BY KAREN BOSSICK
The Telegraph Quartet has an equal passion for standard chamber music and contemporary works.
And, whatever they perform, they do it with an energy they say surpasses that of most quartets.
“We pride ourselves on being a really exciting young dynamic quartet,” said violinist Joseph Maile. “The impression we like to give people is a lot of energy and quite physical.
“Sometimes you almost catch us banging on the piano while we’re playing Haydn – we don’t hold back. It doesn’t mean we’re playing loud, but it does demonstrate the living connection we feel with music that we think is transcendental and really really pushed the boundaries of time. You won’t fall asleep because we try to keep our music exciting for everyone.
The Telegraph Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 1 at The Argyros. Tickets start at $30 and are available https://theargyros.org/calendar/telegraph-quartet/.
Additionally, they will be hosting a 10 a.m. roundtable on Saturday, October 1 with ETHEL, a band performing Friday, September 30 at The Argyros.
“ETHEL plays more contemporary music. We’re more of the mainstream sound, so it should be an interesting discussion,” said cellist Jeremiah Shaw, who performed with the Sun Valley Music Festival.
Admission to the roundtable, which will include a Q&A session with the audience, is free. But participants are requested to obtain tickets at https://theargyros.org/calendar/string-quartet-festival-roundtable-discussion/. Attendees can also save $20 on concert tickets if they purchase tickets for the Telegraph Quartet and ETHEL concerts.
The Telegraph Quartet is made up of Eric Chin and Joseph Maile on violins, Pei-Ling Lin on viola and Jeremiah Shaw on cello. They formed the quartet in 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area where they serve on the chamber music faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as quartet-in-residence.
They received the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Award 2016 and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition Grand Prix 2014. They released their debut album in 2017 with Grammy-winning producer Jesse Lewis.
“The Telegraph Quartet name was a long and complex process,” Shaw said. “It was 5 a.m. and we had to put a name to the request for a festival we were to play in. We found out that the name we wanted had been taken by a set in New York. So we searched the internet and found that a hundred other names had been taken.
“We finally landed on the Telegraph Quartet. It’s original. The telegraph is a communication device — an older technology. And we like to play music from the early 20se century, which, like the telegraph, was state of the art at the time.
Members enjoy sharing behind-the-scenes information with the public. How, for example, the normally precocious Beethoven waited until his eighteenth work to compose a string quartet. Then it took three years for him to feel good enough to publish it.
Or how Mieczyslaw Weinberg fled his native Poland during World War II, unable to convince his family to accompany him. His 1946 String Quartet erupts in despair and tragic outrage as it deals with the ramifications of his exile, the loss of his family in concentration camps, and his mistrust of living in the Soviet Union.
The third movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, which they perform on this tour, was written after Beethoven recovered from an illness in which he thought he was going to die. Thus, he wrote it as a prayer of thanksgiving known as the “Holy Song of Thanksgiving of a Convalescent to Divinity”.
“It looks like what you would find in a beautiful church. It’s a wonderfully exuberant anthem,” Maile said.
It was Shaw’s association with the Sun Valley Music Festival that led the band to book an appearance at The Argyros.
“I got to know the community. And last year I went back to visit hosts and other community members, and they helped organize the meeting,” he said.
Shaw said he and his colleagues hope to introduce audiences to pieces they don’t know, as well as some great standards.
“And we hope to entertain. Sometimes we are a bit ironic and clumsy. We have tricks and pranks in most corners.