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Dover Quartet, “The Young String Quartet of the Moment,” Returns To San Miguel

By Fredric Dannen

Camden Shaw, the cellist for the Dover Quartet, had just arrived at an airport in Arkansas, en route from London, when he called my home phone to talk with me about the quartet’s upcoming appearance at the Festival de Música de Cámara here in San Miguel de Allende. He had perhaps a half hour to talk with me before he would be whisked away to the Dover’s next engagement.

One of classical music’s most-coveted ensembles—“the young string quartet of the moment,” in the words of The New Yorker—the Dover Quartet was fresh from performing at London’s Wigmore Hall with piano legend Emanuel Ax. Ever since sweeping the 2013 Banff Competition, winning every prize in every category, the Dover players have been international stars, with more offers to perform than the four young musicians can fulfill.

On August 9 and 10, the Dover Quartet will make its second appearance in two years at the prestigious San Miguel chamber music festival, which has just turned the corner of four decades in existence.

Like the proverbial band that’s packing heat, the Dover is being courted by every chamber festival and concert venue on the planet. Comparisons to the Guarneri String Quartet, the paradigm of the great American string ensemble, are plentiful. Says the Chicago Tribune: “The Dover Quartet players have it in them to become the next Guarneri. They’re that good.”

So how did we get them here? Shaw did not have to stop to think when I asked him why the San Miguel festival so appeals to the quartet. First, there is the city itself, he said. Then there’s the performance space, the Teatro Ángela Peralta, a warm and inviting neoclassical opera house with a facade of rose-colored sandstone, in the heart of downtown.

Most particularly, Shaw likes the festival’s atypical format, established over time since it was founded in 1979. Many other chamber festivals dictate programs to the performers, but the Festival de Música de Cámara invites ensembles to come with repertoire of their choosing.

“The San Miguel format is wonderful,” Shaw says. “It’s like a mini-residency.”

The Dover Quartet has chosen works that will showcase the ensemble’s rare combination of mature musicianship and youthful virtuosity. On Friday, August 9, the Dover will perform Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz in E-flat, an early tonal work from a composer later known for eschewing tonality, Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 2 in G; and Antonín Dvorák’s String Quartet No. 14 in A-flat. The offerings for Saturday, August 10, are Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet No. 1 in D; Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat.

Both concerts are at 7pm.

Reserved-seat tickets for all performances range from 725 pesos to a bargain price of just 150 pesos. Purchase them at Boleto City, in the Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, open every day but Sunday, 11am–5pm. Or buy them online at boletocity.com. On concert days only, you can purchase them at the Ángela Peralta theater box office.

 

Concert

Dover Quartet

Fri and Sat, Aug 9 and 10, 7pm

Teatro Ángela Peralta

Mesones 82

Tickets:

725, 550, 300, and 150 pesos

On sale at Boleto City

Ancha de San Antonio 123

Online tickets at boletocity.com

Tickets sold at Peralta box office on concert days only

Dover_Quartet

 

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