Join the Clyfford Still Museum and Friends of Chamber Music for a Sunday afternoon with the Ivalas Quartet. This virtual program, recorded live at the Clyfford Still Museum, will stream on the Museum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel starting at 1 p.m. The program will feature pieces by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, George Walker, and Beethoven, with a special appearance by George Walker’s son Gregory.
Founded in Ann Arbor in 2016, the Ivalas Quartet is composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Anita Dumar, violist Aimée McAnulty, and cellist Pedro Sánchez. Ivalas’ members are from both the Black and Latinx communities and the group was formed with the intent to play a part in bringing greater visibility to musicians of color. “We feel a strong responsibility to not only play with all of our hearts but to strive for the highest standard of playing in every performance, and to be living proof of the power of diversity in all art forms.”
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Music, much like art, is an expression of humanity–an ever-changing showcase of an artist’s evolution through life. We’ve selected three composers and pieces that represent early, mid, and late examples of work. They stand alone here but represent how composers progress through stages of creative growth.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) wrote his 5 Fantasiestücke for String Quartet, Op. 5, in 1895 when he was still a student at the Royal College of Music in London. He would later achieve wide renown for his large-scale orchestral and choral pieces, but these five character pieces for string quartet showcase his musical talent at a young age.
George Walker’s (1922-2018) String Quartet no. 1 was written in 1946, when his career was taking off and he was already receiving wide acclaim for his performances. This piece reflects his compositional genius, and one can hear the influence of Debussy and Ravel woven throughout the three movements. Walker, a contemporary of Clyfford Still, became the first Black composer to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1996.
Ludwig Van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) String Quartet no. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127, was completed in 1825, and is considered the first of his late quartets. At this point, Beethoven was deaf and could no longer hear his own compositions, and his late works mark a clear shift in his style. During the final period of his life, he composed less than ever before, but the works were more musically innovative and experimental than any of his previous compositions. Beethoven lived a few short years after composing this piece. (Clyfford Still was a fan of classical music and Beethoven, and owned Op. 135 string quartet, Beethoven’s last major work, in his record collection.