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Attacca Quartet gives back to music students

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From left to right) Keiko Tokunaga, Nathan Schram, Amy Schroeder, and Andrew Yee of Attacca Quartet will be visiting Texas State University early April to teach and perform during their week of residency.
From left to right) Keiko Tokunaga, Nathan Schram, Amy Schroeder, and Andrew Yee of Attacca Quartet will be visiting Texas State University early April to teach and perform during their week of residency.

Photo Courtesy of Attacca Quartet

One internationally acclaimed modern quartet is bringing its professional experience to Texas State music students.

This spring Attacca Quartet will be making its biannual visit to Texas State April 9-13.

The group is composed of violinist Amy Schroeder, violinist Keiko Tokunaga, violist Nathan Schram and cellist Andrew Yee.

Attacca Quartet was selected to be the Quartet in Residence for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2014-2015. The quartet has gained prestige by receiving an array of accolades such as the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award and the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association.

Michael Ippolito, assistant professor for the School of Music, knew the young artists before their career launched. Ippolito attended Juilliard alongside the Attacca Quartet musicians.

“They play everything from the earliest string quartets to music that was written yesterday,” Ippolito said. “They are engaged in re-inventing what it means to be a string quartet. They play with jazz musicians, pop musicians; they’re willing to play in unconventional venues for classical music and they’re also playing in the most prestigious concert halls in a traditional context.”

Ippolito said Attacca Quartet is unique because it actively transforms the string quartet genre.

Ippolito was one the minds behind bringing Attacca Quartet to Texas State. Now the quartet visits campus for a week at a time, once in the fall and once in the spring semester, each year.

Attacca Quartet has served as the Ensemble-In-Residence fact checked at the School of Music for the past two years.

Nathan Schram, Attacca Quartet violist, said he enjoys seeing students improve and learn from their visits to campus.

“I think it’s really exciting to see the concepts we teach develop and to see these players developing into their own,” Schram said. “It is beautiful.”

Attacca Quartet will be working with string students individually. The group will host a masters class and visit an honors western civilizations class that studies history through music.

“Teaching is something we have always been passionate about,” Schram said. “It’s one thing just to be as great of musicians as we possibly can be. But it’s another thing to really invest in the next generation of musicians and to help pass on the concepts, virtues and the artistry that we’ve inherited. It is an artistic lifeline that’s bigger than us.”

John Fleming, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, said it is important for students to interact with music professionals who can share their musical and business experiences.

“One of the reasons we’ve brought (the group) back a second year is because how giving (the members) were with students,” Fleming said. “It keeps having a profound impact on our students every time they visit Texas State.”

Attacca Quartet will perform on April 11 at the Performing Arts Center alongside four musicians from the Texas State faculty. The octet will perform pieces from Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Attacca Quartet will perform alone on April 13 at the Performing Arts Center, playing pieces from Haydn, Brahms and Ippolito.

For more information about the shows and tickets, visit Texas State Presents.

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