The Kennedy Center

Celebrate Chamber Music

Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: 2-4-6-8! A Chamber Music Celebration by the Numbers

Thursday, October 12, 2017 7:30 PM

Fortas Chamber Music Concerts Terrace Theater Re-Opening

Some of today's brightest artists, including the Emerson String Quartet and Dover Quartet, perform a duet (2!), a quartet (4!), a sextet (6!), and an octet (8!) in a thrilling program curated and played in part by our own Fortas artistic director Joseph Kalichstein. 

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Today's brightest artists perform a duet (2!), a quartet (4!), a sextet (6!), and an octet (8!), truly showcasing a breathtaking range of chamber music configurations. In a thrilling program curated and played in part by our own artistic director Joseph Kalichstein, a.k.a. "Yossi," we proudly welcome two of today's most notable foursomes who respectively represent the esteemed tradition and bright future of chamber music: the Emerson String Quartet's long career has been distinguished by nine Grammy Awards, three Gramophone Awards, and the Avery Fisher Prize, while the Dover Quartet is one of the hottest young ensembles on the scene today, sweeping the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition after forming when its members were just 19 years old. They are joined by National Symphony Orchestra pianist Lisa Emenheiser, in her Fortas debut and hailed for her "intense music-making and pianism" (The Washington Post), and trumpeters Brandon Eubank and Amy McCabe.

Part of the Terrace Theater re-opening celebration

Notes from Joseph "Yossi" Kalichstein, Artistic Director of Fortas
Claude Debussy, just before his passing in early 1918, embarked upon an epic chamber music project. He was planning a six-sonata magnum opus, with two duos, a trio, and three others, with ever-expanding, diverse groups of instruments. Sadly, he was able to finish only three of them. Among the sonatas that were meticulously planned but never written was one for 13 different instruments--a large, almost multimedia group, but still chamber music!
I thought of Debussy and his fascinating project when it came time to plan a program to celebrate the rebirth of our jewel of a chamber hall, the Terrace Theater. Dvorák's duo is for one piano but four hands, a medium that for years was home-and-family-centered, almost exclusively for private enjoyment. The Brahms quartet in G minor for piano and strings is larger-than-life, exuberant, and symphonic, in complete contrast to the (incorrect) stereotype of chamber music existing in some rarified sphere of contemplative intimacy. The sextet is Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht, Romanticism's last masterpiece and a moving, epic, intense yet life-affirming work--a total miracle of sound. And speaking of miracles, the concert ends with an achievement almost unequalled in music: teenage Mendelssohn's creation, the octet, a perfect piece, a tonal celebration of the human spirit.