Composer: Lembit Beecher, Small Infinities for String Quartet (written for DSQ)
Composer: Franz Schubert, String Quartet in D Minor, D.810, Death and the Maiden
One of the all-time favorites of the string quartet repertoire, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, is paired with the premiere of a newly commissioned work by rising composer Lembit Beecher. Beecher has fiercely taken on the challenges of writing a companion piece to this masterwork for the historical instruments played by Diderot String Quartet. In his own words: “I was particularly drawn to the obsessive nature of Schubert’s music, and the way in which he transforms this into something both intimate and transcendent. My piece is inspired by the small and mundane; the way in which a fleeting sense of the infinite can arise unexpectedly out of everyday moments of obsession and repetition.”
Diderot String Quartet – named after the eighteenth-century French philosopher and Boccherini enthusiast Denis Diderot – came together in 2012. On historical instruments, Diderot offers a fresh voice in both familiar and lesser-known works of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Diderot is in residence at both Manhattan’s Trinity Lutheran Church and at Washington, DC’s National Cathedral. Recent and upcoming engagements include Kerrytown Concert House, Cambridge Society of Early Music, Aldeburgh, and full seasons of East Coast appearances on series in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Hampshire and Vermont. DSQ players can be heard in performance with Chicago Lyric Opera, Apollo’s Fire, Handel and Haydn Society, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, and the Boston Early Music Festival.
Lembit Beecher has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for his “hauntingly lovely and deeply personal” music, and by the New York Times for his “alluring, emotive” work, Beecher strives to create intimate, heartfelt, quirky and dramatically potent musical experiences. Born to Estonian and American parents, he grew up in Santa Cruz, California. Since then he has lived in Boston, Houston, Ann Arbor, Berlin, New York and Philadelphia, earning degrees from Harvard, Rice and the University of Michigan. This varied background has made him particularly sensitive to place, ecology, memory, and the multitude of ways in which people tell stories. In 2011 Lembit was appointed to a three-year term as the inaugural composer-in residence of Opera Philadelphia in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre Group. Many of Lembit’s projects involve the incorporation of nontraditional elements into operatic form, working with baroque instruments, animation, electronics, new technologies, and devised theatre actors. Recent awards include a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the S&R Foundation Washington Award Grand Prize, a residency at the Penn Museum sponsored by the American Composers Forum, and a grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to develop a new chamber opera with librettist Hannah Moscovitch, featuring soprano Kiera Duffy, the Aizuri Quartet, and a large music-generating sculpture.