Sonic Illinois: Jupiter String Quartet

Photo by: Leah Siegel
Photo by: Leah Siegel

Jupiter String Quartet and special guest put on an amazing performance for Sonic Illinois – a month long celebration of new music.

Written by: Leah Siegel

All month, Krannert Center and the University of Illinois School of Music are celebrating new music and honoring “innovative creators which challenge convention, forge pathways, and expand the creative process”. The second event of Sonic Illinois was performed by the Jupiter String Quartet with Tai Ji Master, Chungliang Al Huang and other dancers.

From left to right: Daniel McDonough (Meg’s husband), Meg Freivogel (Liz’s sister), Liz Freivogel, and Nelson Lee
http://jupiterquartet.com/photos/

The Jupiter String Quartet, who have been together for 16 years and have played all around the world, performed 6 pieces, some with and some without dancers. Going into the show, I was not very excited. I am not a big fan of classical music. I was very surprised that I enjoyed the performance. The pieces were very lively, told a story and didn’t put me to sleep. It felt like they belonged in a silent film starring Charlie Chaplin.

Overall, I thought the show was good, but I think I would have enjoyed it without the dancers.I felt that Tai Ji Master Chunglian Al Huang and the dancers, although they put on an amazing performance, distracted from watching and really connecting with the quartet. The musicians were engrossed in the music they were playing and it was so cool to watch, but at times it was hard to watch because of the dancers. Additionally, I felt there was a lack of cohesiveness. I didn’t believe the moves they were doing worked with the music that was being played. I would have preferred either the Tai Ji or the quartet. Maybe the Tai Ji with some background music, but no live performers.

However, the last piece the quartet perform called Two Tangos, by Astor Piazzolla, was accompanied by 2 male dancers performing the tango and I thought that time the dance and the music matched and complemented each other. The dancing didn’t feel like a distraction, it brought the story being played by the quartet into action. It was quite beautiful to watch and was my favorite piece of the night.

All in all, it was a good first performance of the semester (the first one I went to this semester) and I am looking forward to seeing The Rape of Lucretia next!

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