July 21, 2024

Arabella Quartet Opens ’17 Alton C. Bynum Series

Dr. Sarita Kwok plays the violin in the Arabella String Quartet. Photo by Joy Tang.

By Erin Hylen ’19
Arts & Life Reporter

On October 6th, 2017, the Arabella String Quartet performed at Phillips Recital Hall as a part of the Alton C. Bynum Recital Series.

We are comprised of two married couples!” said Arabella violinist and Gordon Music Department Chair Dr. Sarita Kwok.

“I met violist Ettore Causa while we were both colleagues at Yale. I’m married to cellist Alexandre Lecarme and Ettore is married to the other violinist, Julie Eskar,” Kwok added.

The group has performed at Gordon before, she said.

This time around, repertoire included Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 76 No. 4 “Sunrise”, Arvo Pärt’s Summa and Psalom, and Beethoven’s String Quartet in A Minor Op. 132.

The quartet, named after Kwok’s first daughter, first debuted at Boston’s Old South Church in 2012.

A critic from the Boston Musical Intelligencer said of the quartet’s debut performance, “The group played like they had been together for years … with freedom, drive, and risk-taking that were quite astonishing in a debut performance … the luftpause were taken with complete unanimity, the senza vibrato moments showed perfect tuning, and the sections with vibrato were actually synchronized … Though there are already plenty of fine quartets before the public, I nevertheless encourage this quartet sine nomine to get a name and a performing life.”

Kwok said that since then, they have performed throughout the United States, primarily on the East Coast.

“We have three European members, so we will tour in Europe this coming summer too,” she added, speaking of Lecarme, who is French, Causa, who is Italian, and Eskar, who is Danish. Kwok is Australian.

When asked how often the group performs together, Kwok said, “Not as much as we would like, because we all have other full time jobs! [Lecarme] is a tenured member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. [Causa] is the viola Professor at Yale. [Eskar] is the first concertmaster of the Danish National Chamber orchestra.”

The Arabella Quartet released their debut CD, “In the Moment”, in May 2017 through Naxos Records. The CD consists of thirteen short pieces and received recognition as “Album of the Week” by ClassicFM.

Lecarme said, “When you listen to [“In the Moment”], you will have a better understanding of us as musicians. The variety of repertoire is a reflection of who we are and the very diversity that is inherent in our ensemble.”

The Alton C. Bynum Recital Series is scheduled to continue on November 10th at 8 p.m. in Phillips Recital Hall with a performance by the Yale Brass Trio with Minhae Lee, piano.


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