Performance Friday, October 28, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Cuarteto Casals

Weill Recital Hall
When the Barcelona-based ensemble Cuarteto Casals made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2007, The New York Times called the performance “one of deep consideration and refinement.” The quartet’s highly anticipated return includes a piece from the group’s critically acclaimed 2011 recording focused on Boccherini, and works by Shostakovich and Schubert.


  • Cuarteto Casals
    ·· Vera Martínez Mehner, Violin
    ·· Cibrán Sierra Vázquez, Violin
    ·· Jonathan Brown, Viola
    ·· Arnau Tomàs Realp, Cello


  • BOCCHERINI String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 32, No. 5
  • SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110
  • SCHUBERT String Quartet in A Minor, D. 804


  • Cuarteto Casals

    Since its 1997 founding at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía under Professor Antonello Farulli, Cuarteto Casals has quickly become recognized as one of Europe's most distinguished string quartets. This Spanish ensemble has garnered extensive critical acclaim and has numerous prizes at many international competitions, including first prizes at the 2000 London International String Quartet Competition and the 2002 International Johannes Brahms Competition in Hamburg. The ensemble was honored in 2005 with the City of Barcelona prize; in 2006 with the National Music Award, the highest distinction in Spain for musicians; and in 2008 with the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award.

    Upcoming and recent activities include performances at Wigmore Hall and Barbican Centre (London), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall (New York), Berliner Philharmonie and Konzerthaus Berlin (Berlin), Tonhalle (Zurich), Library of Congress (Washington, DC), Konzerthaus and Musikverein (Vienna), Kölner Philharmonie (Cologne), and Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris). Cuarteto Casals has toured throughout Europe, the US, South America, Russia, and Japan; and has performed at the Salzburg, Lucerne, Santa Fe, West Cork, City of London, Schleswig-Holstein, and Kuhmo music festivals. As ensemble-in-residence at L'Auditori in Barcelona, Cuarteto Casals performs an annual series of concerts that has been met with tremendous critical approbation and audience support. Additionally, the quartet has accompanied the King and Queen of Spain on official state visits; the members have also performed at the Palacio Real de Madrid, playing on the Royal Family's priceless collection of Stradivarius instruments.

    Cuarteto Casals records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi. The quartet has worked with important European composers, such as Jordi Cervelló, David del Puerto, and Jesús Rueda of Spain; as well as with James MacMillan, György Kurtág, and Christian Lauba. The quartet has been heard frequently on the radio and in live concert broadcasts from the Radio Nacional de España, Radio France, Deutschlandradio, WDR, NDR, SWR, RAI, NPR, and the BBC; it has also been broadcast on television programs throughout Spain and Germany.

    Cuarteto Casals is currently in residence at the leading Spanish conservatory in Barcelona, and has been profoundly influenced by intensive studies with professors Walter Levin and Rainer Schmidt, as well as by graduate work in Cologne under the Alban Berg Quartet.

    Cibrán Sierra Vázquez

    Cibrán Sierra Vázquez studied at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Vigo in Spain, Musikhögskolan Göteborgs in Sweden, Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Oberlin Conservatory of Music in the US. His main violin professors are Keiko Wataya, Per Enoksson, and Milan Vitek; he has also received chamber music instruction from Rainer Schmidt, Walter Levin, and Hatto Beyerle.

    Mr. Vázquez is a founding member of the Cuarteto Quiroga, currently in residence at the Museo Cerralbo in Madrid. The string quartet performs extensively in the main halls of Europe and South America, including Wigmore Hall, Berliner Philharmonie, and Auditorio Nacional de Música. Its newest recording, Statements, was released earlier this year under Cobra Records.

    Mr. Vázquez has performed extensively in recitals and as soloist with orchestras in Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, France, and the US. During the 2008-2009 season, he appeared regularly as guest assistant concertmaster with the Göteborgs Symfoniker under principal conductor Gustavo Dudamel. He has also performed in orchestras as concertmaster under conductors Sir Colin Davis, Frans Brüggen, Jordi Savall, Paul Polivnick, Lawrence Foster, and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

    Currently, Mr. Vázquez is a member of the violin and chamber music faculty at Llanes International Summer Academy in Asturias and at the Conservatory of Music in Zaragoza. He is the founder and artistic director of Sen Batuta, a chamber music concert series created in 2008 in his Galician hometown of Ourense.

    More Info


Boccherini's String Quartet in G Minor, II. Andantino
Cuarteto Casals
Harmonia Mundi

At a Glance

LUIGI BOCCHERINI  String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 32, No. 5  

Boccherini is celebrated for his sparkling string quintets written for King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, who played the cello. But he was an equally notable composer of string quartets, writing nearly 100 in the course of his career. Boccherini’s music is distinguished by its melodic invention, textural richness and variety, and quirky phrasing. The Spanish-flavored minuet movement of the G-Minor Quartet testifies to the decades he spent in Madrid.


DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH  String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110  

Perhaps more than any composer since Beethoven, Shostakovich used the string quartet as a vehicle for his deepest ruminations on the human condition. Among the 15 quartets that he produced between 1935 and 1974, Op. 110 stands out for its bleakly existential introspection. Although Shostakovich dedicated the 1960 work “to the victims of fascism and war,” the pervasive use of his four-note musical signature and the embedded allusions to his earlier works suggest a more personal message.


FRANZ SCHUBERT  String Quartet in A Minor, D. 804, “Rosamunde”  

Schubert, too, completed a total of 15 quartets—the first when he was barely 13, the last some two years before his untimely death. In the mid-1820s, he became fixated on the idea of writing a “grand symphony” on the order of Beethoven’s Ninth. Although that ambitious project never came to fruition, his last three quartets were clearly conceived on a symphonic scale. 

Program Notes

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