Saturday, January 15, 2011 Haven Quartet in William Grant Still's 'Lyric Quartet' & Daniel Bernard Roumain's 'Rosa Parks' Jan. 17

[DBR: etudes4violin&electronix; Daniel Bernard Roumain]

Published: January 14, 2011
“IN a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., the Haven String Quartet will be forging new cultural relationships on Monday by sharing a bill — and, at some points, a stage — with its neighbor on Whalley Avenue in New Haven, St. Luke's Steel Band. This first-time meeting of string quartet and steel band could produce some of the most unusual sonic combinations heard on a New Haven stage this season. But that is just one part of the rich cultural mix promised by the concert, a production of Music Haven, a nonprofit organization that offers free instrumental instruction to nearly 60 New Haven schoolchildren, who will also appear in the show.

“The concert, which will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, will also offer works of hip-hop-inspired classicism and classically inspired rap. And like most of Music Haven’s activities — classes, workshops and quarterly gatherings of family and friends, in addition to the shows — it will offer something more: a community-building experience meant to heighten the students’ interest in the musical canon.” “The central vehicle for achieving Music Haven’s goals is the Haven String Quartet, its resident ensemble. The group — Ms. Hadari and Yaira Matyakubova on violins, Colin Benn on viola and Matthew Beckmann on cello — performs, alone or with students, at nearly all of the organization’s concerts.”
“On Monday, the group will perform two pieces on its own: the 'Lyric Quartet,' a three-part suite in the Debussy mode written in 1960 by the African-American composer William Grant Still, and 'Rosa Parks,' part of 'A Civil Rights Reader,' an ongoing project of the Haitian-American violinist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain. Both performances will be firsts for the quartet.

“The decision to focus on Mr. Roumain, 40, who seems as comfortable writing string quartets as he was appearing with Lady Gaga on 'American Idol,' is an apt one. Told of Music Haven’s decision to play 'Parks,' he expressed appreciation, noting that the piece was his fifth for string quartet, and a sixth had been commissioned by Community Music Works in Providence, R.I. — the organization Ms. Hadari cited as a model for her group. [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a Works List compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma]

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