Chamber Music Concert Features String Quartets

SOCORRO, N.M. January 24, 2013 – Tired of the gloom and chill of Old Man Winter? Let Willy and Friends warm your soul with an evening of string quartet music at the first Presidential Chamber Music Series concert of 2013, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, at Macey Center.

The performance, sponsored by President Dr. Daniel H. López through the New Mexico Tech Performing Art Series, is free to all.


Willy Sucre


“We are up for some excellent string quartet music,” said Willy Sucre, host for the evening, adding that the program features two of the most famous string quartets in the repertory performed by two of its most famous composers – Franz Joseph Haydn of Austria and Felix Mendelssohn of Germany.

The program features Sucre on viola, Krzysztof Zimowski and Justin Pollak on violin, and cellist James Holland. They will perform Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 76 No. 5 in D major: Allegretto, Largo - Cantabile e Maesto, Menuetto - Allegro, Finale – Presto; and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet Op. 44 No. 1 in D major: Molto Allegro vivace, Menuetto - un poco Allegretto, Andante espressivo ma con moto, Presto con brio.

Haydn (1732 – 1809) wrote his string quartet in 1796, while Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) penned his in 1838 – and both were written in D major, Sucre explained.

“There’s a 42-year difference between the two compositions, but the way both composers used the key of D is very extraordinary,” he said. Also worth noting is that Haydn died the same year Mendelssohn was born.

“Haydn was called Papa Haydn, which is not a modern nickname, but that’s what his friends called him, and he was very modern for his time,” Sucre said.

In fact, he said, it was Haydn, a contemporary of Mozart, who originated the sound of the string quartet, because he was the first to join the four instruments together.

“Joseph Haydn was very famous within his own lifetime – and he was a very happy guy,” said Sucre.

It is similar with Mendelssohn. The composition on the program was actually the last of the three Op. 44 quartets he wrote, but it meant so much to him, that he placed it first, Sucre said.

“The composition deals with an incredible amount of technical adversity – it is very potent, incredibly charming, with sensitive, singing moments, that is a pleasure to perform and to listen to,” he said. “It is filled with joy.”

And now let’s meet the musicians.

Violinist Pollak is a Santa Fe native who first studied the instrument under Catherine Nichols. As a student at the University of New Mexico, he studied with Leonard Felberg and Bernard Zinck, as well as with Kimberly Fredenburgh on the viola.

Pollok, a former member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, is currently a member of the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and the New Mexico Philharmonic. He frequently performs with Chatter on both violin and viola. In the winter and spring of 2012, Pollok played on concerts with the Figueroa Project and Opera Southwest. When not playing music, he enjoys running, biking and hiking.

Violinist Zimowski was the concertmaster and featured soloist of the former New Mexico Symphony Orchestra for more than a decade. Born in Wroclaw, Poland, he began his musical studies at the age of six.

In 1977, Zimowski received his master’s degree with honors from the Academy of Music in Wroclaw. After participating in the 1978 Carl Flesch International Violin Competition, he continued his studies at the Morley College of Music in London. Having been concertmaster of the State Opera Orchestra in Wroclaw, Zimowski joined the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra in 1981.

In 1985, he was appointed concertmaster of this orchestra which toured Europe, South America, and the U. S. He moved to New Mexico in 1986 to help form the Helios String Quartet, the ensemble-in-residence of PAS from 1987 until 1997. Zimowski lives in Albuquerque with wife, Urzula, also a musician, and their son.

Cellist Holland began cello studies at the age of nine in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida. He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in cello performance from the University of Alabama and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.

Upon completion of his master's degree, Holland was invited to become a member of the Miami-based New World Symphony, where for two years he performed, toured and recorded under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.

In 1996 he successfully auditioned to become principal cellist for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and cellist for the Charleston Symphony String quartet, a position he held until 2007.

For many years he has been an active enthusiastic cello teacher and chamber music coach. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife, violinist Megan Holland.

Violist Sucre has been and continues to be the driving force behind the “Willy Sucre & Friends” concerts. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre studied at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in La Paz; Colby College Chamber Music Institute in Waterville, Maine; Mannes School of Music in New York; and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.

He was a member of the former NMSO; conductor and Music Director of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra; assistant conductor and principal viola of the Canada Symphony Orchestra in Montreal; assistant conductor and assistant principal viola of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra; principal viola and guest conductor of the National Symphony of Bolivia, the Chamber Orchestra of La Paz, and the Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra.

“We ask that the audience give us a little time to get to the lobby after the concert, so we can meet and talk with them,” Sucre said. “It is something we very much enjoy.”

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech