Unique in the world, the University at Buffalo's Slee Beethoven Quartet Cycle has been rolling since 1955. That was when Alice Slee -- following the wishes her husband, Frederick, set down in his will -- gave a bequest that would fund annual performances in Buffalo of all 16 Beethoven string quartets. Frederick Slee had even specified the order in which he would like them performed.
The Slee cycle is now admired throughout the world. String quartets are honored to be invited to perform. The quartets are arranged has also attracted notice. Other venues, including Lincoln Center in New York City, have used it themselves.
This year's cycle is unusual in that the six concerts in the Slee series are all being performed in the space of a few days. It is, to quote UB, "immersive." Performing is the Pacifica Quartet with violinists Simin Ganatra and Austin Hartman, violist Guy Ben-Ziony, and cellist Brandon Vamos. Vamos, a graduate of the Eastman School, has area roots. The quartet does, too, by now. The group has performed single concerts on the Slee series in three different years, beginning in the 2004-2005 season.
Come to ponder Beethoven's greatness or come simply to enjoy. Concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and Feb. 16; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17; and 3 p.m. Feb. 18 at Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall. Admission is $12-$22. The order follows the time-honored tradition.
For info, call 645-2921.