There's a strong connection between the two interviews that we conducted this morning on KSMU's Arts News, according to MSU music professor Dr. Amy Muchnick. One of her student string quartets almost made it all the way to the top of the Music Teachers National Association competition four years ago. "The White String Quartet, which was the student string quartet, in 2012 made the finals of the MTNA competition. They didn't win, but boy, it was quite a ride!" And their success on the national stage inspired MSU President Clif Smart to invite the quartet to travel with MSU to Beijing, China to play at an important MSU alumni event there. And, says Dr. Muchnick, "that started a very interesting collaboration. We've started to recruit (music students) out of China, and out of South America, to see if anybody would like to come to MSU and get a Masters degree. And we're having a lot of success with that, both in China and Colombia."
Last year Dr. Muchnick went to Bogota, Colombia to meet with the Bogota Conservatory on an exchange agreement between their music program and Missouri State University's Music Department. "This exchange is becoming so important for our students in terms of cultural competence and cultural exchange. Music definitely is an international language," says Dr. Muchnick.
She did master classes there, and met with four brilliant string professors there who formed the Q-Arte String Quartet in 2010. The ensemble has made it its mission to propagate Latin American music written for string quartet; their attention is focused particularly on the work of contemporary Colombian composers as well as exploring new sounds. Dr. Muchnick found them to be "just amazing musicians, wonderful people. They're extremely talented, really interesting."
And, thanks to help from the MSU Music Department, the College of Arts and Letters, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Center of International Programs, and the MSU English Language Institute, the Q-Arte String Quartet will come up from Bogota, Colombia to play a FREE concert in the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts Monday November 7 at 7:30pm.
Their program includes string quartet music from Colombia, Mexico and Argentina. One of the most interesting works in the concert is "Altar of the Dead" (Altar de Muertos) by Mexican compose Gabriela Ortiz. Dr. Muchnick describes it as a "really interesting look at Mayan and Aztec mythology." Then there's Suite Colombiana by Colombian composer Gentil Montaña, originally written for guitar and re-written by the composer for string quartet.
Other works to be heard Monday night include the String Quartet No.4, "Festival Music," by Argentinian composer Silvestre Revueltas, and the String Quartet No.6 by another Colombian musician, Blas Emilio Atehortúa. He may be the most "prolific" composer represented on the concert, says Dr. Amy Muchnick. "He wrote so much music. Now I want to have my string players play some of his music. It's really interesting stuff." In addition to chamber music Atehortúa has composed film scores and operas.
For information on the Q-Arte String Quartet's performance at Hammons Hall, call Dr. Amy Muchnick at 836-6858.