Chamber Music Series Features String Quartets

SOCORRO, N.M. November 10, 2014 – Willy Sucre and Friends will present the second concert in the New Mexico Tech Presidential Chamber Music Series when they take the stage at Macey Center at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, in a Performing Arts Series event.


Willy Sucre and Friends will perform a free concert on Monday, Nov. 17, at Macey Center.



Krzysztof Zimowski will join Willy Sucre for the November concert, which is the second in this year's series of chamber music concerts.


Joining violist Sucre will be his “friends” – Krzysztof Zimowski and Carol Swift-Matton on violin and cellist James Holland – performing “Five Pieces for String Quartet” by Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff and “String Quartet No. 1, Op. 51 in C minor” by Johannes Brahms.

Admission is free to all, courtesy of New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López.

“President López has been a generous supporter of the arts for the entire time I’ve been here, and that’s over 20 years,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish.

“And Willy has been with Tech even longer than that!” Kalish added. Indeed, the affable “front man,” if you will, for Willy and Friends dates his presence on campus as a member of The Helios Quintet, the University’s ensemble-in-residence from 1987 to 1997.

Chamber music aficionados will discover in the evening’s program aspects of whimsical parody and orchestral sophistication in the selected compositions.

For example, each of the five movements of Schulhoff’s (1894 – 1942) composition evokes a different style of dance music: I. Viennese Waltz, II. Serenate, III. Czech folk music, IV. Tango and V. Tarantella, which gave it a fanciful air.

The “Five Pieces for String Quartet” – or “Fünf Stücke für Streichquartett” – premiered in 1924 at the International Society for New Music Festival in Salzburg.

Schulhoff, both a composer and pianist, was among a generation of European musicians whose successful careers ended abruptly by the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany.

It was Antonín Dvořák who encouraged Schulhoff’s early musical studies, which began at the Prague Conservatory when he was 10; later, he studied in Vienna, Leipzig and Cologne, where his teachers included Claude Debussy, Max Reger, Fritz Steinbach, and Willi Thern.

His life included military service with the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, during which he was wounded. Schulhoff lived in Germany after the war until returning to Prague in 1923.

Brahms’s (1833 – 1897) “String Quartets Nos. 1 in C minor and 2 in A minor” were completed in Tutzing, Bavaria, during the summer of 1873, and published together that autumn as “Opus 51,” when the composer was 40 years old.

It will be performed in four movements: I. Allegro, II. Romanze - Poco Adagio, III. Allegretto Molto Moderato e Comodo and IV. Allegro.

Brahms took the concept of the string quartet quite seriously, and reportedly destroyed some 20 string quartets before finally agreeing to publish the Opus 51 pieces. It is believed that both quartets were completed by 1869, but the composer waited another four years to publish them.

During Brahms’s lifetime, the string quartet, like the symphony, was dominated by his fellow kinsman, Ludwig van Beethoven, whose most characteristic works were written in the key of C minor.

As for the evening’s musicians:

Zimowski is currently concertmaster of the New Mexico Philharmonic and the Opera Southwest Orchestra. For more than a decade, he was the concertmaster and featured soloist of the former New Mexico Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Wroclaw, Poland, he began his musical studies at the age of six. He has a master’s degree from the Academy of Music in Wroclaw and continued his studies in London. His position as concertmaster of the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra brought him to the U.S. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son.

Ms. Swift-Matton is a native of Toledo, Ohio. She holds degrees in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music and Ohio University, and currently is assistant principal second violin of the New Mexico Philharmonic.

She is also a member of the Santa Fe Symphony and often performs at Chatter Sunday in Albuquerque. Previously she served as principal second violin of the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque and held the same title in the Chamber Orchestra of Oklahoma City.

Holland is a native of Pensacola, Florida with degrees in cello performance from the University of Alabama and the Eastman School of Music. In 1996, Holland was appointed principal cellist of the Charleston (South Carolina) Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until relocating to Albuquerque in 2007 with his wife, violinist  Megan Julyan Holland.

The cellist performs frequently with most of New Mexico’s musical organizations, including Albuquerque Chamber Soloists, Chatter, the Figueroa Project, the Placitas Artists Series, Santa Fe Symphony, and Santa Fe Pro Musica. He also maintains a private teaching studio. What little time he has left is spent chasing his two daughters, Olivia, aged four, and Emily, aged two.

Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Philharmonic and is the driving force behind the “Willy Sucre and Friends” concerts. He began his studies in his native Bolivia before continuing them in the U.S.

He has held positions with a number of orchestras from New Mexico to Canada. As a chamber musician, Sucre was the founder of the Cuarteto Boliviano, guest violist with various chamber music ensembles, and for 10 years the violist of the Helios String Quartet. He enjoys performing with ensembles of diverse instrumentation.

Series director Kalish, meanwhile, is hoping the gratis performances attract newcomers interested in learning about chamber music, as well as local supporters who never miss a PAS event.

“And please stay and greet the musicians following the performance,” she said. “I know they enjoy meeting their audience and hearing their comments.”

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech