CMA to open VIVA! & Gala Series with
Inca Son and the Prazak String Quartet
by Mike Telin
The sound of the Inca will fill Gartner Auditorium this week when The Cleveland Museum of Art begins it’s 2012-13 VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts Series this Friday, October 26 at 7:30.
From their beginnings in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Inca Son or Sound of the Inca has been a band with a mission: to preserve and instill appreciation for their cultural legacy through the international language of music and dance. Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart calls them “the indispensable cultural ambassadors of this nearly lost South American folk tradition. Their music is of the highest caliber.”
In concert, Inca Son recreates a the color and vibrancy of their homeland, the Peruvian Andes, with a band as well as a company of dancers who are National Peruvian Folk-dance Champions.
This concert will be presented in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition, Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes.
“The 2012 – 13 season juxtaposes an array of exhilarating performances from around the world with the great art works of the world on view at the museum,” says Massoud Saidpour, the museum's director of Performing Arts, Music and Film.
The VIVA! & Gala series continues on Wednesday, October 31 with a performance by one of the today’s leading nternational chamber music ensembles, the Prazak Quartet, Pavel Hula and Vlastimil Holek, violins, Josef Kluson, viola and Michal Kanka, cello. The program includes Haydn’s Quartet in B-flat, op. 71, no. 1, Josef Suk's Quartet No. 1, and Dvořák’s Quartet in G, Op. 106. The concert marks this venerable Czech quartet's first appearance at the Museum since 1996.
Formed in 1972 at the Prague Conservatory when the members were students, “the real start of the quartet was 1976, when we entered into the class of the famous professors from the Smetana Quartet and then later with the La Salle Quartet,” violist Josef Kluson told us by telephone from his home in the Czech Republic. “We started the quartet in school forty years ago, so we are certainly one of the longest quartets that are touring today.”
Over those forty years, the Prazaks have earned a reputation for their performances of Czech music, and Wednesday’s program will be no exception. “The program is a little bit easy going,” Kluson jokes. “The Dvorak Quartets are a major part of the Czech repertory of course, but they don’t only belong to us Czechs. This quartet is quite a special piece because it is written in a rather symphonic style. We like it very much and we have been playing it for a long time.” But like many “big pieces”, Kluson says every performance is a little different. “There are so many details that it does vary from performance to performance.”
The second Czech composer on the program is Josef Suk, a pupil of Dvorak, and an accomplished violinist. “Apparently he didn’t need to practice very much”, Kluson exclaims. “His string quartet is so rich in melodies, it is very easy for the audience, but very difficult for the players. He was a very important composer during his time and I’m sure that people will enjoy it. It’s late romantic music and you can feel the influences of Dvorak.”
Forty years at the same job was only a dream when we founded the quartet, “of course because we loved chamber music and we wanted to become as famous as the Smetana quartet.” In their forty-year history, the Prazaks have only had two personnel changes, both due to health issues, the first twenty-six years ago and the second three years ago. “Our first violinist suffered from dystonia which is a terrible illness for a musician. But we were very lucky to get our friend Pavel Hula, who was playing first violin in a different quartet, so he knows the repertoire, as we studied with the same professor.”
Although Kluson admits that all of the traveling can be trying, he says they have learned have how to keep themselves going. “We know how to take time to relax, and unlike many of our quartet colleagues around the world, we don’t teach that much.”
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Published on ClevelandClassical.com October 23, 2012
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