American String Quartet with Tom Sleigh & Phil Klay Concert
A Special Veterans Day “Extra-Musical” Event
November 11, 2018
“Lyric in Time of War”
Music expresses what words cannot, but in addressing the issues of war and healing, these artists will combine the powers of both in this special Veterans Day concert
American String Quartet
Internationally recognized as one of the world’s finest quartets, the American String Quartet has spent decades honing the luxurious sound for which it is famous. The Quartet will celebrate its 45th anniversary in 2019, and, in its years of touring, has performed in all fifty states and has appeared in the most important concert halls worldwide. The group’s presentations of the complete quartets of Beethoven, Schubert, Schoenberg, Bartok, and Mozart have won widespread critical acclaim, and their MusicMasters Complete Mozart String Quartets, performed on a matched quartet set of instruments by Stradivarius, are widely considered to have set the standard for this repertoire.
In 2017-18 the American String Quartet created “Lyric in Time of War”, a major project in collaboration with National Book Award-winner, Iraq War veteran Phil Klay and Academy award-winning poet, war journalist Tom Sleigh in a groundbreaking, culturally significant program combining music and readings that examines the effects of war on people, their hearts, and their minds. Phil is a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq, and Tom has reported on the bloody conflicts in Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Libya. Short readings are interspersed with music such as Samuel Barber’s stunning Adagio; Bela Bartók’s March from Quartet No. 6, which captures the unendurable grief of war written in 1940 at the beginning of WWII; Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, a piece famously dedicated to the victims of fascism and war; and Beethoven’s “Serioso”, composed during Napoleon’s invasion of Vienna and a period of serious inner turmoil for the composer. This program offers two perspectives on war; it acknowledges the hardships while recognizing and celebrating the sacrifices made by our veterans.
Phil Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged he received an MFA from Hunter College of The City University of New York. Klay’s New York Times-bestselling short story collection won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014. Redeployment also received the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s James Webb award for fiction dealing with U.S. Marines or Marine Corps life, the National Book Critics’ Circle John Leonard Award for best debut work in any genre, the American Library Association’s W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction, the Chautauqua Prize, and the Warwick Prize for Writing; and was short listed for the Frank O’Connor Prize. He was also named a National Book Foundation ’5 Under 35′ honoree. Klay’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Tin House and the Brookings Institution’s Brookings Essay series.
Tom Sleigh is the author of ten books of poetry, including Army Cats, winner of the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Space Walk which won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Award. In addition, Far Side of the Earth won an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Dreamhouse was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and The Chain was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Prize. Station Zed was published in 2015 and includes his long poem about Iraq, “Homage to Basho,” a version of which received Poetry Magazine’s Editors Prize.
In 2018 a book of prose collecting his essays on refugees in the Middle East and Africa, The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing In An Age Of Refugees, is being published simultaneously by Graywolf Press as a companion piece to House of Fact, House of Ruin, his latest book of poems. He has also published a previous book of essays, Interview With a Ghost, and a translation of Euripides’ Herakles. Widely anthologized, his poems and prose appear in The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Yale Review, Threepenny, The Village Voice, and other literary magazines, as well as The Best of the Best American Poetry, The Best American Poetry, Best American Travel Writing, and The Pushcart Anthology. He has received the Shelley Prize from the Poetry Society of America, a Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin, a Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, an Individual Writer’s Award from the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Fund, a Guggenheim grant, and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, among many others.
He is a Distinguished Professor in the MFA Program at Hunter College and lives in Brooklyn. During the last decade, he has also worked as a journalist in Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Kenya, Iraq, and Libya.
“Lyric in Time of War” has been an incredibly successful program all over the country, as it speaks to the very real feelings, fears, and hopes of Americans. In addition, the outreach opportunities are vast: the musicians and authors have worked in VA hospitals, taken questions and bookstores, met with veterans’ groups privately. It’s a way to really make an impact on the community.
The program, around 80 minutes, will be performed without intermission. Readings will take place in between musical movements, creating an exciting and moving sound collage. The concert is a dialogue between the spoken word and music, summoning the power of both to transform and inspire.
Bach: Praeludium in F minor, BWV 857, from the Well-Tempered Clavier
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 8
Bartók: Marcia from Quartet No. 6
Barber: Adagio from Quartet for strings, Op. 11
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op.95, “Serioso”
“The finesse, the thoughtfulness and depth of the performance could not be surpassed.”
“Luxurious, beautifully sculptured performances”
Peter Winograd (violin)
Laurie Carney (violin)
Daniel Avshalomov (viola)
Wolfram Koessel (cello)
Tom Sleigh (author)
Phil Klay (author)
Lyric in Time of War
The following pieces will be interwoven with readings by Mr. Sleigh and Mr. Klay
Praeludium in F minor, BWV 857, from the Well-Tempered Clavier
Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110
String Quartet No. 6
String Quartet, Op. 11
Quartet in F minor, Op. 95 “Serioso”
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM