PSQ Members

The Portland String Quartet - 49th Season

The programs of the 2017-2018 season reflect the cultural styles of France and pay tribute to the memory of composers and teachers in Maine. The diversity of style and instrumentation mark each of the Concert Series Seasons and this year will add both beloved masterpieces and special contributions of New England to enrich the mix.

The opening concert Sunday, October 1, 2017 is entitled A Tribute to France. The first of three pieces will be Franz Joseph Haydn's Quartet in G Major, Op 54 No. 1 written as one of the pieces dedicated to Johann Tost, a violinist at Esterhaza where Haydn was living as Kapellmeister to the Esterhazy family. The two French compositions complete the program; Quartet in G Minor Op. 10 by Claude Debussy, focusing on color and light as the impressionist visual art of the time and Quartet in D Major by Cesar Franck, his music marked by soaring melodic flights, both exemplify the feeling and musical flavor of France.

Sunday November 12, 2017 VentiCordi Chamber Music returns blending wind and string instruments. Always changing their selection of instruments VentiCordi Chamber Music has won the Down East Magazines' Readers' Choice award for best performing group in the state of Maine, 2017! That is two years in a row. Artistic Directors Kathleen McNerney, oboist and the PSQ's own Dean Stein, violinist, joined by other talented musicians, offer you a rich and unique experience.

The Second PSQ concert, December 3, 2017 is a Tribute to Two Distinguished Maine Composers. This concert highlights the musical endeavors of two beloved composers and teachers in Maine. Peter Ré, pianist and conductor at Colby College, who died in 2016, wrote the Quartet No. 3 for the Portland String Quartet in 1987 which will be performed at this concert. With an enduring relationship between Paul Hindemith and Peter Ré the PSQ will also perform Hindemith's String Quartet No. 7 in E Flat Major. Elliot Schwartz, a Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music at Bowdoin College known for his music that reflected the "unpredictability of normal experience" wrote his last composition in memory of his wife graphic artist Dorothy Feldman Schwartz. The PSQ will perform String Quartet No. 3 Portrait (for Deedee) at this concert. The last piece of the concert will be Quartet in F Minor, "Serioso" Op. 95 by Ludwig van Beethove. This quartet is the last of his middle period and referred to as the 'Serioso' from the title of the third movement as a tempo designation. The shortest and most compact it seems to have been written for 'connoisseurs' with its experiments with composition and freedom with tonality.

Sunday, February 18, 2018 - just after Valentines Day - this concert, with PSQ violinist Ronald Lantz and pianist Lara Kargul, will treat us to major romantic literature for violin and piano. LARK welcomes their return to the Concert Series. Their passionate playing combined with lively and insightful commentary makes for a rare and exciting afternoon of chamber music. This concert will be co-presented by the LARK Society for Chamber Music and the University of Southern Maine School of Music.

The third and final PSQ Concert Sunday April 22, 2018 includes favorites by Mozart, Piston and Brahms. LARK will welcome a flute soloist to perform the Flute Quartet in D Major, K 285 of W.A Mozart, written for the Dutch Flutist Ferdinand de Jean in 1777, and the Quintet for Flute and String Quartet by Walter Piston, which exemplifies his sophisticated and witty style capturing the cultural and philosophic trappings of his native New England. The last performance of the season will be the String Quartet in B flat Major, Op. 67 by Johannes Brahms. This piece although dedicated to Theodor Wilhelm Engelman, a cellist, contains melody in the third movement mainly played by the viola. He had hoped to support the viola's somewhat lagging popularity.