Amateur string quartet
It's an annual event sponsored by the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School, where I study viola, and was organized presumably to give adult amateur students--those unloved orphans of the music world--an opportunity to practice their performing skills and also derive some emotional reinforcement from being part of a learning community of peers. I call adult amateurs unloved orphans because unlike child amateurs, we are not generally very cute, and unlike adult professionals, we are not generally very good. Thus, we often end up apologizing abashedly just before we play publicly. After all, who wants to listen to someone who is neither cute nor good? My own goal however is to play and perform as professionally as possible, even if the fulfilling of that goal takes the rest of my life to achieve. I have discovered that the very passion for music that first inspired me to have my children to study violin, is actually strong enough to inspire my own musical studies.
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History of the String Quartet
Local Players – Strings Attached
Chamber music is a form of classical music that is composed for a small group of instruments—traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber or a large room. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers, with one performer to a part in contrast to orchestral music, in which each string part is played by a number of performers. However, by convention, it usually does not include solo instrument performances. Because of its intimate nature, chamber music has been described as "the music of friends". Playing chamber music requires special skills, both musical and social, that differ from the skills required for playing solo or symphonic works. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described chamber music specifically, string quartet music as "four rational people conversing". The analogy to conversation recurs in descriptions and analyses of chamber music compositions.
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The Life of the Adult Amateur Player
Often when Dr. Pauline Hecht, a surgeon, has finished her day, she wants to do something relaxing, yet challengjng, and so she calls up her dentist, Dr. Henry Radon; he rounds up a couple of others and they all settle down to an evening of playing string quartets. John D. Montgomery, a Harvard professor of public administration who travels all over the world on development projects, said that while it sometimes causes difficulties, he wouldn't think of making a trip without taking one of his violas.
The string quartet is part of the larger genre of chamber music. It is made up of 4 stringed instruments—2 violins, 1 viola, and 1 cello. Chamber music is characterized by having one player per part and no conductor. It is generally performed in an intimate setting and usually stresses personal expression and a sense of conversation between the players. Oftentimes, chamber music pieces are composed in such a way that they are both fun for the musicians to play and for the audience to hear.