CANCELED DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER • CENTRAL4 Piano Quartet • Summer 2023 Concert Artist Interview

June 27, 2023

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It’s no secret. I’ve been a fan of Chamber Music since attending my first concert in the late 1970s as a teen at Ronna Binn’s Classical Encounters home concerts. I was smitten and have been attending whenever I could, ever since.

A few years back I had the pleasure of hearing pianist Timothy Durkovic perform there with a trio, playing one of my favorites: Joaquin Turina’s Second Piano Trio Opus 76 in A Minor. I even brought the music and followed along, vowing to eventually learn the delicious piano part. It was a masterclass of a concert to say the least! Durkovic’s playing was superb and memorable.

Fast forward to the arrival of The Athena Foundation for the Arts on the classical music scene. As news of our stellar programs with immersive imagery and lighting got out, Timothy messaged me asking if we’d consider including his CENTRAL4 Piano Quartet in our concert series. I was starstruck. Here was the very pianist whose performance I had greatly admired, asking to be in my nonprofit’s concert series. Wait. Piano quartet? I had no idea Timothy had a piano quartet! I was intrigued and had to find out more. The calibre of the members and proposed concert proved an ideal fit for Athena’s concert series and we accepted. We’re pleased to present the CENTRAL4 Piano Quartet in our 2023 Summer Concert Series on August 20!

But first, let’s break the ice and introduce our readers to these wonderful musicians and the story behind the program they’ve curated for us.

LRW: I understand from the CENTRAL4 Piano Quartet’s website that your piano quartet’s name was inspired by a trip to Guatemala where the members visited the Central Market. Can you please elaborate?

Pianist Timothy Durkovic is interviewed by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Timothy Durkovic, pianist

TD: I was invited to Guatemala to perform as part of the 200th Birthday of Chopin and needed a group of strings to come along. It was a string Quintet and piano – and we had such an amazing time, the fist violinist, violist, cellist and I thought we should put a group together that we more conventional instrumentation and work on a more permanent basis together. Thus the inception of the Piano Quartet. Coming up with the NAME, now that was the difficult part. As I was born and raised in Guatemala, part of our trip there was my showing them around some of the sights – one of which was the Central Market. This had such a profound impact on the players that the suggestion was made, “Let’s call ourselves CENTRAL MARKET.” That name, unfortunately, didn’t quite work for obvious reasons, so we took the CENTRAL part of that as the foundation of the name, and the 4 for the quartet. The mission of our group was that as a Piano Quartet we are the CENTRAL4 members to which we can add to, or take away from, thereby performing at times repertoire for duos, trio, quartets, quintets, but always with CENTRAL4 being the Core.

LRW: Great story! I love how Chopin’s 200th birthday was the impetus. Very inspiring. Speaking of inspiration, with so many beautiful piano quartets to choose from, what were the ideas behind your choices for your Athena Foundation for the Arts August 20, 2023 concert? Why these composers? Why these selections? Why now?

Cellist Paula Fehrenbach is interviewed by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Paula Fehrenbach, cellist

PF: Why did we choose these works? Well, the short answer is because we love them! They are each beautiful, unique, and fun to play. These quartets by Mozart, Brahms, and Turina represent three foundational works in the Piano Quartet repertoire. They span three centuries and and the impact of each quartet highlights that fact.

LRW: Good points. Can you please expand on that?

PF: Sure. Perhaps most importantly, the quartets evoke such a wide range of emotions, each with its unique character. The Mozart in the key if G minor, opens with such drama but the second movement is full of grace and simple beauty while the last movement is a light and fun conclusion.

Turina’s quartet has a distinct Spanish flair. He uses unison strings and beautiful piano sonorities to provide rich tonal color. It often sounds impressionistic which reflects the time he spent studying in Paris.

Brahms. String players and pianists love Brahms. He was the consummate craftsman and it is both challenging and rewarding to dissect and reconstruct this amazing piece. The way he uses the quartet as an ensemble feels almost orchestral, yet everyone has the moment to shine. As the cellist, I have to point out that the opening of the third movement has perhaps one of the most glorious cello melodies in the repertoire.

These are all pieces we have performed many times which which allows us the opportunity to dig a little deeper and have some fun. We look forward incorporating a visual element in the concert and to experience how that impacts our performance! Thank you for providing this exciting opportunity.

LRW: Thank you for these marvelous insights behind the gorgeous program you have curated for us. I love how your program not only covers three distinct styles but also three different countries for an eclectic experience. I’m also a huge Turina fan, myself, having performed several of his piano solos and his cello and piano duo for my students at their recitals. We’re also excited to experience the imagery and lighting paired with your pieces. Would you please hint at the visual effects you’ve selected for your pieces and why they were chosen? Rumor has it that AI might be involved whereby the imagery “reacts” to the music as it is performed?

TD: We are working with AI to create images that evoke the overarching moods of the each movement of the quartets. We are also thinking about possibly incorporating images from our first trip together where we were “born”.

LRW: OMG this is so amazing! Very cutting-edge, elevating the classical music concert to a new level. On another subject, may I ask, has the CENTRAL4 recorded these stunning pieces, or do you have plans to do so?

TD: Unfortunately, we have not recorded these works in studio. However, we have recorded some live performances of them and hope some day in the near future we will be able to formally memorialize our performances of them.

LRW: That would be wonderful. We’ll be eager to blog about it when the recordings are available. Before I let you go, may I ask each of you for a favorite quote by a composer or musician that you’d like to share with our readers?

TD: Two of my favorites:
Competitions are for horses, not for artists ~ Bela Bartok Click To Tweet
Music begins where the possibilities of language end ~ Sibelius Click To Tweet

PF: Mine is:
Being a good colleague is as important as playing in tune ~ Lynn Harrell Click To Tweet

Violinist Elizabeth Hedman is interviewed by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Elizabeth Hedman, violinist

EH: My two are:
Find your joy in the service - not in the recognition ~ Nathan Milstein Click To Tweet
When you’re dealing with music, you’re dealing with the soul of a society ~ Itzhak Perlman Click To Tweet

Violist Phillip Triggs is interviewed by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Phillip Triggs, guest violist

PT: Mine is:
I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way ~ Gustav Mahler Click To Tweet

The learn more about the CENTRAL 4 Piano Quartet and these remarkable musicians, visit their websites and follow them on their social media platforms.
CENTRAL4
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Timothy Durkovic, Pianist
Facebook
Instagram

Elizabeth Hedman, Violinist
Website
Instagram

Meredith Crawford, Violist
Website

Phillip Triggs, Guest Violist
Website
Instagram

Paula Fehrenbach, Cellist
Instagram

Eager to attend? Please see below.

CONCERT DETAILS:

Date
Sunday, August 20, 2023

Time
Check-in: 3:15 PM
Concert: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM PDT
Refreshments afterwards

Place
Community Auditorium
Church of Scn of the Valley
11455 Burbank Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 91601
•This concert is hosted exclusively by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.
•It is not a church event.
•The Community Auditorium is made available for rent to nonprofits and other charitable organizations.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us. Thank you.

FREE Parking: Farmdale Avenue lot and street parking

Tickets
Purchase tickets on Eventbrite here or scan the QR code at the door. Cash or Credit card payments by Zettle/Paypal also available. Questions? Please feel free to email us. Looking forward to an inspiring concert!
. . . . . . . . . .
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2 Comments

  1. Barry Wehrli

    Fun background on the Central4 and looking forward to the concert in August. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Linda Wehrli

      Glad you enjoyed! Looking forward to having you join us at this exciting concert.

      Reply

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