Category Archives: Arts

Spotlight on Creativity: “The Coyote File” Unshelved

By Chloe Lindeman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When was the last time you wrote or created something that really made you proud? For Alex Brooks (HC ’17), that moment is now — but it’s been in the works for more than four years.

This Thursday, Brooks, a political science and Russian double major, is releasing the prologue to The Coyote Files, a digital article series he started during high school. It tells the story of the US and Russia fifty years in the future through the eyes of four different characters.

The Bi-College News sat down with the political science and Russian double major to hear what the process has been like for him. Here’s what he had to say:


Did you always know it was going to be a Russia-US story?

Not really … I wanted Russian characters in the story, because this was around the same time I was visiting Russia, participating in Russian programs and stuff. Russia’s a fascinating place, and it has a fascinating history, and so why not have some of it take place in Russia? It’s also a part of the world I understand more than I understand other places … I think the big caveat on what I’m writing is, this is my perspective. I don’t know everything about Russia; this is based on what I know and my experience and what thoughts I have personally.

Did you think a lot about it while you were studying abroad in Russia?

I did. It was hard for me to talk about exactly what it was about. I was trying to actually work on it in Russia. It was a lot harder to work on it in Russia because I was thinking in Russian and my ability to write in Russian is not as good … We had grammar class, and I was just tired of grammar exercises, so I would try to see if I could write a short story to use the grammar. Honestly, the idea didn’t work that well, but at least I got to explore what I could write in Russian.

You’ve been working on this for four years. Have things changed?

I’ve changed a lot; the story’s changed a lot, too. It’s nothing like whatever I was working on at first … I overhauled the story and completely scrapped everything I was doing and started from scratch at least five different times. I’ve written lots and lots of drafts. For every overhaul, I’ve written a draft of something … I did a lot of deleting stuff like crazy, especially if I learned something new and I’d realize that this element of something that I’d think is really important is not in the story at all; it’s time to change it. Or I’d discover I’m wrong about one sort of thing. Or I’d learn something new and I’d really want to work with that. But now I think … it’s ready now.

Was there ever a time when you thought about scrapping the project and doing something totally different?

I mean, not really. It’s weird because it’s something that’s stuck over the past few years, and there are times when I’m not working on it as much. I guess there are times when I have doubts. Like serious, serious doubts. And I’m wondering whether I’m going to do anything or whether it’s a waste of time or something. That’s definitely a thing, that’s happened multiple times. But ultimately, this is something I’m passionate about. I really like writing … at this point, I have the story; I just need to put it out there.


Brooks didn’t say much about the background of the story itself since the prologue is the background. He did note that among the characters are Allison King, “the daughter, basically, of the Bill Gates of their time;” Andrei Volodin, “who runs Kremlin Corp. … [which is] an arms corporation;” and Bagha, a “cybernetic soldier.”

“I’m starting with Trump and Putin … the prologue starts in 2020, so it’s not like now, and of course it hasn’t happened, but it’s foreseeable,” said Brooks.

You can read the prologue at any time after its release tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 25, at midnight.

“20 Feet from Stardom:” The Making of a Real Star

By Abby Hoyt, Co-Editor-in-Chief

In an era where most Hollywood singers sport commanding attitudes and resplendent clothing, Lisa Fischer’s humble nature and casual attire convinces the world to re-examine what makes someone a star.

Fischer strolled onto the stage in Bryn Mawr College’s Goodhart Theatre with a deep purple shawl draped gently across her body. A long, flowing yellow skirt occasionally floated away to reveal glittery sandals and painted toes. But don’t let this casual look fool you. This singer got her start as a back-up singer for legendary names like Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones and Luther Vandross.

Despite their talent, background singers tend to go unnoticed, and their voices are often overshadowed by the star of the show. Filmmaker Morgan Neville made a documentary in 2013 called “20 Feet From Stardom,” which examined the dynamic between background singers and the stars they work with. The film features renowned back-up singers like Lisa Fischer, Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Judith Hill, portraying the struggles each woman went through in her quest to start a solo career.

Both Merry Clayton and Darlene Love show a small hint of disappointment when they speak about their solo careers. They express disappointment that they didn’t end up being the big stars they expected.

Fischer differs from these women in that she always found comfort in “walking the street and not having to worry about putting on sunglasses and hiding out.” In the documentary she describes her record deal as “just one of those things that just kind of blossomed,” and explains that she understands how fortunate she was. In 1992, she won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her song “How Can I Ease the Pain.”

While the modern Grammy Award winner featured in an episode of MTV’s Cribs has a mansion decked out with the latest technology and impressive memorabilia, a scene in the documentary shows Fischer’s modest and cluttered apartment, giving the viewer insight into Fischer’s genuine humility. The camera pans around the room showing the apartment in a light state of disarray. We see a pile of clutter in the corner — clutter that turns out to be several gold albums and gifts from the musicians she has toured with. Later in the film we see her Grammy on a shelf with various other knick-knacks and picture frames. She blushes as she points it out and playfully admits, “Oh and here’s my Grammy…I just kinda keep it there. I don’t know what to do with it.”

After winning her Grammy she started to pursue a second record deal, but things didn’t go exactly as planned. “I was working on a second record and I don’t know. I just took too long. There was this window and it just took too long.”

Despite this setback, Fischer kept singing simply because she just likes to sing. In the film she is quoted as saying, “I love melodies. I’m in love with the sound vibration and what it does with other people. It’s familiar but so special and you’re just so happy when you get there and you try to stay there for as long as you can.”

And stay there she does. Her music combines elements of smooth jazz and soul that make the listener feel instantly relaxed. Her songs consist of mostly melodious tones and a cacophony of oos and ahhs that seem to never end. She’s careful to hit every note, and she leaves the audience to breathe in each note she makes and anxiously await the next one. In the film, she compares her singing style to that of a feather that was blown into the air.

“You just go, never hit a hitch,” she says. “You just land. That’s what it feels like to me.”

This is clearly conveyed to anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing her sing. There is so much effort that goes into every sound she makes, and the sound seems to come from her whole body, not just her mouth. She sways around the stage as if she is using her body to bounce the notes around the room. She doesn’t just hold the microphone; she tangos with it, creating different sounds by moving it in circles around her mouth. Her voice is genuine and warm. Even audience members with limited musical background (such as myself) had chills throughout the performance.

She began touring with the band, Grand Baton, in 2014, and in this setting she is advertised as the main attraction. However, her years as a backup singer have clearly left an impact on her, as she makes sure that the talent dynamics on stage are horizontal rather than vertical. She takes care to keep the main focus of the stage is not herself, and she dedicates generous time in her performance to feature each of her band members and allow them to go “off book” and show the room their talent.

Once she finished singing, several audience members came up to the stage to bring her bouquets of flowers. She graciously accepted the gifts, taking the time to bend down and thank each person individually. She walked back to center stage, put the flowers down, and softly thanked the audience, saying, “Thank you so much for these gifts, but just know that the best gift you could have given me was coming here tonight.”

Her concerts convey her desire to sing purely because she loves to sing. At the same time, they invite you into her heart and soul for an hour, and you walk away in paralyzing peace.

In the documentary, Sting makes an appearance. He comments on what separates real stars from the rest of the performers out there and argues that there is a “spiritual component to what they do that’s got nothing to do with worldly success.” He describes singing as “more an inner journey,” for true stars and that “any other success is just cream on the cake.”

Despite her start near the back of the stage, Fischer’s presence on stage and distinct musical talent have earned her a place among the stars of modern music.

From the print edition published Dec. 7, 2016

Consent to Be Seen: Magill Library’s Newest Exhibit

By Sophie Webb, Features Editor

Sharpless Gallery in Haverford College’s Magill Library is home to a new exhibit, this one titled Consent to Be Seen. A collection of works by Riva Lehrer, the exhibit opened Oct. 28 and is curated by Courtney Carter ‘17 and Assistant Professor of Writing Kristin Lindgren.

