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Parker Quartet

  • String Quartet


Parker Quartet press reviews
Parker String Quartet at Library of Congress
The Washington Post — December 21, 2009

Beethoven’s late quartets are still, after nearly 200 years, among the best barometers for assessing a string quartet’s interpretive profile. These complex, emotionally restive works from the end of the composer’s life open themselves to a wide variety of responses. They prove alternately nostalgic and daringly forward-looking in terms of style.

Selby and Friends
Sydney Morning Herald — September 4, 2008

For those worried that the glorious heritage of European chamber music might have been starting to resemble the crumbling palaces of a bygone empire, the quality and number of new, young string quartets suggest it is premature to grieve (as Wordsworth put it) that even the shade of that which once was great has passed away. …

Kurtag for Kids? Young listeners are ready for a challenge, says this quartet
Boston Globe — April 13, 2008

Because the Parker Quartet routinely plays for children, its members have learned a couple of important things. First, little kids never get the memo that says that classical music is for adults only. Second, they have wonderfully open ears and can respond to a vast range of music without prejudice.

Classical Works in a Bar’s Back Room
New York Times — September 18, 2007

It seemed simple enough to the naked eye: the Parker String Quartet was spending Sunday evening giving high-energy performances of Bartok and Ligeti works in the back room at Barbès, a bar in Park Slope, and a few dozen drink-nursing listeners — as many as the room could hold — packed in to hear them.

A Holiday for Strings
Time Out New York — January 4, 2007

A string quartet walks into a bar… It might sound like the setup for a bad joke, but it’s a reality for a pair of young quartets taking the stage in New York this month … the Parker String Quartet—whose members are graduate students at Boston’s New England Conservatory—recently rented a van and toured nightclubs up and down the East Coast.

Change of Venue is Music to their Ears
Boston Globe — December 7, 2006

On Tuesday night, I attended two richly satisfying concerts without stepping foot in a concert hall. The first was a new music program presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at the Moonshine Room of the popular Club Cafe in the South End; the second was a performance by the up-and-coming Parker String Quartet in the Lizard Lounge, a low-slung basement club space in Cambridge.

High Drama via Beethoven and Bartok
New York Times — November 17, 2005

Superb string quartets are plentiful at the moment. But even so, the performance that the Parker String Quartet gave on Tuesday evening at Weill Recital Hall set the group apart as something extraordinary.

A Splash of Color at the Phillips
Washington Post — January 25, 2005

It is early in their career and the info on the members of the Parker Quartet has more to say about who they’ve studied with (the Cleveland Quartet, the Emerson, the Tokyo and the Takacs) than about where they have played. But if their performance at the Phillips Collection on Sunday is anything to go by, this is a quartet that deserves close attention.

The Strad — April 2007

Earlier that day, the Parker Quartet played Haydn, Webern and Ravel with immensely pleasurable tonal and stylistic sophistication. Haydn’s ‘Rider’ opened the ensembles matinee program at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater (29 January). It and Webern’s Five Movements op.5 were fully realised on the player’s own terms, and it was fascinating to hear the connections between those two Austrian masterpieces. Ravel’s Quartet in F major, although as immaculately played as the other works, did not possess the full measure of Gallic style and sound; however, the group’s conception was so clearly in the right direction that attainment must be merely a matter of time.

The Strad — February 2006

The Parker Quartet gave the New York premiere of Kurtág’s Moments musicaux at its own New York debut in Weill Recital Hall (15 November). And although they had only had the parts for six months, these young musicians gave a finely nuanced and deeply felt performance. The Parker’s Beethoven (op.59 no.2) was well characterized, too, and exciting from start to finish. The quartet has a tendency to rush in fast passages, and its playing can be more expressive in forte than in piano, but I’m guessing these issues will sort themselves out. I had no reservations whatsoever about its Bartók Fifth Quartet, which was ferocious yet controlled. The Parker never used force; the players always let the music speak—thrillingly—for itself.