Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Madison string quartet to perform on campus

The Ancora String Quartet, based out of Madison and featuring two of Whitwater’s faculty, will perform in Whitewater on Sept. 22.

The Ancora String Quartet will perform Grieg’s String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 27, which Associate  Professor Benjamin Whitcomb describes as “a real crowd pleaser.”
“It’s got something for everybody … three of the four movements are energetic dance movements,” Whitcomb said.

They will also perform Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Opus 59, No. 1.

“This piece is an absolute masterpiece,” Whitcomb said.

The quartet was formed in 2000 by violinist Robin Ryan and violist Marika Fischer Hoyt.  Hoyt moved next door to Ryan, whom she met at music camp in high school but didn’t realize it at the time.

Lecturer Leanne League, who happened to know Hoyt through her sister, replaced the original violinist, and Whitcomb replaced the original cellist in 2003.

The quartet is praised by critics in Madison and the surrounding area. The Ancora String Quartet is the resident string quartet at the First Unitarian Society in Madison, a fine-arts supporting church, and one of the largest Unitarian Universalist congregations in the world with some 1,400 members.

League and Whitcomb like the fact that they’re so supportive of the arts.  Whitcomb also enjoys the sound.

“There’s something about the sound in there that is really a wonderful mix … it’s clear and a very nice hall to play in,” Whitcomb said.

For League, it was about the live setting and a consistent spot to go back to.

“Our quartet put together a mission, and that mission is to bring the string quartet literature to life,” League said. “That means that as wonderful as it is to have access to recorded music, going to a live concert is way more interesting and rewarding in many ways.”

As successful as they are in the Madison and surrounding areas, Whitcomb doesn’t see them spreading out nationally.

“We’ve had invitations as far away as St. Louis and Oklahoma, even Minnesota, we’ve not been able to get to because our schedule never works out,” Whitcomb said. “We’re just content to perform in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.”

Despite the formality that is  associated with being a string quartet, the Ancora Quartet has a lot of fun on stage and tries to broadcast that to the audience.

“We’re always looking at each other playing expressively, and making it clear that we’re responding to each other in real time, which is what I think makes live concerts so much more exciting than recordings,” League said.

This lends a bit of improvisation to their performance.

“If one of the members takes a little more time ending a phrase, and another person gets that same idea, they’re going to play off of that … like a conversation,” Whitcomb said.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Light Recital Hall located in the Center of the Arts.  Tickets are $3 for students, $4 for seniors, and $5 for adults.

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Founded 1901
Madison string quartet to perform on campus