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In partnership with Chautauqua Institution and the Eastman School of Music, the Festival is pleased to present Only Art Held Me, the Ying Quartet’s online ten-concert series of the complete Beethoven String Quartet cycle. Stay tuned for more performance dates coming up in 2021.
Robin Scott, Janet Ying, violin • Phillip Ying, viola • David Ying, cello
Beethoven Quartet Cycle Part II
Sunday, December 20 at 4:00 PM EST
String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1
Only Art Held Me: The Ying Quartet Presents the Beethoven Cycle Partnership with Bowdoin Festival, Chautauqua, and Eastman
Coming to you live from Lenna Hall at Chautauqua Institution, the Grammy Award-winning Ying Quartet occupies a position of unique prominence in the classical music world, combining brilliantly communicative performances with a fearlessly imaginative view of chamber music in today’s world.
Though the Beethoven Quartets have always been a fundamental part of the Ying Quartet’s repertoire, this will be the first time in their 30-year history that the Quartet will present a complete Beethoven String Quartet cycle in one series. “These are the kind of works that live with you your whole life, and our appreciation for them has only deepened as we’ve grown over the decades,” shares Phillip Ying. “2020 in particular has given us pause to think about what we value most and who we want to be. We look forward to sharing this enduring and monumental musical journey with you over the coming months.”
The Ying Quartet chose the series title, Only Art Held Me, from Beethoven’s own words. In his heartbreaking letter to his brothers in 1802, now known as the “Heiligenstadt Testimony,” Beethoven describes at length the anguish and despair he felt in the face of great personal adversity. At his lowest point, Beethoven cries that he would have taken his own life, and “only the Art,” i.e., his music, “held me back.” Phillip Ying adds, “There is no music that speaks more powerfully to our time of great adversity and challenge than his string quartets, probing the human condition in honesty and intimacy, and ultimately affirming the resilience and profound strength of the soul.”