Artaria Quartet

The Artaria Quartet performs Feb. 17 at Viterbo University as part of the One-of-a-Kind Chamber Music Series.

Contributed photo

Viterbo University’s One-of-a-Kind Chamber Music Series continues with “Music for Protest,” which will be presented starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Nola Starling Recital Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 929 Jackson St.

The concert will feature the Artaria String Quartet and pianist Mary Ellen Haupert in a concert that weaves high art and political tension. Bursting with angry protest followed by petulant silence that gives way to lyricism, Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 stands alone in its expressiveness, its human qualities, and its musical ingeniousness.

Kevin Volans’ String Quartet No. 1 “White Man Sleeps” includes references to South African nyanga panpipe music where the performers dance only to the sound of their ankle rattles in order to let the white landowner sleep, if only for a minute or two.

Between the Beethoven and Volans string quartets, Matthew Bersagel Braley, associate professor in Viterbo’s College of Business and Leadership, will share his experiences living in South Africa, as well as his thoughts on the transformative power of music. He and Haupert are co-teaching a mission seminar at Viterbo titled “Rhythm and Resistance in South Africa” that will culminate in a two-week trip to South Africa in May. Their students will engage audience members in conversation during intermission about what they’ve learned about apartheid in South Africa.

The second half of the program features Dmitri Shostakovich’s Quintet in G Minor for Piano and Strings, Op. 57. Despite its dark implications, the quintet employs a clown theme traditionally used in Russian circuses, giving it musical appeal that eluded any political opinion from the Soviet regime in 1940.

The concert is sponsored by the Lukasek Family Endowment Fund.

The final concert of the series will take place April 21 with “Out of This World, Down to Earth,” featuring pianists Pam Kelly and Mary Ellen Haupert along with soprano Diana Cataldi and the Viterbo Concert Choir under the direction of Brett Robison.

Tickets for Saturday’s concert are $24 for general admission seating. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 608-796-3100 or visit www.viterbo.edu/tickets.

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Entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or randy.erickson@lee.net.

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