Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Kopelman Quartet

by

comment

Two years ago four seasoned string players, all graduates of the Moscow Conservatory during its heyday in the 70s, formed the Kopelman Quartet. First violinist Mikhail Kopelman was a founding member of the Borodin String Quartet and played with it for 20 years, then played with the Tokyo for seven. Second violinist Boris Kuschnir, a student of David Oistrakh, was a founding member of the Moscow String Quartet and a teacher of Nikolaj Znaider. Violist Igor Sulyga, also a founding member of the Moscow quartet, worked with Shostakovich on his late quartets. And Mikhail Milman, a student of Rostropovich, was principal cellist with the Moscow Virtuosi for 20 years and has performed chamber music with Evgeny Kissin and Yuri Bashmet. Despite their impressive backgrounds, as a quartet they're not perfect. During their Ravinia debut this summer they occasionally had intonation problems, and Milman had a distracting habit of sniffing at the beginning of many phrases. But Kopelman is a remarkably expressive musician, and Milman's phrasing is superb, his tone gorgeous. All of them dig deep into a composition, taking risks and playing with uncommon passion and conviction. They also tend to program rarely heard Russian works from the late-Romantic and early-20th-century repertory. This program includes Tchaikovsky's Quartet no. 3, a work they played at Ravinia--a deeply moving performance despite the flaws. They'll also perform Prokofiev's exuberant Quartet no. 2 and Miaskovsky's Quartet no. 13, the last one he wrote. Friday 29, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th, 773-702-8068, $30, $11 for students.

Add a comment