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Miró Quartet: Chamber Music

The Miró Quartet is one of America’s most celebrated and dedicated string quartets, having been labeled by The New Yorker as “furiously committed” and noted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer for its “exceptional tonal focus and interpretive intensity.” For over twenty-five years the Quartet has performed throughout the world on the most prestigious concert stages, earning accolades from critics and audiences alike. Based in Austin, TX, and thriving on the area’s storied music scene, the Miró takes pride in finding new ways to communicate with audiences of all backgrounds while cultivating the longstanding tradition of chamber music.

In their 2020-21 season, the Miró Quartet continues to explore a diverse way of performing concerts consisting of pre-recorded virtual concerts, live-streams, and in-person socially distanced concerts. They are regularly performing newly commissioned pieces along with works of Dvořák and Schubert. They will perform at The Bowdoin International Music Festival in July and in Rockport, MA alongside famed clarinetist Anthony McGill in August.

The Miró celebrated its 25th anniversary in the 2019-20 season by performing a wide range of repertoire that pays homage to the legacy of the string quartet and also looks to the future of chamber music and string quartet playing in the U.S. In honor of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the Quartet performed the composer’s complete string quartets in concert and on recording. Recently the Quartet embarked on a year-long string quartet cycle at Chamber Music Northwest, where it is in residence this season. The Quartet has previously performed full Beethoven cycles at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Chamber Music Tulsa, and the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in Washington State. Beyond the concert hall, the Miró concluded its recording cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets with the release of a complete box set on Pentatone in November 2019. The ensemble began this recording project in 2005 with the release of the Op. 18 quartets, and the finished cycle represents not only the Beethoven’s journey as a composer, but also a 14- year journey for the Quartet.

The Quartet also continued its Archive Project, honoring the American string quartet tradition by recreating historic recitals by iconic, early 20th-century ensembles, including the Flonzaley, Kneisel, and Kolisch Quartets. In past seasons, the Miró has performed a program, conceived by the Kneisel Quartet for its own 25th anniversary in 1910, featuring works by Mozart and Schubert paired with new music at the time from Glière, Franck, and Servais. Performances took place at Weill Recital Hall (where the Kneisel Quartet also frequently performed) presented by Carnegie Hall, and at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, as well as in Toronto, ON; Troy, NY; and Clemson, SC. The Miró also performed the Kolisch Quartet program with which the ensemble made its 1935 American debut. This debut included the world premiere of Bartók’s Quartet No. 5 and the U.S. premiere of Berg’s Lyric Suite, and the Miró performed this program in Austin, TX and Indianapolis, IN.

The Miró Quartet has championed the music of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts for more than a decade, and 2019-20 season it premiered a new string quartet titled Home, composed by Mr. Puts for the Miró’s 25th anniversary. The work was presented by a consortium of commissioning partners, including the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in Eastsound, WA (world premiere), Chamber Music Detroit, and Chamber Music Tulsa. Alongside that, the Miró also performed Credo, the composer’s first work written for them (also featured on the recording The Miró Quartet Live!), in cities across the U.S.

Highlights of recent seasons include a sold-out return to Carnegie Hall to perform Beethoven’s Op. 59 quartet, performances for the New York Philharmonic with Gabriel Kahane, appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (both in New York and at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Detroit Chamber Music Society), and performances at The Phillips Collection, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, Green Music Center, and Emerald City Music in Seattle. The Quartet also recently debuted in Korea, Singapore, and at the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival. A favorite of summer chamber music festivals, the Miró Quartet has recently performed at La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, OK Mozart, and Music@Menlo. The Miró regularly collaborates with artists such as violinist Martin Beaver, mezzosoprano Sasha Cooke, percussionist Colin Currie, cellist Clive Greensmith, and clarinetist David Shifrin, as well as with pianists Wu Han, Anton Nel, Jon Kimura Parker, and André Watts.

Formed in 1995, the Miró Quartet was awarded first prize at several national and international competitions including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. Deeply committed to music education, members of the Quartet have given master classes at universities and conservatories throughout the world, and since 2003 the Miró has served as the quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music. In 2005, the Quartet became the first ensemble ever to be awarded the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. Having released many celebrated recordings, the Miró recently produced an Emmy Award-winning multimedia project titled Transcendence. A work with visual and audio elements available on live stream, CD, and Blu-ray, Transcendence encompasses philanthropy and documentary filmmaking and is centered around a performance of Franz Schubert’s Quartet in G major on rare Stradivarius instruments. The Miró records independently and makes its music available on a global scale through Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube.

The Miró Quartet took its name and its inspiration from the Spanish artist Joan Miró, whose Surrealist works — with subject matter drawn from the realm of memory, dreams, and imaginative fantasy — are some of the most groundbreaking, influential, and admired of the 20th century. Visit miroquartet.com for more information.