Alexander String Quartet Returns to Allegheny for Residency, Performance

San Francisco’s award-winning Alexander String Quartet will return to campus for its annual residency at Allegheny College, and will perform in Ford Chapel on Friday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. Early seating is recommended, as the chapel has filled to capacity in previous years.

The Alexander String Quartet includes violinists Zakarias Grafilo and Frederick Lifsitz, violist Paul Yarbrough and cellist Sandy Wilson. Formed in New York City in 1981, ASQ became the first string quartet to win the Concert Artists Guild Competition just a year later.

In 1985, the ensemble captured international attention as the first American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition. The quartet has since performed in major music capitals on five continents, and has established itself as an important advocate of new music through over 30 commissions and numerous premiere performances.

ASQ has a major artistic presence in its homebase of San Francisco, serving there since 1989 as Ensemble in Residence for San Francisco Performances, and Directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. They have brought theirteaching experience to Allegheny for 27 years through a short annual residency on campus, during which the quartet will visit classes across the academic disciplines to discuss music through an interdisciplinary lens, as well as perform for and with students.

The quartet has held concerts at Allegheny each year as well; this is their second visit in which they have invited an Allegheny choral ensemble to join them in the performance. The first collaboration was in 2015 with the Allegheny Chamber Choir, and the quartet performed a piece with Professor Alec Chien on piano as well.

“Following that performance, the quartet members and I immediately talked about continuing this collaboration with our singers, so we’ve been looking forward to carrying it out,” said James Niblock, director of the Allegheny Choral Ensembles.

This year’s concert will showcase Benjamin Britten’s Quartet No. 1 in D Major, and Beethoven’s “Rasumovsky” Quartet in E Minor. It will also feature the Allegheny College Women’s Ensemble in Baldassare Galuppi’s “Dixit Dominus.” Written in the 18th century, the work represents a movement that greatly advanced the role of women as performers.

More information on the quartet can be found at