The exhibit is a collection of thirteen pieces of art and two display cases of sketches, all by artist and disability activist Riva Lehrer. Lehrer is a Chicago-based artist whose work focuses on representing the human body, specifically differently abled and physically abnormal bodies and people whose identities have been challenged or traditionally not accepted by society. In Consent to Be Seen, she focuses specifically on the biomedicine idea of “informed consent,” or the permission a patient can give to receive treated from the doctor. But rather than focusing on biomedicine, the exhibit centers around the idea of consenting to being seen. In her work, Lehrer aims to represent disabled bodies and people whose identities are unaccepted as full subjects and full people, challenging the viewer to see something more than the disability.

Each of the thirteen pieces in the exhibit depicts a body, but the medium used ranges from acrylic to colored pencil to collage. The pieces are quite large, and all together they have a commanding presence in the room. Accompanying each piece is a paragraph written by Lehrer that describes the piece and offers more insight, so that the viewer can know more about the subjects of her paintings, whether that subject be herself, transgender poet and activist Eli Clare, activist and University of Wisconsin at Madison professor Finn Enke or Curator and Art Historian Rhoda Rosen. Each of these subjects and the others that accompany them have a story to tell, and Lehrer attempts to tell that story through her art.

The power of the exhibit can’t truly be conveyed through words; it has to be seen. The exhibit will remain open through late January.  Until then, it will continue to influence those who see it, making its viewers pause for a moment and truly think.

From the print edition published Dec. 7, 2016

ASA Takes Center Stage in “A Work in Translation”

By Meredith Scheiring, Contributing Writer

Saturday, Oct. 1 was the annual Bryn Mawr Asian Students Association (ASA) Culture Show. Titled “A Work in Translation,” this year’s event featured several groups from the Bi- and Tri-Co, the Philadelphia area, and around the country. The show opened with Kyo Daiko, a Philadelphia community group associated with the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. This talented group performed taiko drumming, traditional Japanese percussion that was both captivating to watch and incredible to hear. The quartet was followed by one of two films produced for the show. The film shared interviews of students in the community who discussed questions and intersections of identity translation both on and off campus. Afreen, a Bryn Mawr dance group, was up next, performing a spirited dance to a dhol, or drum, song that got the crowd pumped up. On a more serious note, Rhea Manglani ’17 of Bryn Mawr performed two spoken word pieces exploring first the college transition and experience and then questions of love and self-love.

Miranda Canilang and Friend Chaiprasit were the stars of the next performance as a couple in Tai-๑ne. This energetic group performed a conglomeration of bamboo dancing, which is “a festive traditional dance shared by many Southeast Asian cultures” such as Thailand, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The final performance before intermission was a stand-up comedy routine by Subhah Agarwal, an Indian-American comedian who shared her experiences growing up in the Midwest and exploring her identity as both a woman and a comedian in the context of her upbringing by “strict parents in a suburban world.”

Hometown Hero, a Bi-Co band, began the second half by playing amazing covers of three of their favorite songs; their performance was followed by the second ASA film, which explored the theme of language translation alongside translation of identity and culture in interviews with ASA and other Bryn Mawr students. Two dance groups then performed pieces, starting with Mayuri, the Tri-Co South Asian fusion dance team. Their first performance of the year, the dance featured “Item Girl, a lively and upbeat medley of songs performed by some of Bollywood’s sassiest ladies.” Also in their first performance of the year, Bi-Co Korean Pop dance group Choom Boom shared Genie, a piece showcasing that “our passion is what drives our success.”

