String quartets often change personnel or just come to the end of the road — some after decades, such as the Tokyo, and some living on forever, as the 70-year-old Borodin does — but San Francisco's Ives Quartet did something different.
As violinist Bettina Mussumeli and violist Jodi Levitz left Ives to fulfill added responsibilities at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, cellist Stephen Harrison and violinist Susan Freier became artistic directors of a new organization, called the Ives Collective. They say:
No, we won't be abandoning quartets entirely, but we are excited by all the marvelous possibilities and musical combinations this new venture, the Ives Collective, will open up to you and to us.
There will be quartets of all stripes, but there will also be singers, pianists, winds, and the occasional added string player.
Freier and Harrison will join violinist Roy Malan, violist Paul Yarborough, and pianist Keisuke Nakagoshi for a generous program on Oct. 4 in the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. "Great Romantic Works" on the program include Mendelssohn's Piano Trio in C Minor, Op.66; Schumann's Piano Quartet in Eb Major, Op.47; and Ernst von Dohnányi's Piano Quintet No.2 in Eb Minor, Op.26.
The Collective is presenting the Hindemith Quartet, and Messiaen's The Quartet for the End of Time, with the participation of pianist Elizabeth Schumann and clarinetist Peter Joseff, in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palo Alto, on Jan. 29; and Old First Church, San Francisco, on Jan. 31.