One of the most in-demand ensembles in the world, the Dover Quartet returns to Northwest Arkansas! A mainstay of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, the music presented by the four members of this talented ensemble - each with interpretative maturity and tonal refinement well beyond their years – is consistently a season highlight. This year, they join us outside of their role as resident AFO string quartet for a special performance alongside Grammy®-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital. Known as an exceptionally exciting and adventurous musician, Avital has a style that is complex, deeply sensitive and amazingly versatile.
We had a chance to sit down with Camden Shaw of the Dover Quartet and ask them a few questions about the group, their music and the upcoming show at WAC...
1. How did the Dover Quartet come to be?
All four of us were students at the Curtis Institute of Music for our undergrad degree when we met, and chamber music was a central part of the musical culture at Curtis, and we were all in several chamber groups at the time. Milena and I played together with several combinations of violinists in various quartets, and Joel and Bryan played together in a serious quartet until their lower instruments graduated; when the four of us read together the first time, we could tell something special was possible.
2. Do any of you play more than one instrument?
Yes! We all play piano, and I play the guitar a bit for fun. Milena plays the trombone!
3. What inspires you to create or perform a new piece?
Most of our inspiration comes from the music itself. Working on the nitty-gritty in a piece is always difficult, but we're able to do it because we revere the music we play.
4. What is it like to work with Avi Avital, and what unique elements does he bring to your work?
Working with Avi is wonderful. He has a warmth to him as a person that fills his music-making as well- there's a generosity of spirit that makes him a joy to work with. As a musician, his familiarity with many styles of music makes him a fantastic ambassador for these styles, and through him we get to work on pieces with a different bent than our usual material.
5. Pick 5 words—that start with the letter ‘d’—to describe your music.
Daring; Delightful; Dancing; Declamatory; Descriptive.
6. Who are some of your favorite contemporary composers?
There are too many to choose from! There's a quartet we've played a lot in the past few years by David Ludwig that is a fantastic piece, and we're a big fan of his work- also, there are a few classmates of ours from Curtis of whose work we're very fond: Chris Rogerson and Michael Djupstrom.
7. Who are some of your favorite non-classical artists?
Sarah Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, Stan Rogers, Bob Dylan... quite an interesting mix!
8. Whom do you define as a visionary?
I think of a visionary as someone whose convictions are so deeply held that they never dilute or alter their goals to fit the constraints of their time.
9. What is the best advice that you have been given?
Relax! Musicians are often told to relax in the physical sense in order to play better- but on a deeper level, physical tension is the manifestation of fear or stress. We must remember that music is a wonderful part of life to be enjoyed; not something that should devour your existence.
10. If there were one thing you’d want audiences to take away from your performance, what would it be?
I would hope that hearing us play would leave people inspired. Maybe they'd get out an old guitar they hadn't played in years, or stay up an hour too late on YouTube listening to something that sparks their interest- inspiration is an infectious condition and when it spreads, wondrous things happen!
Dover Quartet will be perform Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7pm. Tickets are $10. Don't miss out!