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`Carpe Diem String Quartet, led by Buffalo native, kicks off chamber series

The Buffalo Chamber Music Society never outgrows the spirit of adventure. Its 92nd season is full of surprises.

It starts on an offbeat note on Tuesday with the Carpe Diem String Quartet, a freewheeling group based in Ohio. The Carpe Diem Quartet lives up to its name, seizing the day for all manner of exotic repertoire. The musicians are known not only for their classical prowess but for their mastery of tango, folk, pop and Gypsy music, in addition to music inspired by rock and jazz. To top things off, the group has a Buffalo connection. Its first violinist is Buffalo native Charles Wetherbee, who was for 16 years the concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony in Columbus, Ohio. Wetherbee resigned that post in 2011 because of the orchestra’s financial struggles, and currently has a healthy international career as soloist and chamber musician.

Tuesday, the Carpe Diem musicians are presenting a concert designed to coincide with FinnFest, the celebration spearheaded by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. On the program are Sibelius’ “Andante Festivo” and “Three Pieces For String Quartet,” “The Sunflower” from the String Quartet No. 3 by Erkki Melartin, and Korine Fujiwara’s “Fiddle Suite.” A cider and dessert reception will follow the performance.

Fall also brings an appearance by the Montrose Trio, which includes pianist Jon Kimura Parker, who made a celebrated appearance in spring 2014 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Parker, like the Carpe Diem String Quartet, is something of a wild card: BPO concertgoers might recall how not long ago, he followed up a performance of Rachmaninoff with his take on Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”

In December, Buffalo will get a dose of star power with the arrival of cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley. Haimovitz is known for his indie forays around the country, with his cello in the back seat. He has played a couple of times in Nietzsche’s. O’Riley, well known as the host for the radio show “From the Top,” will be playing fortepiano.

The two will be exploring the complete music by Beethoven for cello and piano, music they recently recorded.

In addition to these evening concerts, there are two remaining Sunday afternoon Gift to the Community concerts. Sang-Eun Lee, a 20-year-old cello phenom, performs on her 400-year-old cello, on loan from an Asian cultural foundation. at 3 p.m. Nov. 15. And Hungarian pianist Daniel Lebhardt, at 22, is garnering international attention and will be appearing at 3 p.m. Feb. 7, 2016.

Gift to the Community concerts are free. Otherwise, tickets for Buffalo Chamber Music Society concerts are $25 and may be purchased at the door or online at www.bflochambermusic.org. Students with valid ID are admitted free.

Here is the season. All concerts below are at 8 p.m. Unless otherwise noted, they take place in Kleinhans Music Hall’s Mary Seaton Room.

• Tuesday: The Carpe Diem Quartet

• Nov. 17: The Montrose Trio performs Beethoven’s Trio in E Flat, Turina’s Trio in B minor, Op. 76, and Brahms’ Trio in B, Op. 8.

• Dec. 1 and 3: Christopher O’Riley, fortepiano, and cellist Matt Haimovitz perform Beethoven’s Sonatas and Variations for piano and cello. The concert Dec. 3 is at Lippes Hall in Slee Hall on the University at Buffalo’s Amherst campus.

• Jan. 12, 2016: The Jupiter String Quartet plays Schubert’s String Quartet No. 12 in C minor, “Quartettsatz”; Ligeti’s Quartet No. 1, “Metamorphoses nocturnes” and Smetana’s Quartet No. 1 in E Minor, “From My Life.”

• Feb. 16, 2016: The Danish String Quartet plays Beethoven’s String Quartet in B flat, Op. 18, No. 6; Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters” and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13.

• March 15, 2016: Quatuor Ébène plays Haydn’s Quartet in C, Op. 20, No. 2; Debussy’s Quartet in G minor and Beethoven’s Quartet in B flat, Op. 130, with the Great Fugue.

• April 12, 2016: The Artemis Quartet plays Beethoven’s Quartet in F, Op. 135; Janacek’s Quartet No. 1, the “Kreutzer Sonata”; and Grieg’s Quartet in G minor.

email: mkunz@buffnews.com

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