Alexander String Quartet
Robert GreenbergHost · Lecturer

Alexander String Quartet and Robert Greenberg

Shostakovich String Quartets: Part 1

Zakarias Grafilo, violin
Frederick Lifsitz, violin
Paul Yarbrough, viola
Sandy Wilson, cello

4 Saturdays | 10am
December 2, 9 & 16, 2017 & January 13, 2018

St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley



Quartet No. 1 in C Major, Op. 49
Quartet No. 2, in A Major, Op. 68

Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73
Quartet No. 4 in D Major, Op. 83

Quartet No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 92
Quartet No. 6 in G Major, Op. 101

Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57
Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor, Op. 108
with Roger Woodward, piano

About This Performance

For over 20 years, thousands of audience members from the Bay Area and beyond have savored Saturday-morning musical conversations, exploring composers and concepts with the Alexander String Quartet and San Francisco Performances Music Historian-in-Residence Robert Greenberg. The series combines complete performances of string quartets with Greenberg’s witty profound takes on these works, their creators and their place in history and the hearts of music lovers.

The musical career of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975) mirrored exactly the rise and history of the Soviet Union from 1917–1975. He entered the Petrograd Conservatory at the very end of the Tsarist era; he witnessed the Revolution and began his career during Lenin’s rule; he was nearly purged twice by Stalin; he flourished under Khrushchev and died while Brezhnev was in power. Shostakovich was a survivor and a great composer, and his fear and self-loathing, his courage and experience found their way into his music. As such, Shostakovich is not just the most important composer of string quartets and symphonies from the 1920s to the 1970s; even more, he and his music stand as witnesses to the rise and failures of the Soviet Union, one of the defining events of the twentieth century. Join us for the first season of a two-season exploration of Shostakovich’s string quartets and chamber works. In these days of resurgent Russian despotism, Shostakovich’s life, experience, and music offer an extraordinary cautionary tale.