The show closed with an emotional and moving performance by Rachel Rostad, winner of a prize from the Academy of American Poets who has also been featured on both Upworthy and Jezebel. Rostad read from her chap-book “Homecoming,” sharing the story of searching for and meeting her biological mother in Korea. Several Bryn Mawr students then modeled traditional and modern Asian styles, culminating a full and engaging night with a lively Fashion Show. ASA President Amy Xu shared some final remarks about the importance of finding and creating spaces in our communities to celebrate Asian, Pan-Asian, and Asian-American identities, and “A Work in Translation” was a fantastic event to do just that.

From the print edition published Oct. 5, 2016

Philadanco Performance Probes Race, Gender Boundaries

By Dilesha Tanna, Layout Editor

The theater was dark and packed with an eager audience. Beams of light and foggy mist slowly filled the empty stage. Dancers appeared on stage, moving gracefully in the silence. Soon, the music started, and the dancers synchronized their steps to its rhythmic beats. And with that, the show began.

On September 23, the well-acclaimed dance group Philadanco performed in Goodhart Auditorium at Bryn Mawr College. They put together a performance that consisted of four 15 minute dance pieces, each one unique in its own special way. The first piece immediately grabbed the audience’s attention as it began by manipulating perspective and dimension as the dancers arranged themselves in a straight vertical line. In between the consistent action of the dance, there were parts where the music stopped and the dance focused on the breathing and silent movements of the dancers. Following this dance, the second piece was more upbeat and added elements such as claps and stomps to fit in with the rhythm of the music. In direct contrast, the third dance showed the dancers’ movements like black silk. It focused on the swift yet graceful and smooth movements of the dancers, who were adorned in black costumes. The show finished with the last piece emphasizing the sharpness of the dancers and their environment through their movements, stage lighting, and contrasting black and red outfits.

Additionally, the show brought together the traditions of African-American dance with elements of ballet, lyrical, modern, and jazz, demonstrating that dance transcends all cultures. There is no language needed to understand such an art form. Even the choice of African and American music brought out this amalgamation of cultures. The rhythms of the songs and the styles of different cultural dance forms enhanced the meaning of the performance.

Philadanco aims to share a message about discrimination with the audience by including choreography in their repertory that mixes dialogue in with the songs and dance to present some of the racism Black individuals have faced. Their message traces back to the origins of their company, which helps provide opportunities for Black dancers to perform and express their love and creativity for this art form.

Along with providing a unique perspective on race, Philadanco also displayed an interesting view on gender in some of the works performed. In dance performances, men are often in charge of carrying women for various leaps, jumps, and flips. However, in their evening of dance, the gender roles were sometimes obscured. They incorporated steps where men lifted women, men lifted men, and women lifted women. Even their costumes demonstrated a similar appearance, as one of their pieces included both men and women wearing black dress-like costumes.

Overall, the message of the show brought an interesting perspective to the value of dance among all cultures, and the variety of costumes, stage lights, formations, and movements kept the stage in a constant state of excitement.

From the print edition published Oct. 5, 2016

Landscapes and Cityscapes in Magill Take Viewers on a Journey

By Sophie Webb, Features Editor

The art gallery in Haverford’s Magill Library is nestled in the center of the building in the midst of books, study rooms, and students. The current exhibit, curated by Faye Hirsch, senior editor of Art in America, is a series of visual works by Haverford Professor of Fine Arts and Department Chair Ying Li. Li is an acclaimed artist whose work has been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Philadelphia Inquirer. The exhibit at Magill is entitled Ying Li: Geographies, and displays 24 of her landscape paintings and a handful of sketches known as her jazz drawings.

Entering the exhibit, the viewer is greeted by an array of colors that jump out from the paintings lining each wall of the room. The format of the exhibit brings the viewer full circle around the perimeter of the room, back to the start point. The journey through the exhibit feels like a trip, each set of paintings inspired by a different place in Li’s life. The exhibit begins with some of Li’s jazz drawings. The sketches feature humans–some playing instruments, some drawn in black, others in blue or red. The viewer is then transported to New York City. Li spent time residing and creating art in New York City, and the paintings in this section of the gallery imitate the vibrancy of the city and the bustling of human life. The paintings here are bold and chunky, with the paint applied heavily in many layers on the canvasses. The pieces in this section and throughout the exhibit are designed to play with the viewer’s perception, offering one image as seen from up close, and another from a few steps back.

