Chamber Music Series Kicks Off With String Quartets

Chamber Music Series Kicks Off With String Quartets

SOCORRO, N.M. – Presidential Chamber Music Concert-goers are in for a romantic and passionate program with the first installment of the series, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at New Mexico Tech's Macey Center.

Supported by former president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez for many years, new president Dr. Stephen G. Wells is continuing the tradition of offering these free concerts four times each year.


Willy Sucre returns for another season of free chamber music concerts. The first will be Monday, Sept. 19.


Once again, master violist Willy Sucre will bring his magic to the Macey Stage in performing string quartets with violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and Carol Swift-Matton and cellist Lisa Donald. The quartet will perform Antonin Dvorak's "String Quartet No. 10 in E Flat Major Opus 51," and "String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor" by Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga

Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga was often referred to as the Spanish Mozart. Unfortunately, he died shortly before his 20th birthday, but not before leaving several excellent works including three string quartets.

"String Quartet No.1 in D Minor" is perhaps the most striking of the set because of the Spanish melodies, which appear throughout. The initial Allegro begins with a theme that is dark and forceful, but not particularly Spanish, and is played in unison for a powerful effect. It is with the captivating second theme, introduced by the first violin, that we initially hear Spanish melody, more plaintive but still propulsive.

The first violin clearly dominates the second movement, Adagio con espressione, which is rhythmically very intricate. The opening theme is song-like, tender and expressive while the second theme is full of pathos. The third movement is a Menuetto, with short, fragmentary phrases seeming to gravitate toward dramatic counterpoint without ever coalescing. In strong contrast, the central Trio section is a lighter, simpler Andalusian bolero, which features pizzicato chord accompaniment with a guitar-like feel. The last movement begins with an expressive Adagio section that gives way to a lilting yet troubled Allegretto. The movement seems a to be a set of variations, but contrasting material brings it into more of a rondo form.

Antonín Dvorák's colorful Slavonic works of the 1870s, the Slavonic Dances, Slavonic Rhapsodies, and the Moravian Duets, were immensely popular. Jean Becker, the first violinist of the then-famous Florentine Quartet consequently asked Dvorák to write a "Slavonic work" for the group.

The String Quartet No. 10 in E flat, Op. 51 is the result of that commission. The quartet opens with a warm, lyrical sonata played at a perfectly relaxed tempo. It has a dance-like quality that becomes more pronounced with the transitional material and the second theme. After the development, the second theme returns first, but it is the calm first tune that draws the movement to a close.

The most obviously Slavonic movement of the quartet is the second, an Andante con moto dumka with bursts of furiant sections in the middle (the dumka and the furiant are both dance forms native to Dvorák's homeland). The third movement is a beautiful Romanze. While not representing a specific Slavic trait, the music exhibits a heartfelt directness, warmth and finely wrought "simplicity" for which Bohemian musicians and composers have long been famous. The rollicking finale is a swift rondo based on the skačna, a Bohemian fiddle tune akin to an Irish reel with a jolly perpetual motion. An unmistakably vivacious dance energy animates the momentum with contrasts in rhythm, tempo, key and an infectiously rustic folk character.

Willy Sucre

Violist Willy Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Philharmonic and is the driving force behind the "Willy Sucre & Friends" concerts. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre studied at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música 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 conductor and music director of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, assistant conductor and principal violist of the Canada Symphony Orchestra in Montreal, assistant conductor and assistant principal violist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and principal violist and guest conductor of the National Symphony of Bolivia, the Chamber Orchestra of La Paz, and the Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra.


Carol Swift-Matton 

As a chamber musician, Sucre was the founder of the Cuarteto Boliviano, guest violist with various chamber music ensembles, and for ten years the violist of the Helios String Quartet. Sucre's experience includes extensive chamber music concerts, lectures, school demonstrations, CD recordings, and television performances throughout South, Central, and North America. He spends most of his summers in South America looking for new works of chamber music by modern composers and encouraging composers to write new pieces, especially piano quartets. He enjoys performing with ensembles of diverse instrumentation.

Carol Swift-Matton

Violinist Carol Swift-Matton is a native of Toledo, Ohio. She has degrees in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music and Ohio University. Carol has been a member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra since 1989 and holds the position of Assistant Principal Second Violin. She is also a member of the Santa Fe Symphony, and often performs at the Church of Beethoven.

Previously she served as Principal Second Violin of the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, and had the same title in the Chamber Orchestra of Oklahoma City. Past orchestral experience includes positions in the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Toledo Symphony. Also, Carol has played every summer since 1987 in the orchestra of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, in Santa Cruz, CA.

  Krzysztof Zimowski

Krzysztof Zimowski

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

In 1977 he 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 that orchestra and toured Europe, South America, and the United States. He moved to New Mexico in 1986 to help form the Helios String Quartet, the ensemble-in-residence of the Placitas Artists Series until 1997. Zimowski lives in Albuquerque with his wife, Urszula, also a musician.


Lisa Donald


Lisa Donald

Albuquerque native Lisa Donald has played cello in the local area for over 20 years. Her musical studies as a young adult took her all over the Southwest, and to Miami, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri.

After living and performing in New York City, she returned to Albuquerque to be near family and has been playing with regional orchestras and Opera Southwest, as well as producing and performing in smaller chamber and solo recitals. She teaches cello privately.

– NMT –