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Jupiter String Quartet returns to Slee/Beethoven cycle

Jupiter String Quartet

The Jupiter String Quartet is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinist Megan Freivogel and her sister, violist Liz Freivogel; violinist Nelson Lee; and Meg's husband, cellist Daniel McDonough.

By PHIL REHARD

Published February 14, 2013

The 2012-13 Slee/Beethoven String Quartet Cycle, presented by the Department of Music, will continue next weekend with two performances by the acclaimed Jupiter String Quartet.

The quartet, which presented the first and second concerts of the Slee/Beethoven cycle last season, will perform this season’s third and fourth concerts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

In addition to the concerts, the ensemble will teach a master class from 11a.m. to 1p.m. on Feb. 23 in Baird Recital Hall, 250 Baird Hall, North Campus. The class is free and open to the public. 

The Jupiter String Quarter, formed in 2001, is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Megan Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (older sister of Meg) and cellist Daniel McDonough (husband of Meg, brother-in-law of Liz). Lee, McDonough and Meg Freivogel met at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and when they were searching for a violist, Meg suggested they consider her sister, Liz, who was at nearby Oberlin College. The quartet finished up its schooling together at the New England Conservatory of Music, where they were in the Professional String Quartet Training Program. They currently reside in Boston.

The quartet chose its name because Jupiter was the most prominent planet in the night sky at the time of its formation, and the astrological symbol for Jupiter resembles the number four. There are also musical references—for example, Holst’s “The Planets,” in which Jupiter is “the bringer of jollity”—that emphasize the connotations of happiness and strength associated with the Roman god Jupiter.

The “Jupiters” have received several recent chamber music honors, including first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition, grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, membership in Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, which “honors and promotes a rising young string quartet whose artistry demonstrates that it is in the process of establishing a major career.”

The quartet also won the 2005 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International auditions and now holds YCA’s Helen F. Whitaker Chamber Music Chair. Most recently, it was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. 

Advance tickets for each of the two concerts are $12 for the general public; $9 for UB faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $5 for students. At the door, tickets are $20, $15 and $8. Tickets can be obtained by calling the Slee Hall box office at 645-2921, in person at the Center for the Arts box office and online at tickets.com.