The Ciompi Quartet is off to Europe for concerts in Munich and Vienna. The Ciompi has performed in Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt, Innsbruck, and other cities in Germany and Austria, but this will be their first concert in Vienna, home of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms (not to mention Johann Strauss, Mahler, Schoenberg, and many others slightly less exalted). The quartet will bring a piece of Duke to the great musical city: not only themselves, but a work by a current Duke graduate student, David Kirkland Garner, whose “Thirteen fiddle Tunes: I Ain’t Broke (But I’m Badly Bent)” grew out of  Stephen Jaffe’s composition seminar last year. Quartet members thought the little pieces were of very high quality and urged David to make a complete work out of them. The piece has drawn raves in its initial performances; now the bluegrass/classical work will be tested in the world capital of classical music.

The Ciompi’s concert in Munich was arranged by Duke’s very active alumni club in that city, with the help of George Dorfman, Director of Alumni Affairs. In Vienna, the first performance will be under the auspices of the US embassy.  President Richard Broadhead helped arrange this concert by contacting the US ambassador in Austria, William Eacho. Ambassador Eacho, as it happens, is a Duke alumnus!  The other Viennese concert will be at the famous Michaelkirche, whose history is entwined with the musical life of the city.

The Ciompi Quartet, founded at Duke in 1965, has performed in most major American cities, in Germany, France, England, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, China, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica and Bolivia.  When not traipsing around the world, the Quartet also plays frequently in Duke dormitories. Look for upcoming Ciompi events at the Nelson Music Room and in Perkins Library.    

– Fred Raimi