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Scandinavian string players to perform classical and folk in Schwab concert

by on March 01, 2018 10:37 AM

Three of them met at a summer music camp in the Danish countryside when they were children in the 1990s. The youngest students in attendance, they soon became friends and continued to get together to play music in the years to come.

Two decades later, these Scandinavian string players – three Danes and a Norwegian who joined the mix in 2008 – constitute “one of the best quartets before the public today” (Washington Post).

In its Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State premiere, the Danish String Quartet – violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violist Asbjørn Nørgaard, and cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin – will perform an atypical mingling of classical and traditional music.

The April 6 concert at Schwab Auditorium will include Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No. 1; Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7, Op. 59, No. 1; and Nordic folk tunes featured on the ensemble’s albums Wood Works (2014) and Last Leaf (2017).

“In the talented hands of the Danish String Quartet these ‘Wood Works’ — traditional Nordic folksongs and dances – are buffed and polished to a glossy concert-hall sheen,” writes a Gramophone reviewer.

Winner of the London (now Wigmore Hall) International String Quartet Competition in 2009, the ensemble has earned a reputation for its integrated sound, impeccable intonation, judicious balance, and “rampaging energy” (The New Yorker).

“The adventurous young members of the Danish String Quartet play almost everything excitingly,” writes a reviewer for The New York Times.

The quartet’s ECM Records debut, Adès/Nørgård/Abrahamsen (2016), snagged a five-star rating from a critic for The Guardian, who praises the album as “an exacting program requiring grace, grit, and clarity.”

In 2016, the ensemble received the Borletti Buitoini Trust, which since 2003 has supported outstanding young artists in their international endeavors.

By the close of the 2017-18 season, the musicians will have performed at venues in 17 American states. First-time appearances were scheduled at venues including Interlochen Center for the Arts, Ravinia Festival, Cleveland Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Oregon Bach Festival, and San Francisco Performances.

“Do not lose track of this group,” writes a Boston Globe critic. “Even by today’s high standards, it offers something very special.”

The John L. Brown Jr. and Marlynn Steele Sidehamer Endowment provides support for the concert. WPSU is the media sponsor. Visit for tickets and information.

John Mark Rafacz is the editorial manager of the Center for the Performing Arts.





John Mark Rafacz is the editorial manager of the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State.
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