String Quartets Open Chamber Music Series

SOCORRO, N.M. September 22, 2015 – String quartets by Beethoven and Bartókwill open the 2015-16 Presidential Chamber Music Series at New Mexico Tech at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, at the Macey Center Auditorium.

The concert, the first of four in the series offered through Tech’s Performing Arts Series (PAS), is sponsored by the University’s president, Dr. Daniel H. López. Admission is free to all; families are welcome.



Willy Sucre returns to Socorro for another season of free chamber music concerts.



Kristof Zimowskis is familar to fans of the Presidential Chamber Music Series in Socorro.



Violinist Julanie Lee has performed with the New Mexico Philharmonic for more than 20 years.



Cellist Joan Zucker joins Willy and Friends for the season-opening performance.



Hosted by well-known violist Willy Sucre as part of “Willy and Friends” chamber music programs, Sucre will be joined by Krzysztof Zimowski and Julanie Lee on violins, and Joan Zucker on cello.


They will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No.11, Op.95, “Serioso,” and Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No. 1 in A minor.

“President López has generously supported the chamber music series since its inception as a way of making it available to everyone by offering free admission,” said longtime PAS Director Ronna Kalish.


“This season marks the final series under Dr. López’s tenure as Tech president, as he will be retiring next year,” Kalish continued. “Ideally, we would like to recognize his longtime support by showing ours, with an enthusiastic turnout.”


Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, the final before his late string quartets, is commonly referred to as the “Serioso,” stemming from his title “Quartett[o] Serioso” at the beginning, and the tempo for the third movement.


The Quartet is in four movements: 1. Allegro con brio common time, 2. Allegretto ma non troppo 2/4 D major attacca subito; 3. Allegro assai vivace ma serioso, Più allegro 3/4 F minor - D major - F minor - D major - C minor - F minor; and 4. Larghetto espressivo; Allegretto agitato; Allegro 2/4 F minor - 6/8 - cut time.


It is one of the shortest and most succinct of all the Beethoven quartets, and shares a tonality (F) with the first and last quartets Beethoven published (Op. 18, no. 1, and Op. 135).


The composition premiered in 1814, and did not appear in print until two years later. In a letter, Beethoven once stated that he wrote the Quartet opus 95 for a small coterie of connoisseurs, and it was never to be performed publicly.


Some critics surmise that the Quartet reflects compositional techniques that Beethoven experimented with, and which he would use later in his life; i.e., shorter developments, new usage of silence and metric ambiguity.


Bartók premiered The String Quartet No. 1 in A minor nearly a century after the Beethoven composition. It premiered on March 19, 1910 in Budapest by the Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet, two days after Bartók played the piano with them in a concert dedicated to the music of Zoltán Kodály. It was first published in 1911 in Hungary, and is one of six string quartets by the Hungarian composer and pianist.


The work is in three movements, played without breaks between each: 1. Lento, 2. Allegretto and 3. Allegro vivace.


The composer in a letter described the first movement as a funeral dirge; the other two movements are progressively faster, with the third movement said to be the most typical of Bartók’s mature style, including early evidence of his interest in Hungarian folk music.


“Once again, Willy and Friends will perform two special compositions for string quartets in their own inimitable style,” Kalish said. “The four musicians have played together before; and, among them, are widely recognized for their shared and individual talents.”


Longtime PAS supporters will recall that Sucre and Zimowski were members of The Helios Quintet, the University’s ensemble-in-residence from 1987 to 1997.


Zimowski began his musical studies at age six, participating in various music camps and schools organized by La Federation International des Jeunesses Musicales. In 1976, Zimowski began performing with the L’Orchestre Mondial Des Jeunesses Musicales (The World Youth Orchestra) in Brussels and in Paris.


In 1977, in his birthplace (Warsaw, Poland) in the only National Competition of Music of Karol Szymanowski, he won third prize. Currently he is Concertmaster of the New Mexico Philharmonic and was appointed a Concertmaster of the Opera Southwest Orchestra. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son.


Violinist Lee began playing at the age of five in Lexington, Kentucky. She received a B.A. in Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is a registered teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.



Lee moved to Albuquerque in 1989 to join the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (now New Mexico Philharmonic) and the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque. She is a founding member of the New Life Symphony Orchestra Southwest. She and her husband have three children.


Cellist Zucker, long-time principal cellist for the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (New Mexico Philharmonic), is a native New Yorker who holds music degrees from Bennington and Ithaca Colleges. She was first heard by New Mexicans in the mid-seventies, as jazz cellist with the Johnny Gilbert Quartet and Principal Cellist of the Orchestra of Santa Fe.


Since then she has performed in many of New Mexico’s ensembles from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Opera, to Willy Sucre and Friends and the Santa Fe Chorale. Lee has taught extensively (cello, recorder, voice, orchestra, chamber music, theory, composition and improvisation), both privately and at various institutions including UNM.


Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Philharmonic and is the driving force behind the Willy Sucre and Friends concerts. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre has studied at institutions in La Paz, Maine, New York, and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.


He has been conductor and music director of several ensembles, and served as principal violist and guest conductor of the National Symphony of Bolivia, the Chamber Orchestra of La Paz, and the Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra. Sucre spends most of his summers in South America looking for new works of chamber music by modern composers and encouraging composers to write new pieces, especially piano quartets.


“We encourage all PAS members, and everyone up and down the Rio Grande valley, to attend the Monday concert,” Kalish said. “And please stay and greet the musicians following the performance. I know they enjoy meeting their audience and hearing their comments.”

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech