Close your eyes and fix your mind on the Beatles' "Come Together" with its driving bass line and repeated three-chord motifs.

Replace the sound of the guitars with a scattered violin, a thumping cello and a viola played with the bow kerplunking atop the strings for a hollow percussion effect. This is how The Ébène Quartet reimagines the Beatles in a chamber music context.

So, imagine if you will how the 14-year-old French ensemble tackles quintessential American jazz and pop standards.

Or you can just slip into the group's concert with the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Leo Rich Theatre, 260 S. Church Ave., and see for yourself.

The quartet's program goes from Mozart's Quartet in C major "Dissonant" and Mendelssohn's Quartet in F minor to a smattering of jazz and pop standards given the Ébène treatment.

Expect great things, according to New York Times critic Alan Kozinn.

"Not long ago musical fence-hopping of this kind was suspect, mostly because the performers who tried it were great in one style and abysmal in the other," Kozinn wrote in 2009. "This group seems entirely natural in both. ... A string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band."

This is The Ébène Quartet's first Tucson concert since it played a Friends recital in early 2010. Tickets are $30, $10 for students in advance by calling 577-3769 or online at

Cathalena E. Burch