The following preview has been provided by North Carolina State University Arts NOW Series.

The Balkan Quartet will perform on March 29 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Talley Student Center at NC State University. The program for the Balkan Quartet’s NC State performance includes the US premiere of North Carolina State University composer Rodney Waschka’s String Quartet: Laredo. The piece was composed in 1998 in honor of the Balkan mathematician Svetozar Kurepa (1929-2010), on the occasion of his seventieth birthday in 1999.

Also on the program are works by Aleksandra Vrebalov, a Serbian composer now living in the United States; the Armenian composer Soghomonyan-Komitas; and Aleksandar Gajic, a Serbian composer now living in Canada.

About the Balkan Quartet

Four established chamber and solo musicians joined together and developed into the Balkan Quartet – a dynamic and inspiring string group. Serbian violinists Sinisa Ciric, Mirna Ogrizovic-Ciric, violist Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi and Bulgarian cellist Martin Gueorguiev started their collaboration as section leaders of the Gwinnett Ballet Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia, often playing as a representative quartet for that institution.

 “We were fitting well together on a musical and personal level,” explains Ms. Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi. “In our playing together, I could feel the same energy and understanding that comes from our mutual background,” adds Ms. Mirna Ogrizovic-Ciric.

The idea to form a group that would revive the powerful and unique Balkan ethno sound started early among these four friends. “Eventually, we want to expand our sound,” says Mr. Sinisa Ciric, “and involve different guest artists on instruments such as voice, percussion, clarinet and brass instruments.”

The Balkan Quartet plays music by talented contemporary composers, such as Aleksandra Vrebalov, Aleksandar Gajic, Milos Simic, Brian Mitchell, Konstantin Blagojevic, and others. They then merge this new music with classical string quartet repertoire by composers such as Martinu and Glazunov.

Their focus is to involve and inspire composers to create new music that would use a language reminiscent of the rich Balkan music and, as they now live in the United States, of the folk traditions of the Americas. Their work revivifies the folk heritage of the Balkans on a highly artistic level.

The Balkan Quartet is the quartet in residence at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, Georgia. Among their many other musical activities, Sinisa Ciric is the concertmaster of the Rome Symphony and was a featured soloist in the recent recordings of the ARCO Chamber Orchestra; Mirna Ogrizovic-Ciric is the conductor of the Atlanta Philharmonic and teaches at Berry College; Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; and Martin Gueorguiev teaches at the Atlanta Music Academy.