Now in its 36th year as a classical ensemble, the acclaimed Alexander String Quartet returns to Sonoma May 14 in a command performance of sorts — the concert marks the group’s ninth appearance in Sonoma since 2004 for the Sonoma Classical Music Society.
The 3 p.m. program at Vintage House will feature quartets by Mozart, Dmitri Shostakovich, and William Walton.
The versatile group will span the Classical and Contemporary periods, nearly 200 years of musical composition, with: Mozart’s String Quartet No. 22 in B-flat Major, K. 589 (1790), one of his three “King of Prussia” quartets; Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet in F-sharp minor, Op. 108, composed in 1960 and dedicated to the memory of his first wife, Nina; and the British composer William Walton’s String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, completed in 1947.
ASQ is comprised of Zakarias Grafilo, violin; Frederick Lifsitz, violin; Paul Yarbrough, viola; and Sandy Wilson, cello. The members, one critic noted, “seemed not so much to be playing the music as breathing it.”
One of the world’s premier ensembles, it’s widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, Shostakovich, and Bartok.It has recorded the Beethoven quartet cycle twice, the Shostakovich quartet cycle, the Bartok cycle, and the Mozart quartets dedicated to Haydn, among other works, for Arte-Nova and Foghorn Classics.
The Quartet has had a 30-year association with New York City’s Baruch College as Ensemble in Residence and has received its Presidential Medal.
At home in San Francisco, the members of the Quartet are a major artistic presence, serving since 1989 as Ensemble in Residence for San Francisco Performances and as directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Centre in the College of Creative Arts, San Francisco State University.
Tickets to the 3 p.m. concert are $10-$35, and available at Readers’ Books, Pharmaca and at the door. Vintage House is located at 264 First St. E. Find out more at 939.3683 or Sonomaclassical.org.