Nester Gallery will host NOVA Chamber Concert
October 4, 2016
The Julie Nester Gallery, which features an array of modern visual art feature a different kind of art when the Fry Street Quartet performs there Saturday night.
The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is part of the NOVA Gallery Series presented by the NOVA Chamber Music.
This season, the Fry Street Quartet is embarking on performing a complete cycle of Bartók's six string quartets and the six string quartets that are in Haydn's opus 76.
The concert at Julie Nester Galley will feature Haydn String Quartet in E flat Major, op. 76. No. 6, Bartók String Quartet No. 5 and Haydn String Quartet in D Major, op. 76, No. 5, according to violinist Robert Waters.
"While this is already off the beaten path, we are doing something that you will almost never hear in a typical chamber-music program, by starting and ending the performances with Haydn and performing the middle piece, the big one, by Bartók," Waters said. "We're excited to see what this will be like — to have a Bartók sandwich."
While pairing Haydn with Bartók, whose lives were separated by more than 100 years, may seem a little jarring at first glance, Waters said the two composers share some important ties.
"First of all any composer who is invested in composing for string quartet owes everything they do to Haydn," Waters explained. "The string quartet didn't exist until Haydn essentially created the genre out of thin air. And he did so with a great sense of reverence, I might even say, for structure and how classical music repeats itself and came to be what we appreciate."
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While it was Haydn who developed the notion of how a 20- or 30-minute piece hangs together on a classical structure, Bartók was also someone who saw the importance of structure, and owes a lot to Haydn, according to Waters.
"Bartók essentially took those elements that Haydn emphasized and, while he still uses them, rearranged them for his own purposes," Waters said. "Bartók, like Haydn, created a new language and blew the lid off of what people thought was possible for four instruments."
Hailed as "a triumph of ensemble playing" by the New York Times, the Fry Street Quartet was the natural group to perform the Haydn and Bartók cycles.
The quartet has been the resident artist for the NOVA Chamber Music Series for nine seasons, according Artistic Director Jason Hardink.
"The artistic director before me, Corbin Johnston, worked really hard to develop this relationship with the Fry Street Quartet, because you can't put together a project like this with musicians who just get together whenever they can," Hardink said. "To have access with this group who just happens to teach at Utah State University and wants to have a Salt Lake City and Park City presence is beneficial for us all."
The last time a NOVA Chamber concert was performed at the gallery was during the 2014-15 season.
"The venue is spectacular and the owners, Julie and Doug, are great," Hardink said. "The big room you first walk into is perfect. It's not too big and the acoustics are wonderful, especially for a string quartet."
NOVA, which will turn 40 next year, added the Gallery Series to its season three years ago.
"Traditionally we perform at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah and while it's a nice hall for chamber music, it's on the big side, and not a terribly intimate venue," Hardink said. "Chamber music should be an intimate experience. It was originally played in people's living rooms. So, we wanted to make sure that at least part of our concert season addressed that original quality."
A NOVA board member lives in Park City and Hardink asked him for advice about a finding a venue.
"I wanted some place that wasn't a standard performing venue up there, but would still work well for the musicians and the audiences," Hardink said.
The Julie Nester Galley fit well with the concept because of the modern art.
"The nice thing about the Julie Nester Gallery is that there is modern art on the walls around you and the NOVA juxtaposes classical music and modern music to the extremes," Hardink said. "So, the great thing I think is that the Nester Gallery changes people's frame of minds to the point where they may see things on the walls that relate to what they're hearing."
"There is something very special about bringing people together to hear music in the context of having great visual art in the room," he said. "Art galleries are generally smaller than concert halls, so the experience is more intimate, so what sometimes feels like an invisible wall between the audience and the stage gets broken down in a lovely way."
Julie Nester Gallery, 1280 Iron Horse Dr., will host a live concert by Utah's Fry Street Quartet, on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. The concert is part of the NOVA Chamber Music Gallery Series. Tickets are $25 and seating is limited. For more information and tickets, visit http://www.novaslc.org/products/2016-17-nova-gallery-series-1.