Katia and Marielle Labèque

Washington University announces 2017-18 Great Artists Series

Katia and Marielle Labèque are “the best piano duet in front of an audience today” (The New York Times). Susan Graham is “America’s favorite mezzo” (Gramaphone Magazine). The Calidore String Quartet is “remarkable for the precision of [its] expression” and “understated but relentless intensity” (Los Angeles Times).

For its 2017-18 Great Artists Series, Washington University in St. Louis will present three affordably priced concerts by some of today’s finest performers.

Legendary mezzo-soprano Susan Graham performs March 25. (Photo: Dario Acosta)

“Next year’s series will feature a terrific lineup of international, legendary and cutting edge classical-music artists,” said Todd Decker, chair of the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, which presents the series.

“Katia and Marielle Labèque will open the series Jan. 28 with a program of music by Philip Glass and the two-piano version of Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring,’” Decker said. “On March 25, legendary American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham — an essential star of the international opera and concert stage — will sing an innovative program based on Robert Schumann’s beloved song cycle ‘Frauenliebe und -leben.'”

The series will conclude April 22 with the Calidore String Quartet performing music of Felix Mendelssohn, Dmitri Shostakovich and Ludwig van Beethoven.

“This dynamic young quartet is among the most celebrated newcomers to the international classical-music scene,” Decker said. “We are thrilled to bring this breakout group to St. Louis.”

The Calidore String Quartet performs April 22. (Photo: Sophie Zhai)


Subscriptions to all three recitals are $90 and include premier reserved seating, post-concert receptions with the artists (when available), and all ticketing fees.

Single tickets range from $37-40, depending on section, or from $32-35 for seniors and Washington University faculty and staff. Tickets for students and children are $15. Single tickets go on sale Sept. 1.

All three performances take place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall of the 560 Music Center, located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, 314-935-6543, or at edison.wustl.edu.

For more information, call 314-935-5566 or email daniels@wustl.edu.

Katia and Marielle Labèque

Katia and Marielle Labèque. (Photo: Umberto Nicoletti)

Born in Bayonne, France, the Labèques rose to international fame with their two-piano rendition of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” — one of the first gold records in classical music. Their extensive repertoire ranges from contemporary classical to jazz, minimal music and Baroque music performed on period instruments.

Renowned for their energy and synchronicity, the Labèques have performed with leading conductors across Europe and the United States, including Semyon Bychkov, Sir Colin Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle and Leonard Slatkin. They also have worked with composers such as Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti and Olivier Messiaen.

In 2015, the siblings joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the world premiere of Philip Glass’ “Double Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra,” which was written for them. Their 2016 performance with the Vienna Philharmonic drew a television audience of 1.5 million and was released on both CD and DVD.

The Labèques have released dozens of recordings, many for their own KML label. Their most recent recording, dedicated to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Debussy’s “Épigraphes Antiques,” was released by Deutsche Grammophon in November 2016.


Susan Graham

One of today’s foremost opera and recital stars, Graham has won international acclaim for lead roles spanning the 17th century to the present. She has appeared as Monteverdi’s “Poppea,” as Sesto in Mozart’s “La clemenza di Tito,” and as Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking” — a role written especially for her.

Graham has been featured on many of the world’s great stages, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera and Opéra National de Paris. Other major roles include the title parts in Handel’s “Ariodante” and “Xerxes,” Octavian in Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier,” and leads in the world premieres of John Harbison’s “The Great Gatsby” and Tobias Picker’s “An American Tragedy.” Last fall, she returned to “Dead Man Walking” as the convict’s mother in the Washington National Opera’s revival.

Graham’s extensive discography includes the solo albums “Un frisson français,” a program of French song recorded with pianist Malcolm Martineau, and “Virgins, Vixens & Viragos,” which features composers ranging from Henry Purcell to Stephen Sondheim.

Her many honors include a Grammy Award, for her collection of Ives songs, and the French government’s prestigious “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,” for her commitment to French music.

Calidore String Quartet

Since forming in 2010, the Calidore String Quartet — violinists Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, violist Jeremy Berry and cellist Estelle Choi — has emerged as one of the most acclaimed and sought-after chamber ensembles of its generation.

Described by Gramophone as “the epitome of confidence and finesse,” Calidore has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, at venues including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center and Seoul’s Kumho Arts Hall. They have collaborated with artists and ensembles such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Joshua Bell and the Quatuor Ébène, among many others.

In 2016, Calidore won top honors at the inaugural M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition, the largest prize for chamber music in the world. Other honors include the 2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and grand prizes in the Fischoff, Coleman, Chesapeake and Yellow Springs competitions.

The quartet’s performances have been broadcast on the BBC, National Public Radio and national television in Canada, Korea and Germany. Recordings include quartets by Mendelssohn and Haydn, and an album commemorating the World War I Centennial, with music of Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Darius Milhaud, Jacques de la Presle and Ernst Toch.

The group takes its name from an amalgamation of “California” and “doré,” French for “golden” — a name that suggests both a reverence for its home state and a commitment to cultural diversity.

This article originally appeared in The Source.

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