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About Gretchen's Muse:

Gretchen's Muse, New York's newest period chamber music ensemble, was founded in 2012 by violinist and chamber musician Abigail Karr. Unique among existing historical ensembles, its mission is to present a full and nuanced picture of the music of the 18th century, which saw the transition between what we know now as the Baroque and classical styles. In particular, it highlights the roots of classical style deep in the "Baroque" period, the reverberations of Baroque style well into the classical period and beyond, and the important but not often fully explored changes in performance practice throughout the century. The musicians are a stellar group of recognized experts in these areas, bringing together diverse backgrounds from New York and beyond.
Joining regular Gretchen's Muse members is cellist Beiliang Zhu, who won first prize and the Audience Award at the XVIII International Bach Competition 2012 – the first string player to have received this honour on a baroque instrument. Hailed byThe New York Times as “particularly exciting”, and by the New Yorker as bringing “telling nuances,” and being “elegant and sensual, stylishly wild,” Beiliang has performed with internationally acclaimed artists and ensembles such as William Christie, Masaaki Suzuki, Monica Huggett, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Juilliard Baroque, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Trinity Wall Street Orchestra and many more. A modern cellist, baroque cellist, and violist da gamba, Beiliang has been principal cellist of Mercury Houston, and has won awards including the Eastman Cello Concerto Competition, second prize in the Holland America Music Society International Competition, and the 2010 Henry I. Goldberg Young Artist Prize at the American Bach Soloists Academy.

Having received her master of music from the Juilliard School in historical performance, Beiliang is currently pursuing a doctor of musical arts at the Eastman School of Music, under the guidance of Steven Doane.


Egalité: the String Quartet Edition



Members of Gretchen’s Muse, an exciting new period performance group from New York City, are joined by internationally renowned cellist Beiliang Zhu for this performance of Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Op. 50 No. 2, and Mozart’s String Quartet in F Major, K. 590.

Both of these works were written for King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, an accomplished cellist and would have played the cello part. Mozart gave the king a highly virtuosic and prominent part; Haydn provided interesting and vital roles for all. These quartets reflect a shift in quartet writing from its first-violin-centered beginnings towards a more egalitarian approach to the voices, a nod back to Baroque textures such as trio sonata and fugue.

Abigail Karr and Vita Wallace (violins), Kyle Miller (viola), Beiliang Zhu (cello).

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