Ann Arbor Observer cover
Ann Arbor Weather:
Wednesday June 19, 2019
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
The Ivalas Quartet

The Ivalas Quartet

In living color

by arwulf arwulf

From the June, 2019 issue

Classically trained, college educated, and well on their way toward careers as professional musicians, Ann Arbor's Ivalas Quartet strongly identifies with their black and Latinx communities. Violinists Anita Dumar and Reuben Kebede, violist Aimee McAnulty, and cellist Pedro Sanchez have always been keenly aware of being outnumbered in their specialized field. Their stated goal is to bring about increased visibility for musicians of color as "living proof of the power of diversity in all art forms."

In a statement posted on their website, they describe being profoundly moved after playing for elementary and middle school children in Flint and Detroit. "To see young kids react positively to classical music performed by people who look like them on stage has cemented the validity of our mission."

On June 21, the group will perform at Kerrytown Concert House, along with other musicians, as part of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Residence. The Ivalas will open the concert with Leos Janacek's String Quartet No. 1, an impassioned opus that shares its subtitle with two other famous works of art. Janacek's "The Kreutzer Sonata" is Czech music inspired by a Russian novella, which itself was named after Beethoven's most complex and demanding composition for violin and piano. Janacek transfers the psychological torrents of Tolstoy's tragic narrative into music that is pensive, dramatic, and restless; at times, the quartet fairly boils over with unexpected modulations. "One unusual chord," wrote Janacek in 1926, "can save a composition, if it is a real bleeding knot of feeling."

Those words seem appropriate for Zoltan Kodaly's emotionally torqued Duo for Violin and Cello, which will be conjured by Kimberly Kaloyanides Kennedy of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Emerson Quartet cellist Paul Watkins. This fascinating, intimate work carries the mysterious charm of impressions from life that have been marinated in private reflection. Composed in 1914, just as the outbreak of WWI interrupted Kodaly's many years of collecting folk songs among Carpathian Mountain peasants, the Duo manifests

...continued below...

as a wordless yet potently expressive dialogue. As musicologist Harry Halbreich once wrote, "under Kodaly's pen, the cello seems to speak Hungarian."

The evening's program will culminate as the Emerson's violist, Lawrence Dutton, joins the Ivalas for Felix Mendelssohn's String Quintet No. 2. This texturally varied work opens and closes with lively, at times frenetic scrubbing on the strings, which chatter like swallows, to use one of Janacek's favorite figures of speech. Its middle movements consist of a swaying, attractively relaxed scherzo and a shadowy adagio wreathed in weltschmerz.     (end of article)


Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Photo: Northside Wall Splendor
Swaroop Bhojani Returns.
Hut-K Chaats is back as Hut-Kay Fusion.
Sabine Bickford
Louise Brooks Returns To Ann Arbor, by Thomas Gladysz
Upstairs Downstairs
Better booze at Lo Fi and Nightcap
Lee Lawrence
U-M Libraries
BP Adds Donuts, Drive-Thru
Briefly Noted: May 2019
Sabine Bickford
Asian Restaurants in Chelsea
Crime Map
A clickable, zoomable map
Farmers Market Trends
In the 1970s, Bessie Gracia spotted hanging baskets. Now she's keeping a close eye on herbs.
Micheline Maynard
Mayor Taylor makes his move.
James Leonard
One of the finest university art museums in the country, UMMA holds collections representing 150 yea
A visitor's guide to Ann Arbor