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This preview was provided by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild.
By Lawrence Bivins*
October 2010 was a pivotal month in the life of Joseph Lin – and not just because it was the month he was named first violinist of the storied Juilliard String Quartet. Something even more important took place at the same time: Mr. Lin became a father. "The offer from the Juilliard came in just a few days before delivery," says Lin, who was in Japan with his expecting wife when he was selected to helm what is likely America's most august chamber ensemble. "As important as that news was, it wasn't as exciting as the birth of my son," says Mr. Lin with a sincere modesty.
Mr. Lin, all of 32 years old upon being named to the Juilliard Quartet, succeeded Nick Eanet, who stepped down in June 2010 when a chronic illness made extensive international touring impractical. "It was something that came quite unexpectedly," says Mr. Lin, who has spent the last four years on the faculty of Cornell University. Having made Ithaca, N.Y., their home, Mr. Lin and his wife had settled into the community for what they thought would be the long haul. "We've been quite happy here," according to Mr. Lin, who is now completing his final semester on the Cornell faculty prior to relocation downstate and a teaching role at the Juilliard School next fall. "When the offer came, it was impossible to turn down."
Founded in 1946, the Juilliard is globally admired for the clarity, purity and sheer beauty of its performances. It's first-ever concert in Raleigh occurred in 1949 in what would launch RCMG's Masters Series. "Longevity is the word that comes to my mind when I think about what makes the Juilliard Quartet so special," explains the Harvard-trained Mr. Lin. Most chamber ensembles disband when their founders decide to retire. Not the Juilliard, which continues from one generation to the next. That's not to suggest turnover occurs often. "Two of my colleagues – [violist] Samuel Rhodes and [cellist] Joel Krosnick – have been there for four decades," Mr. Lin says, "and they are already in the quartet's second generation." Yet the group's trademark sound remains traceable to founding players like the legendary Robert Mann, who spent half a century with the group. "The dialogue they began continues and evolves," says Mr. Lin. "It's a different kind of vision for a string quartet."
The Juilliard String Quartet will perform at Raleigh's Fletcher Opera Theater on Sunday, March 20th as part of RCMG's Masters Series. Its concert, which follows an appearance the prior evening at RCMG's annual gala, will include works by Bartok, Beethoven and Schubert. For additional information, visit, www.rcmg.org.
*Lawrence Bivins chairs RCMG's Marketing Committee. Reach him at email@example.com.