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Berkeley’s Crowden Music Center Presents Fry Street Quartet on March 3

Media contact: David Perry / (415) 676-7007 / 

Berkeley’s Crowden Music Center Presents Fry Street Quartet on March 3 

20 February 2024 – Berkeley, CA:   Crowden continues its 40th anniversary season on Sunday, March 3, presenting the acclaimed Fry Street Quartet (Robert Waters, Rebecca McFaul, Bradley Ottesen, Anne Francis Bayless) in a rare west coast performance featuring a new commission by Gabriela Lena Frank along with works by Beethoven and Shostakovic.

 Hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the New York Times, this globally acclaimed, Fischoff Grand Prize-winning quartet is a frequent member of Crowden’s renowned summer chamber music faculty. This concert is the Bay Area’s first opportunity to hear Gabriela Lena Frank’s latest commission A Psalm of Disquiet (jointly commissioned by the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, the NOVA Chamber Music Series, and the Fry Street Quartet), as Fry Street will perform the west coast premiere just two days prior, in Healdsburg.

General admission tickets are $35, with discounted rates for seniors and students, and a free “Meet-the-Artists” reception. Ages  8 to 18 attend free.

 Crowden Music Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary this 2023-24 season, presenting illustrious alumni and faculty from throughout its history. Established in 1983 and still the only school of its kind in the country, The Crowden School’s unique chamber music-inspired curriculum for grades 3–8 features intellectually engaging collaborative academics side by side with its esteemed music program. Crowden also serves more than 1,000 community music students of all ages and levels of experience. Flagship programs for the general community include its John Adams Young Composers Program and acclaimed chamber music workshops for youth and adults. Crowden reaches a combined audience of 8,000 with a rich array of workshops, events, and concerts each year.

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Fry Street Quartet

This remarkable quartet – hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the New York Times – is a multi-faceted ensemble taking chamber music in new directions. The quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to London, and Sarajevo to Jerusalem, exploring the medium of the string quartet and its life-affirming potential with “profound understanding…depth of expression, and stunning technical astuteness” (Deseret Morning News).

With a discography that includes a wide range of works from Haydn and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Rorem, and Kaminsky, the quartet is known for being “Equally at home in the classic repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven or contemporary music,” (Palm Beach Daily News). The FSQ has commissioned and toured new works by a wide range of composers, and upcoming commissions include quartets by Clarice Assad, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Laura Kaminsky. After more than 50 performances in three different countries, Rising Tide: The Crossroads Project continues to resonate with audiences. A collaboration with physicist Dr. Robert Davies, this fresh approach to communicating society’s sustainability challenges draws upon all the senses with a unique blend of science and art. A film version of the project was released in fall of 2020.

The quartet’s touring history includes performances at major venues and festivals, and for distinguished series such as Carnegie Hall and the Schneider Series at the New School in New York, the Jewel Box series in Chicago, Chamber Music Columbus, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, the DiBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame, the Theosophical Society in London, and the Mozart Gemeinde in Klagenfurt, Austria.

The Fry Street Quartet holds the Dan C. and Manon Caine Russell Endowed String Quartet Residency at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University. In 2019 the members of the FSQ were named co-Music Directors of the NOVA Chamber Music Series in Salt Lake City, an appointment that continues through 2024.


Crowden 40th Anniversary 2023–2024 Season Calendar

February 17, 2024, 7:00pm
 Alexander String Quartet Festival Faculty Concert
 Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)

Crowden inaugural Chamber Music Festival with the Alexander String Quartet features a faculty concert open to the public!

 Tarik O’Regan: Gradual

 Leoš Janáček: String Quartet, No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”

 Jean Sibelius: String Quartet, Op. 56 in d minor, “Voces Intimate”


March 3, 2024, 4:00pm
Sundays @ Four: Fry Street Quartet
Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)

Hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the New York Times, this globally acclaimed, Fischoff Grand Prize-winning quartet of sometimes Crowden summer faculty members perform Beethoven, Lena Frank, and Shostakovich.

Ludwig van Beethoven Quartet in F Major, Op.135
Gabriela Lena Frank: New commission, will premiere 3
Dmitri Shostakovich Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 117


April 21, 2024, 4:00pm
Sundays @ Four: Catalyst Quartet
Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)

Grammy® Award-winning Catalyst Quartet, featuring alumna Karla Donehew Perez (’99), tours the world to acclaim for its “perfect ensemble unity” and “unequaled class of execution” (Lincoln Journal Star).

 “But just a minute”, Paquito D’Rivera
“Farewell mambo”, P. D’Rivera
“Wapango”, P. D’Rivera
Angel Suite, Astor Piazzolla (arr. Catalyst Quartet)
String Quartet, Germaine Tailleferre (Gershwin lullaby)
String Quartet in F Major, Maurice Ravel


May 25, 2024

Crowden 40th Anniversary Concert & Reception
 Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley
 An unforgettable showcase of Crowden alumni, mentors, and friends at Hertz Hall, including Bonnie Hampton, Audrey Vardanega, the Catalyst Quartet, and more. This program features perennial Crowden favorites paired with special moments, including a work composed by Crowden’s greatest benefactor, composer Gordon Getty, and the world premiere of a new work for two violins and string orchestra by Samuel Adams, commissioned for our 40th anniversary and premiered by two acclaimed Crowden violinists: Nora Chastain, a world-famous soloist and chamber musician and student of founder Anne Crowden, and alumnus David McCarroll (’99), Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, formerly a member of the famed Vienna Piano Trio.

 * David McCarroll (’99) and Nora Chastain performing Samuel Adams world premiere 40th anniversary commission with an ensemble of Crowden faculty, alumni, and current students.
 * Catalyst Quartet performing a movement of Mendelssohn Octet with Crowden faculty and alumni, including violist Abigail Rojansky (‘03) of the Verona Quartet
 * Bonnie Hampton-led cello ensemble performing Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 by Villa-Lobos
 * Friction Quartet performing Carrot Revolution by Gabriella Smith
 * Audrey Vardanega and Ariana Kim performing Primavera Porteña from The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Piazzolla
 * Gordon Getty composition TBA
 * Kenneth Rensaw (‘08) Concertmaster for Crowden faculty and alumni orchestra performing Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams (an Anne Crowden favorite)
 * Original composition by John Adams Young Composers Program student Nicole Targosz, performed by The Crowden School Lower School Orchestra


May 26, 2024
Crowden 40th Anniversary Alumni Brunch
Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)
Crowden alumni from all programs, alum families from all eras, and current and former faculty from throughout Crowden’s history to join us for a joyous brunch honoring Crowden alums from the past 40 years.