What Makes it Great

What Makes It Great?

With Rob Kapilow and the Thalea String Quartet

Sun, May 3, 3:00pm

Adult $25 – $40 Students 18 and under FREE

Overview

We welcome back composer/conductor Rob Kapilow for another installment of his “What Makes It Great” series. Our 2019-20 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence joins him to delve into Beethoven’s Quartet in F Major, Op.18, No. 1. During the program, Kapilow will deconstruct, slow down, and reassemble Beethoven’s masterwork, one of his earliest compositions for the medium, followed by a complete performance and a Q&A session with all the artists.

“Because Kapilow is so good at what he does, knowledge about how music actually works, how it is put together — as opposed to dry facts about composers’ lives — doesn’t fly away with the whirlwind, but instead lodges in the memory, where they can grow.” — Boston Globe
Artists

Rob Kapilow

Thalea String Quartet
Christopher Whitley, violin
Kumiko Sakamoto, violin
Luis Bellorín, viola
Titilayo Ayangade, cello

Program

Beethoven String Quartet in F Major, Op.18, No. 1

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Rob Kapilow

Rob Kapilow, speaker

Artist Website Listen Watch

For over 20 years, Rob Kapilow has brought the joy and wonder of classical music — and unraveled some of its mysteries — to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Characterized by his unique ability to create an “aha” moment for his audiences and collaborators, whatever their level of musical sophistication or naiveté, Kapilow’s work brings music into people’s lives: opening new ears to musical experiences and helping people to listen actively rather than just hear.

Kapilow’s range of activities is astonishingly broad, including his What Makes It Great?® presentations (now for over 20 seasons in New York and Boston), his family compositions and Family Musik® events, his Citypieces, corporate programs, and residencies with institutions as diverse as the National Gallery of Canada and Stanford University. The reach of his interactive events and activities is wide, from Native American tribal communities in Montana and inner-city high school students in Louisiana to audiences in Kyoto and Kuala Lumpur, and from tots barely out of diapers to musicologists in Ivy League programs.

Kapilow has appeared on NBC’s Today Show with Katie Couric; he presented a special What Makes It Great?® for broadcast on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center; and he has written two books published by Wiley/Lincoln Center: All You Have To Do Is Listen, which won the PSP Prose Award for Best Book in Music and the Performing Arts, and What Makes It Great (2011), the first book of its kind to be especially designed for the iPad with embedded musical examples. He is currently finishing a new book for Norton/Liveright on the American Songbook.

Rob Kapilow dedicates his summer months to writing and composing new music. He was the first composer to be granted the rights to set Dr. Seuss’ words to music, and his “Green Eggs and Ham” has been called “the most successful piece written for families this half century.” A CD featuring Nathan Gunn and Isabel Leonard in two more of his popular Family Musik® compositions, Chris van Allsburg’s “Polar Express” and Dr. Seuss’s “Gertrude McFuzz,” was released in 2014, and he is currently working on a new piece for the 25th anniversary of Ottawa Chamberfest based on Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculpture, “Maman.”

Kapilow’s career has been marked by numerous major awards and grants. He won first place in the Fontainebleau Casadesus Piano Competition and was second-place winner of the Antal Dorati Conductor’s Competition with the Detroit Symphony. He was featured on Chicago Public Radio’s Composers In America series, and is a recipient of an Exxon Meet-the-Composer grant and numerous ASCAP awards.

Kapilow has conducted many of North America’s orchestras, as well as new works of musical theater, ranging from the Tony Award-winning Nine on Broadway to the premiere of Frida for the opening of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and premieres of works for the American Repertory Theater. At the age of 19, Kapilow interrupted his academic work at Yale University to study with the legendary Nadia Boulanger. Two years later, after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, he continued his studies at Eastman School of Music. After graduating from Eastman, he returned to Yale, where he was assistant professor for six years at the university. He lives in River Vale, NJ, with his wife and three children.

 

Thalea String Quartet©Titilayo Ayangade

Thalea String Quartet

Christopher Whitley, violin
Kumiko Sakamoto, violin
Luis Bellorín, viola
Titilayo Ayangade, cello

Artist Website Watch

The Thalea String Quartet is dedicated to bringing timeless music to audiences from all walks of life. From living rooms to concert stages around the world, the Thalea String Quartet aims to connect with audiences on a musical, emotional, and personal level, from first time listeners to string quartet aficionados. They are devoted to building a new and diverse audience for chamber music through innovative programming and community engagement.

Formed in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, the Thalea String Quartet has been praised for their “vibrant performance” and “sincere expressivity” (SF Classical Voice). The quartet has performed recitals across Europe, the United States, and Canada, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Massey Hall, and Weill Hall. They were the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2015–17. They were recently named the Young Professional String Quartet at the Butler School of Music, where they are mentored by the highly acclaimed Miró Quartet. They also serve as Associated Artists at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo, Belgium, where they are mentored by the Artemis Quartet. The Thalea String Quartet were top prize winners at both the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the 2018 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They were appointed as the Sphinx Ensemble at the 2018 Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and will return this coming summer as a Shouse Ensemble. They were ensemble-in-residence at the Bear Valley Music Festival for the summers of 2018 and 2019, and will serve as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts for the 2019/20 season, where they will premiere a new work by acclaimed composer Paola Prestini.

The Thalea String Quartet prides itself on the diversity of its collaborations. They have performed Mendelssohn’s Octet in its original manuscript form with the award-winning Borromeo Quartet and shared the stage with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw in performances of works for voice and string quartet. They have performed alongside Geoff Nuttall of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, violist Jodi Levitz, and composer Mason Bates. They were invited to participate in the 2017 KRONOS Festival, where they performed works from the Kronos Quartet’s 50 for the Future Project. Committed to collaborating with artists of all backgrounds, the Thalea String Quartet has collaborated with San Francisco-based dance theatre company the Joe Goode Performance Group at the Yerba Buena Center and appeared with acclaimed Canadian band BADBADNOTGOOD at the iconic Massey Hall.

The members of the Thalea String Quartet are dedicated educators and bring their commitment to teaching and community engagement to their frequent educational and community performances. They have performed educational concerts to students of all ages and regularly perform at care facilities and schools across the United States.

Christopher Whitley (violin) is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Kumiko Sakamoto (violin) is from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada; Luis Bellorín (viola) is from Naperville, Illinois; and Titilayo Ayangade (cello) is from Cincinnati, Ohio. Christopher performs on the 1700 “Taft” Stradivari, generously on loan by the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.

The Thalea String Quartet is a fiscally sponsored affiliate of InterMusic SF, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to small-ensemble music in the San Francisco Bay Area.