April 1, 2012
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April 1, 2012
From the Music Desk: Arnold Steinhardt To Form New String Quartet
Arnold Steinhardt, first violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet that retired in 2009, has announced plans to form a new string quartet. Mr. Steinhardt recently told Hartz-4-Artz reporter N. Nam Trebor that he deeply misses the great string quartet literature after having played in the Guarneri Quartet for 45 years.
Steinhardt’s decision has caused some surprise in chamber music circles that he would again form a quartet after the Guarneri’s distinguished and long running career. There have also been lifted eyebrows over his choice for the new group’s name: The Steinhardt String Quartet. Steinhardt said that unlike the Guarneri and most other contemporary quartets that operate on a democratic basis, he plans to revert to a model more in fashion during the first half of the twentieth century. He pointed to the Busch and Capet String Quartets of that era that not only took their names from each group’s first violinist but also their powerful and unique musical vision. “Democracy is a messy and time consuming business,” Steinhardt explained at his Manhattan apartment where the interview took place. “After having played quartets for almost half a century, I feel that I have the wisdom and experience to run the show myself.”
One member of a high profile string quartet who requested anonymity expressed dismay over Steinhardt’s most recent quartet enterprise. “This goes against every democratic principal we hold sacred in the string quartet medium,” he said. “You’ve heard of the iPhone and the iPad. Never mind The Steinhardt String Quartet. Why doesn’t Arnold simply call his new group the iString Quartet since he seems to regard himself as the only one of any importance in the group.”
Steinhardt brushed off this kind of criticism with a laugh. “I’ve managed to find three people to join me who have voiced no objections whatsoever to the Quartet’s name or philosophy, and who apparently will agree without comment to all my musical ideas. You might call this a benign dictatorship but I call it the best of all possible worlds.”
The Steinhardt String Quartet, which plans to begin booking concerts immediately, has yet to release any information about its other three members. The press poster below is the first to be released by the new group. Arnold Steinhardt is second from the left with the sunglasses.
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