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Library’s Juilliard String Quartet Heads West for Tour

For Samuel Rhodes, a violist in the Juilliard String Quartet, the interaction between the voices of his colleagues and himself during a performance is “life-giving.”

When he works with students, Rhodes said he strives to teach them the techniques to enable them to “have that same feeling of enjoyment.”

Rhodes and the other members of the Juilliard String Quartet, which has been in residency at the Library of Congress since 1962, will have the opportunity to both perform and teach in a tour of Southern California this October.

The upcoming tour is a new development in the relationship between the quartet and the Library, Rhodes said. “In the past, we performed concerts at the Library, many of which were broadcast on public radio stations,” he said. “We have never done anything like this tour before.”

Jon and Lillian Lovelace are funding the tour, Rhodes said. The Lovelaces are members of the James Madison Council, the Library’s private sector advisory group.

Idyllwild Arts Academy, the Arts and Lectures Program at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Walt Disney Concert Hall are co-sponsors of the project.

Rhodes, along with first violinist Joel Smirnoff, second violinist Ronald Copes and cellist Joel Krosnick, will be performing pieces by Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart on the tour.

The quartet will meet with students at Idyllwild Arts Academy, the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Colburn School in Los Angeles.

Rhodes said that at each school, students will perform in groups for the quartet. Likewise, the quartet will hold open rehearsals in which the quartet will play for the students and allow them to ask questions, he said.

In addition to the quartet’s performances and instruction, the tour will include the exhibition of rare music manuscripts, documents and instruments from the Library’s collection.

Rhodes, who has been a member of the quartet since 1969, said the quartet’s residency at the Library for more than 50 years is “a great honor.”

Later this year, the quartet will give a free concert at the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium. That performance is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 17.

Rhodes said he “always looks forward to performing at the Library of Congress.” Speaking for the quartet, he said, “We wish we could do it more often.”

The quartet is currently preparing its “repertoire for the fall season,” Rhodes said. The group will include some of the pieces from the repertoire on the tour and others at the concert at the Library.

Also, the quartet will tour Europe in the winter and spring, the West Coast in the spring, and the Far East in May and June, Rhodes said. “We also teach at the Juilliard School, so we are very busy,” he said.

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