of Music, and thought it would be fun to collaborate together in a new dynamic trio, this time with Jacob Braun.
Back to top