The New Esterházy Quartet– Kati Kyme, co-director, violin; Lisa Weiss, violin; Anthony Martin, violin and viola; William Skeen, co-director, cello
The New Esterházy Quartet’s first three seasons included performances of all sixty-eight of Joseph Haydn’s string quartets. Composed over a half-century, Haydn’s quartets contain some of the most imaginative, sophisticated, and expressive compositions in all of music, providing great joy to both players and listeners. This cycle of performances, the first in North America on period instruments, provides a panoramic vantage point from which our quartet can survey the compositions of Haydn’s friends, contemporaries, and students. Since its third season, the New Esterházy Quartet has been performing quartets dedicated to Haydn by Mozart and some of the dozen other composers whose dedications acknowledged Haydn’s mastery of the genre. The group is also playing quartets written by many of those, including Beethoven, who sought out Haydn for instruction.
In addition to its season of concerts in San Francisco and Palo Alto, the New Esterházy Quartet is frequently invited to perform elsewhere. The group has performed for the San Francisco Early Music Society, the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music, the Haydn Society of North America, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the de Young Museum of San Francisco, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco’s Dolphin and California Clubs, the Berkeley Festival, (including an appearance at the upcoming festival in June), the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Cal Performances, University of Southern California, Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage Coffeeshop (three appearances), Music at Kohl Mansion, and Noe Valley Chamber Music. The Quartet played a program of Haydn from American Moravian sources in New York in the spring of 2009 and returned to New York for a recital in August, 2011. The quartet offers two CD recordings made live in concert through their website, and their CD of Haydn from Moravian sources will be released later this year.
The members of the New Esterházy Quartet are internationally-known period-instrument and chamber music specialists Kati Kyme and Lisa Weiss, violins, violist Anthony Martin, and cellist William Skeen. As individuals, the players have performed and recorded in the top echelon of early music ensembles, including the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Weiner Akademie, Bach Ensemble, Artaria Quartet, Smithsonian Chamber Players, Arcadian Academy, Göttingen Festival Orchestra, and Musica Angelica. In addition to many years of musical collaboration in Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the American Bach Soloists and a long list of renowned chamber ensembles, these four Bay Area musicians have enjoyed decades of friendship and shared experience. Their history as both colleagues and friends endows the quartet with an unusual commonality of musical language and gesture and provides a strong foundation for a unique and original ensemble voice.
Portions of two reviews concur:
“The New Esterházy Quartet’s performance demonstrated camaraderie, marked above all by exceptional unity of purpose and total commitment to the group’s interpretive scheme.”
— Joseph Sarget, San Francisco Classical Voice
“It was a pleasure to see such an accomplished group of musicians present these quartets. Yet the New Esterházy’s true strength is not in the individual talents they all possess, but in the lively exchange and obvious joy they share as an ensemble.”
— Rebekah Ahrendt, San Francisco Classical Voice
Karen Rosenak has spent all of her professional life in the Bay Area where she has divided her time between teaching and performing. As a graduate student at Stanford University she was introduced to the performance of early music and in particular, the fortepiano, an interest that she continues to pursue. As a (modern) pianist, she has specialized in the performance of new music, which presents constant and varied challenges, frustrations, and ultimately, many rewards. Probably the most challenging and rewarding aspect of her career, however, is the musicianship sequence she teaches at UC Berkeley, where she helps students learn to read, understand, and HEAR the language of music.