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Danish String Quartet, an ensemble playing for the love of music with a foundation of true friendship, will perform in Madison on April 18

Posted: 04/07/23

 Danish String Quartet, an ensemble playing for the love of music with a foundation of true friendship, will perform in Madison on April 18

Patrons will experience how 20 years of friendship and a shared love of music translates on stage as the Wisconsin Union Theater team concludes its 2022-23 Concert Series with a performance by string ensemble the Danish String Quartet on April 18 at 7:30 p.m. CDT at Shannon Hall in Memorial Union and at an online broadcast.

Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violist Asbjørn Nørgaard, and cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin will perform String Quartet No. 12 In C Minor, D. 703,  "Quartettsatz" written by Franz Schubert in 1820; String Quartet in G minor, Op. 20, No. 3 written by Franz Joseph Haydn in 1772; String Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor, Op. 108 written by Dimitri Shostakovich in 1960; and Three Divertimenti for String Quartet by Benjamin Britten in 1936. Following intermission, the group will play traditional and contemporary Danish folk music, which it will announce during the performance.

In-person and virtual tickets are available online, at the Memorial Union Box Office, or by calling (608) 265-2787. University of Wisconsin–Madison students, staff and faculty, Wisconsin Union members, as well as audience members under the age of 18, can purchase discounted tickets.

Øland, Sørensen, and Nørgaard met as teenagers at a week-long summer music camp in the countryside of Denmark, becoming quick friends. Sjölin joined the group of friends in playing music in 2007. After forming their friendship, they met together to play for fun throughout the year.

“I think one of the strengths of this quartet, and I believe a lot of quartets, but this quartet, in particular, is that, as you say, we’re built on a very strong friendship because it grew out of a friendship,” Øland said in an interview with BBC Radio 3 in 2014. “We share the same passion for the quartet.”

In planning their programs, the group makes a point to only select music they enjoy playing. This joy consistently translates in dynamic ways to their audience. Nørgaard describes this approach as an evolution in their repertoire; in the beginning, they would often perform compositions that teachers told them to play and pieces that they felt they had to play. Now, they listen to one another’s ideas in a democratic decision-making process and ultimately decide on programming based on the love of playing music.

In a collective message to their supporters, they said, “Yes, playing string quartets is our job, and yes, it is hard work, but we mostly do it for pleasure, like we always did. Music is a way to hang out with friends, and we hope we can continue to hang out for many, many years.”

Madison area community members and visitors can also attend a free studio class 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on April 18 in Shannon Hall at Memorial Union during which UW–Madison students will perform in front of members of the Danish String Quartet and receive feedback. Patrons do not need tickets to attend the class.

The Wisconsin Union Theater 2022-23 season will conclude on May 4 with a performance by jazz singer and 2023 GRAMMY winner Samara Joy. While in-person tickets for this event are sold out, guests can still purchase tickets to enjoy a live, online broadcast of Joy’s performance.

Patrons can visit the Wisconsin Union Theater website to learn more about the performance and studio class featuring the Danish String Quartet. 

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