The magic of chamber music is the feature of the Tonto Community Concert Association's second performance of the 2004-2005 season.
TCCA is presenting The Vega String Quartet at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8 at the Payson High School auditorium.
"We always have single performance tickets available," said Steve Solcz, publicity chairman for TCCA. And since this is only the second of seven regular season performances for 2004-2005, series tickets are also available. With the purchase of a ticket to the entire series, patrons will be presented with an eighth concert in May.
The Vega String Quartet took four of the top six prizes at the 1999 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France, including The International Music Critics' prize. These honors followed an award-winning year (1998) in which the group won first prizes at the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition, the Carmel Chamber Music Competition, and the National Society of Arts and Letters String Quartet Competition.
The Vega String Quartet's members -- Christine Sohn, violin; Jessica Shuang WU, violin; Yinzi Kong, viola; and Guang Wang, cello -- studied with the players of the most esteemed quartets of the preceding generation, including the Amadeus, American, Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion and Tokyo string quartets.
The group has attracted international attention for more than a decade. In 1991, they made an early entrance to the performance circuit, capturing the Young Artists Prize at the 40th International Munich Competition. Since then, the group's performances have charmed and delighted audiences throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.
The Vega String Quartet made its Lincoln Center debut in August 2001, followed in 2002 by its Los Angeles debut, presented by the Da Camera Society.
The group has appeared at a number of festivals, including Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Highlands-Cashiers, Musicorda, Kingston and SummerFest La Jolla. Live broadcast credits include NPR's Performance Today in the United States, the National Radio of China, Shanghai TV, Radio France, France Musiques and the National Radio of the Czech Republic.
Their performances have resulted in the following stellar reviews:
"Vega Quartet Makes a Triumphant L.A. Debut -- the ensemble's abundant strengths ... a single-minded and relentless concentration that gives sweep and perspective to the music at hand ... mechanical superiority and a compelling sense of authority ... It glowed with musicality
and balance ... from fragile delicacy to virile aggression and eloquent songfulness." -- The Los Angeles Times.
"... a touch both light and distinctive, emotional but not overbearing ... the musicians took real risks in their music making ... playing that had a kind of clean intoxication to it, pulling the listener along." -- The New York Times.
"The highlight of the Vega Quartet's performance at the Schneider Series (Dec. 10, 2000) was the colorful evocative account of the fourth Bartok Quartet. The folk-like melody in its Allegretto pizzicato was especially memorable." -- Dennis Rooney, The Strad.
"... these four young Chinese-born musicians have that rare star quality that makes an indelible and unforgettable impression on the listener ... virtuoso perfection, highly developed musical understanding and an elevated quality of ensemble expertise." -- Monterey County Herald.
"... there can be no doubt that a sensational chamber music group has burst upon the scene ... the breathtaking performance ... burned with drama from first moment to last ... truly stunning." -- The Reader (San Diego).
"The marvelous Chinese foursome I had known as the Harid reappeared as the Vega, getting straight into the groove of the [Haydn] D minor ... [and] produced a well-focused interpretation of the Debussy ... it will surely flourish under its new name." -- Tully Potter, The Strad.
"... remarkable assurance and conviction ... a well-blended sound that allows individual lines to shine through ... considerable technical aplomb ... intensely lyrical expression." -- Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale).
"The Vega Quartet played with suave urgency and immaculate technique." -- Miami Herald.
"... a marvelous sense of musical nuance and feeling. The ebb and flow of rich, luxurious sound, enhanced by impressive musical emotion, was extraordinarily cohesive and complete. Rarely does one hear such insight." -- Virginia Gazette.
Individual tickets sell for $20, with full 2004-2005 season TCCA memberships at $60 for a total of eight performances -- one of the best deals in town.
The remainder of the season will include:
- Vocalist and actress Gloria Loring will present "An Evening for Friends & Lovers" Tuesday, Nov. 8;
- The Montana Mandolin Society will have a program Thursday, Jan. 13;
- For Valentine's Day, Monday, Feb. 14, the Matt Davenport Production "One Enchanted Evening -- Remembering Richard Rogers" will be presented;
- Pianist Alpin Hong will perform Tuesday, March 1; and
- The Robert Post one-man show, "POSTman Delivers" is Sunday, April 24.
- The bonus concert is "Mark Twain & the Laughing River" starring Jim Post, Saturday, May 7.
"Of all the seasons we've had, I predict this is going to be the best one of all," said Solcz.
Participating artists come from around the country and are absolute professionals in their field.
All performances are at 7 p.m. in the Payson High School auditorium.
For further information about season or individual tickets, call Eloise Jones (928) 478-4363, Marilyn Wolfe (928) 474-6115 or Steve Solcz (928) 474-6723 or check out their website at www.tccarim.org.