This is the second concert in which the UCalgary String Quartet explores the music of two composers born in Bohemia (now Czech Republic): Antonín Dvorák (1841–1904) and the Canadian composer Oskar Morawetz (1917–2007), who in 1939 narrowly escaped the Nazis and found refuge in Canada.
Featuring the UCalgary String Quartet:
Edmond Agopian, violin
Sara Far, violin
Dean O’Brien, viola
Beth Root Sandvoss, cello
Livestream production by Emil Agopian Film – Stagestream Live
The UCalgary String Quartet is the quartet in residence at the University of Calgary. The quartet has performed nationally and internationally and has been recorded by CBC Radio for regional and national broadcasts, Radio Europa, and the National Radio of Portugal. It has collaborated with many distinguished artists, such as Anton Kuerti, pianist.
Each year the quartet awards the second violin position to an outstanding violin student. This unique experiential learning program gives exceptional students the opportunity to work with faculty members in high profile, professional concerts.
The quartet’s repertoire covers a wide spectrum of music. As the resident string quartet at the University of Calgary, it has commissioned and premiered works by University of Calgary Composition faculty, graduate students and alumni. The quartet has performed for Calgary audiences the entire Beethoven, Shostakovich and Bartok string quartet cycles – a first for Calgary. Introducing University of Calgary students and the Calgary community at large to Canadian composers is also part of its mandate.
The UCalgary String Quartet was nominated for the Instrumental Group of the Year Award at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and at the Western Canadian Music Awards (2008) The nominated recording, on the American label MSR Classics, is titled Far Behind I Left My Country – Klezmer and East European Folk Music – Arranged and Composed by Edmond Agopian. “This is music of deep-seated humanity…incredibly vivacious, sorrowful, nostalgic…performed here with affectionate understanding.” FANFARE MAGAZINE (USA)
“...lively, vibrant music…a very attractive compilation disc.”– THE CALGARY HERALD
The UCalgary String Quartet has been supported by the John Lee Roberts Distinguished Professorship in Fine Arts award.
Edmond Agopian has been awarded the Calgary Arts Award, and the Alberta Centennial Medal “in recognition of outstanding achievement and service to the people and province of Alberta”. At the University of Calgary he was awarded the J. P. L. Roberts Distinguished Professorship in Fine Arts.
A graduate of the Juilliard School and the University of Toronto, Edmond Agopian began his music studies in his native Romania. In 1991, he relinquished his post at Acadia University to take up positions as Professor of Violin and Conductor at the University of Calgary, and Artist-in-Residence at Mount Royal Conservatory. He was appointed Music Director of the Calgary Youth Orchestra in 2002.
As a violinist, he has been featured on regional and national CBC, French and English radio programs, Radio Europa, and as soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He is First Violin of the University of Calgary String Quartet in Residence, whose recording on the American label MSR Classics has received enthusiastic reviews from radio broadcasters and magazines, including Fanfare Magazine (USA).
Conducting work has included performances with the Canadian Chamber Orchestra (conductor and concertmaster), the Shanghai Opera Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra, and conductor and soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. His Sundogs CD recording with the University of Calgary Orchestra, of Canadian orchestral music, was described by one critic as a "hands-down winner". Under his direction, the Calgary Youth Orchestra has toured, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and New Zealand.
For thirteen seasons he was Music Director/Concertmaster of Calgary’s professional string orchestra, the Kensington Sinfonia and for twenty summers he was on the faculty of the Morningside Music Bridge International Music Festival at Mount Royal University Conservatory, in Beijing, Shanghai, and Gdansk, Poland.
His violin method “The No Time to Practice Technique Companion” has been on the SHAR Music Company’s Bestseller List since 2002 and has been positively reviewed in the American String Teacher magazine. His students have won local, national and international awards, including the Rose Bowl – Calgary Performing Arts Festival, and are members of major orchestras, including four violinists in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sara Far is a classical musician local to the Calgary area. She began playing the violin at the age of three with Keiko Takahashi, later studying with University of Calgary professor Edmond Agopian. She has achieved success in many festivals and competitions, including a first-place finish at the Alberta Provincial Music Festival in 2017, and has been a featured soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra as a finalist in the 2019 CPO Concerto Competition. An enthusiastic ensemble musician, Sara currently performs with the UCalgary String Quartet, and has also been involved with the Mosaic String Quartet. As a long-standing member of the Calgary Youth Orchestra, Sara has toured Europe to share her music with the world.
Sara holds an ARCT Performer’s diploma with First Class Honours with Distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Sara attributes her love of ensemble playing and growth through classical music to the Amici String Program in which she participated for 9 years. Outside of music, Sara is an accomplished academic as a Master of Science student, and hopes to pursue a career in plant biotechnology.
Dean O’Brien earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor and Masters of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music. Before moving to Calgary, he served as principal viola of the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, the Victoria Bach Festival and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and has played with the Austin, San Antonio, Albany, NY and Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestras spent seven summers in Boulder as a member of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra. An active chamber musician, Dean is the violist of the UCalgary String Quartet and has performed with many leading chamber musicians including Anton Kuerti, Andrew Dawes, David Harding, Kai Gleusteen, Ian Swensen and Giles Apap. His performances have been recorded for broadcast on CBC Radio 2 and for NPR’s Performance Today. Dean currently teaches at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University Conservatory and is Principal Viola of the Red Deer Symphony, a member of the Kensington Sinfonia and Artistic Director of the Calgary Pro Musica Society.
Beth Root Sandvoss was born in Madison, Wisconsin where, in her early years as a cellist, she studied with Margaret Chris-ty. Ms. Sandvoss pursued further studies in Madison, Cleveland and San Francisco with cellists Parry Karp, Alan Harris, and Irene Sharp. She has been a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the San Jose Symphony, the Madison Symphony, the Victoria String Quartet, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Sandvoss’s performances have taken her throughout North America as well as the Far East. She has recorded for WERN Madison public radio, RTHK Radio Hong Kong, and CBC Radio. Ms. Sandvoss has a very active chamber music career in Canada. She is a founding member of the acclaimed Land’s End Cham-ber Ensemble which was featured at the Alberta Scene in Otta-wa in 2005. The two Land’s End CD’s, Four Degrees of Freedom and Rollin’ down #1, have both won the Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Classical Recording in 2005 and 2006, re-spectively. Ms. Sandvoss collaborates regularly with fine musicians around Canada and the U.S. Along with her performing career, Ms. Sandvoss is a very dedicated pedagogue. She has been asked to work with teachers on her methods and is a sought after clini-cian. Her pupils have won numerous competitions in Canada, and are regularly invited to summer festivals around the world. She is a faculty member at the Mount Royal College Conservatory as well as the University of Calgary, and spends her summers teach-ing and performing at music festivals throughout Canada and the United States. Ms. Sandvoss has the great pleasure and privilege to perform on a cello made by her husband, Luthier, Christopher Sandvoss.
Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)
String Quartet No. 13 in G major, op. 106
-Finale. Andante sostenuto — Allegro con fuoco
Oskar Morawetz (1917 – 2007)
String Quartet No. 5, 1991 “Tribute to Mozart”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 –1791)
String Quartet No. 19 in C Major K.465 “Dissonance”