SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — It’s not every day that Christopher Durrenberger, concert pianist and associate professor of music at Wittenberg University, has the opportunity to perform with artists from one of the finest string quartets in the world. So when he learned that the Cypress String Quartet would be in Central Ohio this fall, Durrenberger went to work.
His efforts are Wittenberg’s gain as Durrenberger successfully organized a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in Wittenberg’s Krieg Hall. Durrenberger will perform the Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor Opus 25 with three members of the quartet in an event that is free and open to the public.
In addition, the Cypress String Quartet will play pieces by Mozart and Shostakovich during the evening’s performance.
“I’m extremely excited for our first collaboration together,” said Durrenberger, who has performed throughout the world in such diverse locales as the Taipei National Concert Hall and the Cairo Opera House. “This is a first class ensemble.”
The Cypress String Quartet has performed around the world, including concerts at the Kennedy Center, Chautauqua Institution, the Ravinia Festival, the Lied Centers of Kansas and Nebraska, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, M.I.T. and Stanford Lively Arts. Quartet members Cecily Ward and Tom Stone, violins, Ethan Filner, viola, and Jennifer Kloetzel, cello, have been featured in Chamber Music Magazine as a “Generation X ensemble to watch.”
Formed in 1996 and based in San Francisco, Calif., the Cypress String Quartet has commissioned more than 25 works, four of which appear on Chamber Music America’s list of “101 Great American Ensemble Works.” Some highlights of the current Cypress String Quartet season include performances with Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, University of Florida Performing Arts, Columbus, Honolulu and San Jose Chamber Music Societies, and statewide tours with the Lied Centers of Kansas and Nebraska.
A few hours before the Wittenberg concert, the Cypress String Quartet and Durrenberger will give a performance for students at nearby Snowhill Elementary School. Kincaids Is Music has donated the use of a grand piano for the performance.
“It is critical that live classical music outreach continues today,” Durrenberger said. “There is a weath of great music that students might not be exposed to otherwise.”
Music education is nothing new for members of the Cypress String Quartet, the Quartet-in-Residence at San José State University. Named an “Exemplary Arts Educator” by the California Arts Council, the quartet has impacted an estimated 100,000 students through educational activities, including Native Americans in rural New Mexico, students of all ages in the San Francisco Bay area and inner-city students in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Durrenberger has been teaching music classes at Wittenberg since 1999, and he has also served as music reviewer and judge for the Chamber Music Yellow Springs concert series and competition the last three years. He met the members of the Cypress String Quartet at their concert apperance there two years ago.
Durrenberger has earned top prizes in such major national and international competitions as the Coleman and Carmel Chamber Music Competitions, the Los Angeles Etude Musical Club Piano Competition, the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Piano Competition and the National Music Teachers Association National Piano Competition.
Durrenberger, who earned a bachelor of music from Oberlin College and a master’s and doctorate of musical arts with honors from the University of Southern California School of Music, traveled to the Far East in 2004 as he presented a series of master classes at major universities and conservatories in Tapei, Shanghai, Shenyang and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. A year ago, Durrenberger made his solo debut with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra at Veteran’s Park Ampitheater, where he performed composer George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
- Written By: Ryan Maurer