The Cecilia String Quartet dazzled the audience with their performance last Friday.
Four women, Min-Jeong Koh, violin, Sarah Nematallah, violin, Caitlin Boyle, viola, and Rachel Desoer, cello, entered the stage with their stringed instruments and lavender gowns. Each gown was tailored to the woman’s personal taste, showing they are as talented individually as they are as a team.
Throughout the night each talent was showcased individually and collectively. Watching them play was similar to watching a game of tennis or chess, where the motive is to play your best for as long as you can stay alive.
The Quartet is dedicated to their music, evidenced countless times during the hour and a half performance.
The Quartet played the String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18 No. 4 by Beethoven, movements 2,9, and 13 of Dvorak’s Cypresses, and the String Quartet No. 9 by Shostakovich on Friday night. Each performance captured an emotion, whether Beethoven’s adventurous wanderings, Devorjak’s romantic embrace, or Shostakovich’s revengeful variance.
They read and performed with the same emotions evoked by the piece, sometimes rising out of their seats at the peak of a measure and relaxing slowly back as their music digressed. They swayed in their chairs, Caitlin, Sarah and Min-Jeong using their torsos, while Rachel, holding the cello, was more apt to use her neck. Whether an uplifting or dark movement, the faces and bodies of the women would reflect its purpose.
Part of this season’s Chamber Music Concerts, the Quartet hails from Toronto, where the members met while attending university. Since then, the group has garnered critical acclaim both in the United States and abroad.
The quartet has received many awards, including the First Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2010. They have performed in many countries and created BLiM, Breathing Life into Music, a month-long classical music residency in France. As much as they inspire with their music, the Cecilia String Quartet also informs through teaching and outreach programs in multiple countries.
The performance seemed to mean as much to the artists as it did to those watching, or better, the quartet’s intent was accessible to the audience because of the women’s pure performance.
Tiffany Mancillas, an Environmental Studies student, said she appreciated “the facial expressions and body motions, especially in contrast to typical classical music performances. It was better to watch and seemed to sound better too.”