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The Juilliard School Presents The Verona Quartet at Alice Tully Hall

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The Juilliard School

The Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital

The Verona Quartet
(The Verona Quartet Web Page)

Jonathan Ong and Dorothy Ro, Violins
Abigail Rojansky, Viola
Warren Hagerty, Cello

Roger Tapping, Guest Viola

Alice Tully Hall
Lincoln Center

Media Relations: Gloria Gottschalk

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 8, 2017

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75): String Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor Op. 108 (1960)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91): String Quintet in C major K. 515 (1787)

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827): String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor Op. 131 (1826).

The Verona Quartet, Jonathan Ong and Dorothy Ro, violin, Abigail Rojansky, viola, and Warren Hagerty, cello, won the 2015 Victor Elmaleh Concert Artists Guild Competition, along with top prizes in competitions around the globe. They serve as the Quartet in Residence at Festivals and Universities, and each member of The Verona Quartet will graduate from Juilliard next week with an artist diploma in string quartet studies. Roger Tapping, a member of the Juilliard Quartet and Juilliard’s viola faculty, was a guest violist in the Mozart String Quartet. In fact, I noticed a full contingent of what appeared to be Juilliard faculty in the front rows proudly watching and listening. Tonight’s concert at Tully Hall included works by Shostakovich, Mozart, and Beethoven.

The Shostakovich String Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor opened with the “Allegretto”, with dance-like, rapid staccato notes, before Mr. Hagerty, on cello, took the theme. Soulful, eerie tones ensued in the “Lento”, shifting to rapidly swirling fervor. Dissonant, surreal rhythmic repetitions showcased the violins in the lowest registers. A mournful, tormented theme evolved followed by pizzicato strings in the “Allegro-Allegretto”. Ms. Rojansky’s viola was exceptional here. The Quartet ended in quietude.

The Mozart String Quintet in C major was next, with Mr. Tapping sitting in. This was such an impressive joining of faculty and students, all performing as equals. Mr. Tapping seemed eager to showcase Ms. Rojansky on lead viola solos. This Mozart work opened with the “Allegro”, in a courtly, melodic manner, with racing violin trills in youthful ebullience. The performing quintet was confident and masterful. The “Menuetto: Allegretto” presented multiple variations on a phrase, with rhythmic dance motifs, tonal sighing, yearning and prancing. In the “Andante”, Ms. Rojansky played a solo with romantic, melancholy notes in harmony. The final “Allegro” included a joyful violin solo, before the ensemble joined for scintillating, echoing phrases, ending in pulsating chords in a brisk tempo.

The final piece, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, merged the seven movements seamlessly, through varying “Adagios”, “Allegros”, “Andante”, and “Presto”. The piece opens in “Adagio…molto espressivo”, and I noted a grieving, mournful violin solo by Mr. Ong, layered and mesmerizing. As the Quartet progressed, sweeping phrases combined whispering strings in harmony with poignant cello phrases. Each individual musician seemed filled with internalized musicality and expressiveness. This mature and sometimes heartrending Beethoven composition, written only one year before his death, has contrasting moods and tempos, and The Verona Quartet met the challenge with aplomb.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at