Chamber Music Unites Diverse Worlds

Recent research suggests music really is a universal language. The members of the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet - who will perform 4 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 11, at the University of Dayton's Sears Recital Hall - probably would agree. Each comes from a very different background and culture, but together they play music that speaks to them all.

String players Alla Aranovskaya and Boris Vayner, the founders of the St. Petersburg ensemble, were born in Russia. Among the many awards their quartet has received is First Prize at the All-Soviet Union String Quartet Competition.

Pianist Tao Lin, who was born in China, performs internationally and serves as visiting professor at Shanghai Normal University Music College.

The youngest member of the quartet is Cuban-American Thomas Mesa, who won the prestigious Sphinx Competition in 2016.

The quartet will appear at the University of Dayton as part of the Vanguard Legacy Concerts program, presented by ArtsLIVE. The Legacy concerts extend the heritage of a beloved chamber music series established in 1962 by Elana and Vincent Bolling at the Dayton Art Institute. Since 2015, Vanguard Legacy Concerts have made their home at the University, thanks to a generous endowment from the Bollings.

While their March 11 program will include works by several of the great European composers — Brahms, Beethoven and Schumann — the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet will start their concert with a work by contemporary Native American composer Juantio Becenti.

Becenti was born and raised in Aneth, Utah — population 598 — on a Navajo reservation. Initially self-taught, he began composing music at age 12 and received his first commission from Utah’s Moab Music Festival when he was 15 years old. With Divertimento No. 4 for Piano Quartet, Becenti hopes to communicate “an origin story of how music comes through a composer to be created, whether through the vast reservoir of inspiration of the universe, or the all-goodness of God.”

The appearance by the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet is the final concert this season for Vanguard Legacy Concerts, which will resume in September.

ArtsLIVE at the University of Dayton offers one final concert of the season on April 11: the Anat Cohen Tentet, which will also feature a wide range of cultural traditions in its performance.

General admission tickets are $18; $15 for seniors, military and University faculty, staff and alumni; $8 for children; and free for ages 7 and younger. Tickets are available at the Kennedy Union Box Office. Contact the Box Office at 937-229-2545 or purchase online at the ArtsLIVE website.

More information about the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet, as well as other ArtsLIVE concerts, can be found at go.udayton.edu/artslive.

- Eileen Carr, ArtsLIVE coordinator

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