SSQ opens 2024 on Jan. 28 with Beethoven, Price and Mendelssohn

The Spokane String Quartet returns to the Bing Crosby Theater stage at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, with music by Beethoven, pioneering Black woman composer Florence Price and Felix Mendelssohn. 

Joining the SSQ for the concert is guest John Michel, cello professor at Central Washington University and founding member of the Kairos, formerly known as the Kairos String Quartet, the resident ensemble at CWU.

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In the first decade after Beethoven arrived in Vienna, he assimilated and mastered the  classical string quartet form developed by Haydn and brought to heights of perfection with  Haydn and Mozart. Opus 18 contains Beethoven’s first 6 string quartets and represents the  “Classical Phase” of his quartet writing genius. Even at this early stage, Beethoven was  exploring new directions highlighted by the sharply contrasting emotional moods and  tempos in the finale of Quartet No. 6, where slow depictions of “Melancholy” alternate with  variations of a faster joyful dance. 

Florence Price (1887-1953) stated that she had two handicaps in having her music  recognized: “those of sex and race.”She overcame those obstacles, becoming the first  Black woman composer to have her work (Symphony No. 1) performed by a major  orchestra, the Chicago Symphony in 1933. Price infused the classical tradition with  elements inspired by African American spirituals and folk music, featured in the second  movement of String Quartet No. 1. 

Felix Mendelssohn’s deeply beloved sister Fanny was also a talented composer and  pianist, and trusted critic of his compositions. Felix was devastated by her unexpected  death at age 41 by stroke, and he expressed his grief musically with String Quartet No. 6, a  Requiem for Fanny. The outer movements of agitation enclose a tender core “song without  words” in the third movement. This powerful masterpiece was his last completed major  work. His death at age 38 came six months after Fanny’s, also by stroke.

All seats are general admission. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and free for persons under 18 and students with ID. Tickets are available at the door, or click here to purchase tickets online.