Hawthorne String Quartet

B.C. Names String-Quartet-In-Residence

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

The Hawthorne String Quartet, an acclaimed local group which has appeared frequently on campus, has been named the official Boston College string-quartet-in-residence, College of Arts and Sciences Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ, has announced.

As the University's resident string quartet, the group will perform regularly at BC, and its members will work with student musicians.

The Hawthorne String Quartet joins Boston Brass and the Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble as the University's resident professional arts organizations, a development which Fr. Barth said illustrates Boston College's strong endorsement of music, dance and other forms of expression as integral to its mission and identity.

"It is a sign of an institution's commitment to its music programs to have such distinguished performers in residence," he explained. "Wherever the quartet appears, they will be identified as Boston College's resident string quartet, which serves to heighten our visibility in the arts. People will see that BC is an institution which values highly all facets of the humanities."

Formed in 1986, the quartet includes violist Mark Ludwig, violinists Ronan Lefkowitz and Si-Jing Huang, and cellist Sato Knudsen. All four are members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The Hawthorne String Quartet.

"It is an honor and a pleasure for us to be in residence at Boston College," said Ludwig. "We explore the string quartet not only in terms of its past history, but its future potential, and we look forward to sharing that exploration with the BC community."

"We're delighted to have a prestigious group like the Hawthorne String Quartet in residence," said Assoc. Prof. T. Frank Kennedy, SJ, the Music Department chairman. "Its expertise and ability will greatly benefit the University community."

As an example, Fr. Kennedy pointed to Ludwig's devotion to music of composers who perished in the Holocaust. Ludwig is the founder and director of the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation, named for a concentration camp that was the centerpiece of a Nazi propaganda campaign to mask atrocities, and where many gifted artists, musicians, composers and writers were incarcerated. Through the foundation, Ludwig has researched and lectured on the composers' lives and works, and has produced various events in tribute to their memory.

In 1991, the quartet performed in ceremonies marking the opening of a museum on the Terezin Ghetto, and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first transports to the camp. Their first two recordings, which featured music by Terezin composers and others persecuted during World War II, were produced by the foundation.

"This sort of scholarship lends a special dynamic to Hawthorne," said Fr. Kennedy, "and presents some potential areas for collaboration across disciplines. So their presence is not just a boon to students, but faculty as well."

Ludwig credited the quartet's association with Assoc. Prof. Thomas Oboe Lee (Music) as a major impetus for their interest in Boston College. The ensemble has recorded a Lee string quartet for a forthcoming album, and Ludwig commissioned him to write a composition for a music education program with which Ludwig has been involved.

The quartet has performed extensively in the US, Europe, South America and Japan, including major festivals such as Tanglewood, Ravinia and Aspen.

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