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Performance by Internationally Renowned Hawthorne String Quartet at BC Nov. 18

free public event marks quartet's decade in residence at boston college

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (11-9-09) -- During a decade-long affiliation with Boston College as string quartet-in-residence, the internationally renowned Hawthorne String Quartet has developed “a rich history with students and faculty members,” according to member Mark Ludwig.

Formed in 1986 and based in Boston, the quartet includes Boston Symphony Orchestra violinists Ronan Lefkowitz and Si-Jing Huang, violist Ludwig, and cellist Sato Knudsen.

“We love being in-residence at BC,” Ludwig says. “Our experiences on campus go far beyond our concerts at Gasson Hall,” which he describes as “a great forum to share the richness of chamber music and also mix masterpieces from the classical repertoire alongside contemporary voices of our time.”

The Hawthorne String Quartet will next perform on campus on Wednesday, November 18 at 8 p.m. in Gasson Hall room 100. The event is free and open to the public. It will feature works—which Ludwig says span over 200 hundred years and show the wide variety and range of chamber music—by Joseph Haydn, Pavel Zemek and Bohuslav Martinu.

Hawthorne The Hawthorne String Quartet has been the string quartet-in-residence at Boston College for a decade. Their next public performance is Nov. 18 at Boston College.

Among highlights of their campus activities over the years, Ludwig cites the quartet’s collaborations with BC faculty, work with students in classes and performing groups, and his own experience teaching in BC’s Music Department.

"The BC music faculty is a very special group of dedicated and creative mentors. We have enjoyed premiering several works by BC composers.” And BC Canisius Professor and Jesuit Institute Director Rev. T. Frank Kennedy, SJ, he says, “deserves a special thanks for inviting us to be the quartet-in-residence."

According to Fr. Kennedy, then Music Department Chairman, the quartet’s first BC concert in 1998; the group was later invited to be the quartet-in-residence at Boston College.

“The partnership has been a useful one,” adds Fr. Kennedy, who notes that over the years the quartet has showcased the music of BC faculty members, as well as "the compositions of the Terezin camp, which during World War II was a holding camp for Jewish artists arrested by the Nazis."

Ludwig, a Holocaust music scholar and founding director of the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation—a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and advancing the music and art created in the Terezin concentration camp ( —was asked to perform last month at the US Capitol, at a ceremony awarding the Dalai Lama the first Lantos Foundation Human Rights Award.

At BC, the Hawthorne String Quartet has collaborated on film projects with Fine Arts Professor and Department Chair John Michalczyk—including one which tells the story of musicians who survived the Nazis during World War II, Creating Harmony: The Displaced Persons' Orchestra at St. Ottilien (2007).

More recently, the quartet performed the music for the new documentary Writing on the Wall: Remembering the Berlin Wall, which was produced by BC filmmakers and premiered this year to mark the 20th anniversary on the fall of the Berlin wall, which Ludwig says has “a powerful film score by [Music Department Assistant Professor] Ralf Gawlick.” 

Over the past 10 years, Ludwig describes “an incredible musical relationship” with Music Department Professor Thomas Oboe Lee. “We recorded a CD of his string quartets that was critically acclaimed for its performances and music, and our quartet has enjoyed performing his chamber music at BC and on our concert tours.” Ludwig notes that Lee—who he calls as “an amazing musical force on campus”—composed three quartets for the group. 

Ludwig also teaches a course, “Music in the Holocaust and the Third Reich,” which examines “the power of art and music during one of the darkest periods in Western Civilization.”

His BC teaching experience is “among the most meaningful and stimulating aspects of my professional career. Studying the lives and output of artists and composers who created and endured so much under unimaginable circumstances is inspiring and mind-opening. I love the interaction with my classes. My students have been great in their willingness to open their minds and hearts to examining this time period—it’s a course filled with history, music, art, psychology and politics.”

As string quartet-in-residence, Ludwig says “Our hope and goal is to be an enriching cultural force on campus. I see us as ambassadors for Boston College when we tour the US and Europe.”

The quartet—which takes its name from New England novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne—has performed extensively and has an expansive repertoire ranging from the classics of the 18th and 19th centuries to contemporary works. 

For more information on the November 18 Hawthorne String Quartet concert at Boston College, the public may contact the BC Music Department at (617) 552-6004 or email

MEDIA CONTACT: Rosanne Pellegrini, Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs