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Jun 8, 2018 6:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Attacca Quartet To Open Quogue Chamber Music's Ninth Season

The Attacca Quartet is returning to the Quogue Chamber Music series this summer. Courtesy Attacca Quartet Courtesy Attacca Quartet
Jun 11, 2018 9:29 AM

The Attacca Quartet will return to Quogue to perform for Quogue Chamber Music this summer, opening the concert series’s ninth season.

First forming in 2003 at the Juilliard School in Manhattan, the string quartet has played all over the United States and abroad. They were selected as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet from 2011 to 2013 and as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Quartet in Residence for the 2014-2015 season, both highly prestigious positions.

The quartet features Amy Shroeder and Keiko Tokunaga on violin, Nathan Schram on viola, and Andrew Yee on cello.

Ms. Tokunaga spoke about how the group of Juilliard students came to form what would become a world-renowned quartet, saying that Ms. Schroeder and Mr. Yee began the group as a requirement to graduate and ended up enjoying it so much that they began performing outside of school. Ms. Tokunaga joined in 2005 after another member quit and has been with the quartet ever since.

The group has played music from a multitude of eras, from romantic pieces to modern compositions.

On selecting the music to add to their repertoire, Ms. Tokunaga said the group gets completely obsessed with a composer and ends up learning most of his string quartets, focusing on one project at a time. “For about six years, we were completely obsessed with Haydn, so we played all 68 of them,” she said with a laugh.

The quartet’s current challenge is to play an entire Beethoven cycle. They choose their projects according to what they all wish to play, and Ms. Tokunaga said they are a very democratic quartet. “We try to create something we can all agree with in the end.”

The Attacca Quartet has played for Quogue Chamber Music previously, invited for the first time in 2016 by President Jane Deckoff, who is passionate about her mission to bring classical music to the East End.

First hearing the Attacca String Quartet at a church on Central Park West about five years ago, Ms. Deckoff reached out to ask them to come to Quogue.

Ms. Deckoff started the chamber music series in 2009. “I wanted to make my retirement life a little more meaningful,” she said. She was a chamber music manager pre-retirement, and she decided it was time to bring chamber music to Quogue, using her connections to find the musicians.

For every concert that the musicians perform in the series, they also perform an outreach concert. The Attacca String Quartet will play at Hampton Bays Elementary School on June 15 for the students as a part of that program.

Ms. Tokunaga said she loves performing for and interacting with children, being an educator herself. “I started teaching ear-training as a teaching fellow at Juilliard in 2005, actually the same year I joined the quartet. … It just kind of stayed with me.”

The quartet does numerous education programs for kids in New York, and they are excited to perform at the Hampton Bays school.

“We like to involve the kids in our activity instead of just playing for them,” Ms. Tokunaga said. She said the quartet create stories with the kids, playing along with the narrative and letting the music be the palette to create with. “Usually the stories have a few sharks and zombies,” she added.

The Attacca Quartet will play at Quogue Community Hall on Saturday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 for the concert and a celebration, or $40 for just the concert. Concert admission is $5 for students. Visit quoguechambermusic.org.

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