Susanna Phillips and the Escher Quartet

Mount Gretna, PA, United States

Mt. Gretna Playhouse

7:30 PM
$5-$35 This concert is open seating by section. Premium Section is the first 10 rows. Standard Section is rows 11-19.

Back by popular demand, Met Opera Soprano Susanna Phillips!

Metropolitan Opera star Susanna Phillips graced our stage in 2018 and showed us why she is one of today’s most sought-after sopranos. She returns this time with the award-winning Escher Quartet whose past collaborations have included pianist Leon Fleisher, Joshua Bell, and jazz luminaries Joshua Redman, Paquito D’Rivera, and Kurt Elling. The Quartet will take center stage for the first half the program before Ms. Phillips joins them in the second half.
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Escher Quartet

Adam Barnett-Hart and Brendan Speltz, violin, Pierre Lapointe, viola
Brook Speltz, cello

The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its expressive, nuanced performances that combine unusual textural clarity with a rich, blended sound. A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its home town of New York, the ensemble serves as Season Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where it has presented the complete Zemlinsky Quartets Cycle as well as being one of five quartets chosen to collaborate in a complete presentation of Beethoven’s string quartets. Last season, the quartet toured with CMS to China.

Within months of its inception in 2005, the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, the Escher Quartet was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet in Residence at each artist’s summer festival: the Young Artists Programme at Canada’s National Arts Centre; and the Perlman Chamber Music Programme on Shelter Island, NY. The quartet has since collaborated with artists including David Finckel, Leon Fleischer, Wu Han, Lynn Harrell, Cho Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Paul Watkins and David Shifrin, as well as jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, vocalist Kurt Elling, legendary Latin artist Paquito D’Rivera and Grammy award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux. In 2013, the quartet became one of the very few chamber ensembles to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

The Escher Quartet has made a distinctive impression throughout Europe, performing at venues such as Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, London’s Kings Place, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Auditorium du Louvre and Les Grand Interprètes series in Geneva. With a strong collaborative approach, the group has appeared at festivals such as Heidelberg Spring Festival, Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, Dublin’s Great Music in Irish Houses, Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway, Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival and Perth International Arts Festival in Australia.

The current season sees another extensive European tour, including debuts at Musik und Kunstfreunde Heidelberg, de Singel Antwerp, Budapest’s kamara.hu festival and Bath Mozarfest. Alongside its growing success in Europe, the Escher Quartet continues to flourish in its home country, performing at Alice Tully Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Chamber Music San Francisco, and the Ravinia, Caramoor and Music@Menlo festivals.

Currently String Quartet in Residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and Tuesday Musical in Akron, Ohio, the quartet fervently supports the education of young musicians and has given masterclasses at institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music in London and Campos do Jordão Music Festival in Brazil.

In Autumn 2016, the quartet released the third and final volume of the complete Mendelssohn Quartets on the BIS label. The set has been received with the highest critical acclaim; Volume II was listed in the Top 10 CDs of 2016 by the Guardian and hailed for its “sheer finesse” by Gramophone, whilst Volume III was nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award. The quartet has also recorded the complete Zemlinsky String Quartets in two volumes, released on the Naxos label in 2013 and 2014 respectively, to accolades including five stars in the Guardian with “Classical CD of the Year”, a Recommendation in The Strad, “Recording of the Month” on MusicWeb International and a nomination for a BBC Music Magazine Award.

The Escher Quartet takes its name from Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.

 

Susanna

Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists. Ms. Phillips is a recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award. Known for her sparkling portrayal of Musetta in La bohème, Ms. Phillips has sung at the Met for 12 consecutive seasons in the roles of Musetta, Pamina, Donna Anna, Rosalinde, Antonia/Stella, Micaëla, Donna Elvira, and most recently as Countess Almaviva – a role very close to her heart. Role highlights at the Met include Fiordigili, which The New York Times called a “breakthrough night”, and Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin. Ms. Phillips was also a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series.

In 2005 Ms. Phillips won four of the world’s leading vocal competitions: Operalia (both First Place and the Audience Prize), the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, and the George London Foundation Awards Competition. She has also claimed the top honor at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, and has won first prizes from the American Opera Society Competition and the Musicians Club of Women in Chicago. Ms. Phillips has received grants from the Santa Fe Opera and the Sullivan Foundation, and is a graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. She holds both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.

The start of Ms. Phillips’s career found her at the Zürich Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Sante Fe Opera as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, and Arminda in La finta giardiniera. As a member of the Ryan Opera Center, Ms. Phillips sang the female leads in Roméo et Juliette and Die fledermaus. Additional roles include Elmira in Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus and the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and Agrippina.

Highly in demand by the world’s most prestigious orchestras, Ms. Phillips has appeared with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Atlanta Symphony, Santa Fe Concert Association, La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, Boston Baroque, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and her native Huntsville Symphony where she celebrated the bicentennial of Alabama performing Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder.

The 2021-22 season sees Ms. Phillips returning to her native Huntsville, engagements with OSNY and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Celebrity Boston Series, Bravo! Vail, and a world premiere of Picker’s “Awakenings” at OTSL. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, over 400 people traveled from her hometown to New York City in December 2008 for Ms. Phillips’s Met Opera debut in “La Bohème”. She returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.

Program

Haydn, String Quartet in B-flat Major, Hob. III:78, ‘Sunrise’
Schoenberg, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10
Respighi, Il Tramonto
Dvorak, selections from Cypresses 
Handel, Arias TBA

Venue Details

200 Pennsylvania Avenue
Mount Gretna, PA 17064
United States
(717) 361-1508