Oct 102004
Authors: Lila Hickey

For the second time since its opening in September, CSU’s Edna

Rizley Griffin Concert Hall sold out Friday night, with all 567

tickets to the Juilliard String Quartet’s performance gone before

the concert’s 7:30 p.m. start.

The packed house was an exciting relief to Alana Minor, director

of marketing and publicity for the Department of Music, Theatre and

Dance. On Wednesday, she said it did not seem likely that the

tickets would sell out. But by Friday night, would-be audience

members had to wait in line, hoping to get a last-minute ticket.

One man, dismayed to find that no tickets were left, tried to buy

them from more fortunate seat-holders. Some determined listeners

stood at the back of the hall throughout the performance.

Coordinators were nervous about the string quartet’s reception

in Fort Collins, Minor said.

“We knew it would be harder to sell out the Juilliard event,”

Minor said. “It was a completely different thing – you’re selling a

big name.”

Juilliard is a prestigious performing arts university, and its

string quartet is world-renowned. The highly selective quartet was

established in 1946 and has had only 11 members in nearly 60 years,

said violinist Ronald Copes.

The group is currently comprised of Copes and Joel Smirnoff on

violin, Samuel Rhodes on viola, and Joel Krosnick on cello. The

group performed Haydn’s Quartet in D major, Op. 76, no. 5, Bartok’s

Quartet No. 3 and Beethoven’s Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, no. 2.

The quartet received a standing ovation and played an encore by


When they are not touring, the group members practice five days

a week, Copes said. On the road, they rehearse pieces about a week

in advance to refresh their memories, as well as rehearsing prior

to every performance.

Their dedication paid off, according to the audience.

“I thought it was amazing how precise they were, and how

coordinated they were,” said Rita Howard, a home-schooled

seventh-grade violinist who has been playing since age 6.

Jonathan Asbury, a 10th-grader at Ridgeview Classical School who

plays the viola, agreed.

“(The music) was exceptionally clean and pure. They had amazing

unity,” Asbury said. “I’m amazed they came to Fort Collins.”

The new concert hall was a significant factor in bringing the

quartet to CSU, said Michael Thaut, director of the School of the


“We did not have a venue before on campus to hold something of

this quality,” he said. “It’s one of the best string quartets in

the world. It’s a big honor and a reflection on our School of the


A generous anonymous donor sponsored the quartet’s performance,

Thaut said.

Minor said she was very pleased by the campus and community

turnout for the event, as it will encourage contributions in the

future by letting potential donors know that such events are

appreciated and attended.

“It’s inspiring to know that the campus and the community

supported this standard of classical music,” Minor said. She said

the majority of the tickets were sold to community members,

although college students did attend the event.

“Ten dollars was a little harder to come up with (for college

students) but we had to charge that, because it’s the Juilliard

String Quartet,” Minor said.

The $10 ticket price did not deter Tania Valdez, a sophomore

psychology major who waited patiently in line at the box office,

hoping to get a ticket. Then, when the tickets sold out, Valdez

stood in the back of the concert hall.

Valdez, who is in a string quartet at CSU, decided to come to

the concert because of the group’s prestigious reputation.

“I just know that they’re all faculty from Juilliard, so it’s

definitely worth hearing,” she said.

Julia Shimizu, a senior biology major, and Lanijo Kircher, a

senior studying zoology and music, also attended the concert and

said they were impressed by the quality of music played. Shimizu

and Kircher, who both play string instruments, decided to take

advantage of the well-known quartet’s presence in town.

“It’s not often that you have the Juilliard Quartet come to

Colorado, come to Fort Collins,” Shimizu said.

Copes said the Griffin Concert Hall was “a wonderful hall.”

Joel Smirnoff, the group’s principal violinist, said quartet or

chamber music, as it is often called, is actually designed for

smaller audiences, such as the approximately 500 people in

attendance Friday night.

“Chamber music is meant to be an intimate expression,” Smirnoff

said. “It’s nice to get back to what it’s really supposed to


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