Ying Quartet Partners with Eastman, Bowdoin Festival and Chautauqua Institution: Beethoven Full String Cycle

Arts and Entertainment

November 28, 2020

From: Eastman School Of Music

I hope this finds you safe and healthy and about to embark on a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I’m pleased to share  that internationally renowned string quartet the Ying Quartet, in partnership with Bowdoin International Music Festival, Chautauqua Institution, and the Eastman School of Music, will present the full Beethoven String Quartet cycle in a series of concerts throughout the 2020/2021 season, in honor of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The Yings have given the series the overall title Only Art Held Me.

The first in a series of 10 concerts will be held Sunday, December 6 at 4 p.m., including a Q&A with the Ying Quartet after the performance. All concerts in the series will premiere on Chautauqua’s CHQ Assembly video platform and will be available on demand for audiences to enjoy on their own time, in addition to the initial viewing. The second program, will be presented on Sunday, December 20 at 4 p.m.

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.” Philip 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.”

“As valued members of the Eastman faculty since 1997, we are inspired by the Ying Quartet’s vision for this series of performances, and we are thrilled to partner with two wonderful institutions:  the Chautauqua Institution and Bowdoin International Music Festival,” states Jamal J. Rossi, Joan and Martin Messinger Dean at the Eastman School of Music.  “During this time when live music has been missed, and when the power of Beethoven’s music to touch our spirits is perhaps needed more than ever, we are thrilled to co-present this timeless music to our audiences.”

Additional concert dates in 2021 will be announced in the upcoming months, along with special guests and supporting presenters, LIVE Q&As and other opportunities for interaction between the quartet and their audiences. Please visit assembly.chq.org to view these performances LIVE on performance dates, or on demand at any time.

The Ying Quartet is available for interviews. Full press release attached, and photos of the Ying Quartet available upon request.