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The Axelrod String Quartet Saturday Concert Series

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society 2018-2019 Season

Saturday, October 27, 2018; January 26, 2019; May 4, 2019
Pre-concert lecture: 6:30 p.m.
Concert: 7:30 p.m.
Quick Tix Code: BPQ9
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Please note that this concert series is also available on Sundays.

In its 42nd season, Smithsonian Chamber Music Society audiences are privy to the unparalleled experience of being able to hear two magnificent quartets of instruments—one made by Antonio Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicolò Amati—in this popular three-concert series.

Kenneth Slowik, SCMS artistic director and recipient of the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Award, again curates a series of pre-concert talks one hour prior to each concert.

The Axelrod String Quartet: Marc Destrubé, violin; Marilyn McDonald, violin; James Dunham, viola; Kenneth Slowik, violoncello


Once again, Haydn—“father of the string quartet”—anchors the Axelrod Quartet’s programming, this time with the two quartets of his Op. 77, the last works he completed in the genre.

The October program explores Haydn’s Viennese legacy, including works by Beethoven and Schubert.

Following a long-standing January tradition, the ASQ invites a promising quartet in its early career to participate in a gala, all-Stradivarius-and-Amati reading of the Mendelssohn Octet. This year’s choice is the Omer Quartet, the prize-winning graduate quartet-in-residence at the University of Maryland. The program also includes the Second Quartet of Béla Bartók, arguably the most important 20th-century heir to the great classical quartet tradition.

The May programs present a string quartet adaptation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue). The four distinct voices of the quartet bring fresh clarity to the learned counterpoint of this masterful late work, originally conceived for keyboard, which was one of the large valedictory projects of Bach’s last decade.


Sat., Oct. 27, 2018
Joseph Haydn: Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No. 1
Ludwig van Beethoven: Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4
Franz Schubert: Quartet in D Minor, D 810, Death and the Maiden

Sat., Jan. 26, 2019 - CANCELED DUE TO SHUTDOWN
Joseph Haydn: Quartet in F Major, Op. 77, No. 2
Béla Bartók: Quartet No. 2, Op. 17
Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20
with The Omer Quartet: Mason Yu and Erica Tursi, violins; Jinsung Hong, viola; Alexander Cox, violoncello

Sat., May 4, 2019
J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080

3 concerts

Programs and artists subject to change.

Smithsonian Year of Music

National Museum of American History
Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
14th St & Constitution Ave NW