Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Russians are coming

St. Petersburg String Quartet to play for concert series

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Artist Series will present the St. Petersburg String Quartet on Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. Courtesy photo

When a tiny town such as Ketchum has the honor of a visit from a world-renowned chamber ensemble, all music lovers should take note. The Grammy Award-nominated St. Petersburg Quartet has received a Best Record honor in Stereo Review and Gramophone magazines, were the opening night performers for Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center, held a five-year residency at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and have performed hundreds of concerts in many prestigious music series and festivals worldwide.

The St. Petersburg Quartet will play on Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum. Tickets are $30 and $10 for students, available at Chapter One Bookstore and Iconoclast Books in Ketchum, online at or by calling 725-5807.

Founded in 1985 as the Leningrad String Quartet, the St. Petersburg Quartet still includes founding members Alla Aranovskaya and Leonid Shukayev. Boris Vayner joined in 2005 and Evgeny Zvonnikov in 2010.

"We are from Russia and try to stay together," Aranovskaya said. "The cellist and I have been playing together for 26 years."

Aranovskaya is first violinist, Shukayev plays cello, Vayner plays second viola and Zvonnikov plays second violin.

In 2009, the St. Petersburg Quartet launched the St. Petersburg International Music Academy, an intensive summer program for students that they bring to various campuses and festivals in the U.S. and Mexico. In 2010, the quartet was appointed the inaugural Quartet-in-Residence at Wichita State University.

"We teach lots of students and chamber groups," Aranovskaya said. "We also play concerts with the university symphony."

At the end of May, the quartet will play at Carnegie Hall with the Wichita State student symphony orchestra and will perform a composition created exclusively for them.

"I do go back to St. Petersburg because part of my family still lives there," she said. "I will play concerts in St. Petersburg too. I do miss my home."

Before arriving in Ketchum, the quartet will play in Boise. Aranovskaya said to expect to hear music by Beethoven and other well-known composers.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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