Tucson can put itself right up there with America’s classical- music capital, New York, after next week.
That’s when the Jerusalem Quartet is bringing its Shostakovich cycle program to Arizona Friends of Chamber Music for two performances. It’s part of the quartet’s yearlong Shostakovich survey that included a stop last March at New York’s Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.
In Tucson on Wednesday, the Jerusalem Quartet, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is performing three of Shostakovich’s late-career quartets — No. 9 and 10, composed in 1964; and No. 12, which came four years later. The concert opens the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s season.
Here’s what you need to know before Wednesday’s concert:
Who: The quartet — first violin Alexander Pavlovsky, second violin Sergei Bresler, violist Amichai Grosz and cellist Kyril Zlotnikov — got together in 1993 while the members were conservatory students in Jerusalem. Three of the members are natives of Russia, and one is a native-born Israeli. The group — Israel’s only professional string quartet — has gained critical acclaim for its wide range of repertoire that crosses classical to contemporary, from Haydn, Mozart, Dvorák and Schubert to Tchaikovsky, Debussy and Shostakovich.
What: The first glimpse of Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s first season without its longtime President Jean-Paul Bierny, who ended a 35-year tenure last spring. The season includes audience favorite Takács Quartet Jan. 15; the return of pianist Anne-Marie McDermott with Imani Winds in February; and the Miró Quartet at the 21st annual Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival in March. Friends also will join the second annual Tucson Desert Song Festival with a concert Feb. 1 featuring musicians from the Ravinia Festival.
When, where and how much: The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $30, $10 for students at the door or in advance at arizonachambermusic.org (Season tickets are available online starting at $104 for Piano and Friends.)
Why: Talk about a crash course in Shostakovich — a whole evening devoted to the composer’s late-career works when Shostakovich was contemplating his own mortality and drawing references from earlier works.
Bonus: The Jerusalem Quartet will perform a matinee concert at 3 p.m. Thursday of works by Haydn, Shostakovich and Dvorák.