Calidore-reviewColumbus Dispatch – Jan 2016
By Peter Tonguette

From an early age, chamber music captivated violinist Jeffrey Myers.

In 2006, at age 17, he took in a performance by the Takacs Quartet at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. The experience was memorable.

“It was a performance of Death and the Maiden that I will never forget — just seeing that piece performed live and the energy that they were producing onstage,” Myers said, referring to the work by Franz Schubert. “ I had never witnessed anything like that; it kind of made me hungry to do it myself.”

Four years later, Myers would help establish the Calidore String Quartet, which will perform twice this weekend in Columbus.

Since age 13, the Upper Arlington native, whose parents are retired Columbus schools music educators, had been a student at Chamber Music Connection in Worthington.

Said Myers, 26: “What chamber music can teach you at that age is really important — just the skills of being able to rehearse and make these musical decisions for yourself at such a young age.”

He went on to graduate from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where he helped to establish the Calidore String Quartet in 2010.

Conservatory graduates fill out the rest of the quartet: violist Jeremy Berry, 29; cellist Estelle Choi, 28; and violinist Ryan Meehan, 26. All live in New York; the group is in residence at Stony Brook University on Long Island.

On Saturday, the quartet will perform a concert in the Southern Theatre. And, beginning today, the musicians will participate in a residency at Chamber Music Connection, culminating on Sunday with a free concert featuring both past and present students at theColumbus Mennonite Church on Oakland Park Avenue.

Deborah Price, the founder and artistic director of Chamber Music Connection, remembers Myers as an eager student.

“Jeff had such a love for music and for the communication of chamber music,” Price said.

Saturday’s concert will emphasize works composed late in the careers of classical masters; first on the bill is Quartet in D Major, K. 575, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“(The piece) is one of his last quartets that he wrote,” Myers said. “The perfection that he has in his music is really inspiring.”

And the concert will close with Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80, by Felix Mendelssohn, which was composed in 1847 — the year he died.

“It was actually in the wake of his sister’s death,” Myers said of the piece’s composition. “Mendelssohn was very meticulous in how he would go back and revise his pieces, and with this quartet, it’s a little bit more raw. . . . He actually passed away before he had the chance to revise the quartet.”

Added violist Berry: “You could almost make an argument that it’s the most passionate piece in the string-quartet repertoire, or at least comparable to any other in that regard.”

In between will be a pair of pieces by contemporary composers:Entr’acte by Caroline Shaw and CumuloNimbus by Tom Vignieri.

For the latter, the quartet will be joined by 10 musicians who previously participated in the program at Chamber Music Connection, along with five associated faculty members.

Until recently, Vignieri was the music director of the public-radio program From the Top; Chamber Music Connection students (including Myers) have appeared on the show.

“It’s really bubbly and effervescent and stormy,” Price said ofCumuloNimbus, a world-premiere work. “It’s got a lot of excitement to it; it’s a fast-paced piece.”

Sunday’s concert will include CumuloNimbus, plus Serenade for String Quartet and Chamber Orchestra, composed by Price’s son, Kyle; the latter (also a world premiere) will feature the quartet and other musicians in tandem with about 20 current students at Chamber Music Connection.

“My students have been talking about it since last year,” Price said. “They literally have changed schedules around to make sure that they get to perform in it.”

Myers’ colleagues enjoy visiting his old stamping grounds; the quartet also performed in Columbus last year.

“We tend to think of each other at this point as family members,” Berry said. “And it’s always fun to go to each other’s houses and see our family members’ families, so to speak.”

Myers relishes the homecoming, too.

“I live in New York,” he said, “but I would much rather live here.”