UND Student String Quartet plans musical tour of western North Dakota Oct. 3-5


Amy Halvorson

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UND Student String Quartet plans musical tour of western North Dakota Oct. 3-5

The University of North Dakota Student String Quartet will bring an exceptional program of music to western North Dakota by performing concerts in four communities Oct. 3-5.

The concerts will be free to attend and open to the public in the communities of New Town, Stanley, Williston and Bismarck.

The UND Student String Quartet is directed by UND Associate Professor of Music Alejandro Drago, a native of Argentina, who has performed and conducted around the world and specializes in violin, viola and orchestra performance. The Quartet comprises talented UND student musicians from North and South America (see short bios below).

"UND has teamed up with supporting donors to create the Student String Quartet, whose members enjoy a substantial measure of financial support, which they return to the University and the community at large through an intense schedule of performances, recordings, visits, outreach activities and tours like this one," said Drago.

During the western North Dakota performances, the string quartet will play Badlands, an original composition by Matthew Peterson, a native of Grand Forks who currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden. He is among the world's most honored young composers. Badlands is a "soundscape" evoking the landscape of North Dakota's West. The UND group also will play a selection of eight Armenian folk dances and Quartet Number 1, Opus 18, by Ludwig van Beethoven, a standard in the classical repertoire.

String Quartet tour details:

  • Northern Lights Community Hall, New Town, N.D., at 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3 (A cultural exchange event will begin at 5 p.m., and will include a meal provided by the All Chief Society)
  • Sybil Center, Stanley, N.D., at noon, Saturday, Oct. 4 (lunch will be provided immediately following, hosted by the Women of Today)
  • James Memorial Art Center, Williston, N.D., at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4 (reception immediately following)
  • North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck, N.D., at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5 (reception immediately following)

The Quartet:

Lihue Czackis was born in Venezuela and raised in Argentina, where he started taking violin lessons at age six. Czackis has studied with noted violin instructors Luis Sava and Luis Korsos, who introduced him to the viola. At age 14, he began studying viola with Professor Korsos at the Juan Pedro Esnaola Music School in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and later worked with Kristine Bara, member pf the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. Czackis has participated in several youth orchestras in Buenos Aires, among them the National Radio Youth Symphony and the Youth Academic Orchestra. He also played in the Uninorte Symphony Orchestra in Asuncion, Paraguay as a guest violist. Recipient of the Peterson UND String Quartet Scholarship in 2010, he is currently a student of Drago, pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance.

Carlos Breña, from Lima, Peru, plays violin and is a first-year graduate student under the guidance of Drago. He holds a bachelor's degree and Licenciate of Music, majoring in violin performance, from the National Conservatory of Music in Lima. He has played several times with opera companies such as Romanza and Perú Clásico, accompanying Juan Diego Flórez, guest violinist with the National Symphonic Orchestra in Peru. He took first place in the Interschool Contest of Musical Audition in 2003 as well as at a National Concert Contest about Mozart in 2006. He played in France in 2009 for the Festival of Baroque Music led by "Chemins du Baroque." That same year, he traveled to Spain and Portugal with the Iberian American Youth Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Breña also got a chance to conduct the Youth Symphonic Orchestra in 2010. He also traveled to Belgium to the Gent Festival of Flanders with the American organization, "Traveling Notes." In 2011, he took a summer course on violin performance in Fontainebleau, France, obtaining a Diploma in Music-Fine Arts from the American Schools of Music and Fine Arts of Fontaienbleau.

Vinicius Sant'Ana, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, plays violin and is a junior majoring in music performance at UND. He began his musical studies at Grupo Pão de Açúcar Music Institute in Brazil, where he quickly became concertmaster of the Pão de Açúcar Orchestra. During his time as concertmaster, the orchestra performed in the United States, Argentina and Italy. In 2008, he began his college studies at the Pensacola Christian College in Florida, studying violin with Alberto Jaffe. Sant'Ana has been a member of the UND String Quartet since 2012. Currently, he is pursuing his undergraduate degree under the guidance of Drago. He regularly performs with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, and the Bismarck Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, he won first prize at both the Grand Forks and Bismarck Symphony Solo Competitions playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto and Lalo Symphonie Espagnole.

Kara Hartten, from Redding, Conn., began her musical studies at the age of five in her hometown of Redding. She has studied with Drs. Darilyn Manring, Yeon-Ji Yun, and Eric Edberg, as well as performed in master classes with renowned cellists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Matt Haimovitz, Nicholas Photinos, Anna Clift and Laszlo Varga. After completing both a Bachelor of Music Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in French at DePauw University, Hartten continued her musical and cultural studies in Versailles, France. While taking a French course at the Université Inter-Âges of Versailles, Hartten studied cello with Natalie Jacquet at the Conservatoire d'Evry outside of Paris. Currently, Hartten is pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Cello Performance under Dr. Simona Barbu at UND. In May of 2014, Hartten performed with UND's Red River Trio in a tour of China and Japan. In addition to working as the graduate teaching assistant in cello, orchestra and string quartet at UND, Hartten performs with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony and Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestras, as well as works with local music programs and teaches private lessons.

Amy Halvorson University & Public Affairs student writer

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