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Serafin String Quartet's world premiere recording of early chamber works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon was released by Naxos in July 2013. The disc is an important addition to the discography and chronicles the composer's early development. Higdon comments, "I am inspired by this amazing CD. What performances - just stunning! The pieces sound even better than they did in my head! Bravo to Serafin!"
The Serafins' debut release (Centaur Records 2010), considered an "American Tapestry," has been hailed by The Strad Magazine for "style and sophistication" and by the American Record Guide for "combining true rhythmic precision, beautiful intonation, and beautiful articulation with an excellent sense of balance and deeply satisfying musical phrasing."
Serafin Quartet debuted at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2004 and has consistently received superlatives in the press and ovations in the concert hall. New York Concert Review lauded the quartet for "ensemble and intonation ... above reproach," and described their Puccini as "suave and stylish!" their Debussy as "a shapely, finely conceived account" and their Haydn as having "rhythmic vitality and taut ensemble..."
The Quartet has performed around the United States and in London at St. John's Smith Square. They have been presented at Philadelphia's Annenberg Center for the Arts, Chamber Music Now (PA), Highlands-Cashiers Festival (NC), Classicopia (VT), Fanfare (LA) and Delaware Chamber Music Festival. They often perform at colleges and universities having appeared at the University of Delaware, at Rutgers, Dartmouth, Emory, Vanderbilt, Lehigh, Temple and Dickinson Universities, and at the University of Pennsylvania. The Quartet has been featured on WHYY-TV and WRTI radio at guests on Jill Pasternak's Crossover. The release of Higdon's works on Naxos reflects the Serafins' devotion to furthering new works. In addition, the Quartet has premiered works by Mark Hagerty (2007), Richard Belcastro (2006), Drew Hemenger (2005) and David Laganella (2004). Their repertoire includes works by Robert Maggio, Maurice Wright and a special program of all-American works. The Serafins have collaborated with poet Kate Light in presenting her project, Einstein's Mozart: Two Geniuses.
The Serafins are Quartet in Residence for the University of Delaware. They work with young musicians in a variety settings, and their varied lecture-recitals include Beethoven, Mozart, Bartok, Interpreting New Music, Romanticism, Chamber Music, The Voice of the American String Quartet and The Development of the String Quartet. They have also developed an innovative series of "collage concerts", first presented at World Cafe Live, which are designed to provide a satisfying listening experience for new, as well as seasoned, chamber music audiences in a relaxed setting.
Reflecting the Quartet's egalitarian viewpoint, Serafin violinists share equally the responsibility for playing the first and second violin parts. They collaborate frequently, including programs with internationally acclaimed pianists Charles Abramovic, Victor Asuncion and Sandra Rivers; Steve Tenenbom of the Orion Quartet; the Vega String Quartet; oboist John Dee; bass/baritone Grant Youngblood; and clarinetists Igor Begelman and Marianne Gythfeldt. The individual artists of the quartet have been heralded around the globe for concerts and recordings, receiving critical acclaim in the press.
Serafin String Quartet takes its name from master violin maker, Sanctus Serafin, who in 1728 crafted the violin currently played by Kate Ransom. The other members play Testore instruments from the same era, thanks to generous support from Dr. William Stegeman.
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