Even treasured canon repertoire sounds new when played by the Grammy-nominated Danish String Quartet. The Moss Art Center presents the world premiere of a newly recorded performance by the ensemble from a rustic church in Copenhagen, on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m. The virtual event includes a live post-performance question-and-answer session with quartet members.
A musical journey through profound beauty, darkness, and triumph, the concert features a Bach fugue and chorale prelude, the lyrical Webern String Quartet (1905), and the ensemble’s own Nordic folk music. Ticketholders have access to this “HomeStage” series performance as it happens, and for seven days following the event.
Danish String Quartet members Frederik Øland (violin), Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (violin), Asbjørn Nørgaard (viola), and Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin (cello), bring a rare musical spontaneity to the stage. Exuding a palpable joy and warmth in its music-making that have made it in-demand on concert stages around the world, the quartet is known for impeccable musicianship, sophisticated artistry, exquisite clarity of ensemble, and, above all, an expressivity inextricably bound to the music.
As David Finckel, co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, describes, “…the quartet brought a love and reverence and magic and selfless dedication—it was so powerful and so intense, you stopped judging and gave yourself over.”
Since its debut in 2002, the quartet has demonstrated a special affinity for Scandinavian composers, from Carl Nielsen to Hans Abrahamsen, alongside music of Mozart and Beethoven. The ensemble’s musical interests also encompass Nordic folk music, which is the focus of its 2014 album “Wood Works.” “Last Leaf,” a follow-up album of traditional Scandinavian folk music, was one of the top classical albums of 2017, as chosen by National Public Radio (NPR), Spotify, and the New York Times, among others.
As the Washington Post describes, “Every last note, whether evoking open fields, dense forests, mighty fjords, the deep sea or the flight of birds, was played with a freshness, immediacy and love that gripped the heart and wouldn’t let go.”
The group takes an active role in reaching new audiences through special projects. In 2007 the quartet established the DSQ Festival. In 2016 it inaugurated a new music festival, Series of Four, in which the musicians both perform and invite colleagues — the Quatour Ebène and mandolin player Chris Thile, among others — to appear at the venerable Danish Radio Concert Hall.
The Danish String Quartet has received numerous citations and prizes, including first prize in the Vagn Holmboe String Quartet Competition and the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in the Netherlands, as well as the audience prize at the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition in 2005. In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, now known as the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet competition.
Tickets are $10 for general public and free for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
The Spring Fan(fare) Pass provides access to all “HomeStage” events offered between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2021, guaranteeing a minimum of eight performances. While providing added support for the center, Spring Fan(fare) pass holders also get exclusive information through regular Fan(fare) Insider emails and are the first to know about new events added to the schedule.