After New York City, the viewer travels to the coast of Cranberry Island, Maine. The paintings here are in the same chunky style that Li used in New York City, and connected by a purple hue depicting one of Li’s favorite subjects: water. The journey continues from Maine to Switzerland, transitioning from a purple theme to a blue one, and from chunky, textured paintings, to smooth ones. The works in this section show Lake Maggiore and its surrounding mountainscapes on the border of Switzerland and Italy. These are followed by more city works, organized in a 6×6 grid of individual pieces that collaborate to form a larger image. The exhibit ends with another set of jazz drawings. This return to the simplicity of the sketches perhaps is perhaps symbolic of a return for Li back to normalcy. Done with her travels, she’s back with her sketchpad, observing and creating.

The exhibit is open until Oct. 7, and is supported by the John B. Hurford ‘60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, as well as the Haverford College Libraries.

From the print edition published Oct. 5, 2016

Eurydice: A Modern Take on the Classic Story of Orpheus

By Daisy Chen, Staff Writer

“Take a pamphlet and a rock.” — Wait. A rock?

I walked into an already almost full auditorium. The impressive array of props on stage included a wall of blue one gallon water jugs and a half-cut car.

Eurydice is a modernized version of an original Greek mythology. The play starts out introducing the two main characters, Eurydice and Orpheus, who fall in love and get married. Soon thereafter, Eurydice dies and goes to the underworld, where she reunites with her mother. Meanwhile, Orpheus mourns her death by playing sad music and writing her letters he hopes will reach her. Orpheus does end up traveling to the underworld to rescue Eurydice, but unlike in the original myth, this Eurydice is the one who causes Orpheus to look back, making futile his attempts to rescue her. In this version, Eurydice lost all her memories and Orpheus became a stranger to her, so she thought it best to not follow him back.

In the original mythology, as Orpheus and Eurydice reach the gates of hell, a suspicious Orpheus turns around to see if it was actually Eurydice following him. He fears that Hades, lord of the underworld, had deceived him by sending someone else.

Unlike most plays, this production of Euridice was, to some degree, interactive and full of surprises. The rock given to each audience member at the door entered turned out to be a ticket to the underworld, though it turned into something of a distraction as several people dropped their stone throughout the course of the play. The most surprising moment was the loud stomp that echoed through the auditorium when a light shined on Orpheus as he literally climbed down to the underworld from our seats on the bleachers with a rope. When they asked us to keep the aisles clear because the actors would be running through, this was the last thing I expected.

On the other hand, the entering of the Stones and Hades in a floater that says “sticks and stones” was quite humorous. The Stones spoke directly to the audience at one point, each in a different language, which was very interactive and drew our attention. Hades also made quite the entrance with music and some pick-up lines for Eurydice.

To me, the most interesting and creative aspect of the production was that all the props on the stage was unexpectedly resourceful. I was most captivated by the wall of water jugs. They used it to transfer the letters between Orpheus and Eurydice, but it was also the door to the underworld.

I did not expect this level of detail and sophistication in the design of the set. Even the water dispenser served a bigger purpose than I had originally thought: from using it in the beginning of the play as a setting for Eurydice to drink water, to letting water flow out to create a small pond for sound effects and place setting.

Although this modern adaptation has the same tragic end as the original tale, this version continues the story as Eurydice and her mother re-dip themselves in the river, putting them both into deep sleep just as Orpheus comes down to the underworld yet again to find his wife, only to suddenly forget all his memories.

Lights out.

I was disappointed that Eurydice and Orpheus did not get the happy ending I had hoped they would, but a tragic ending to a love story captured the beauty of the traditional legend.

I’m no critic, but for me Eurydice was worth watching. Besides, admission was free.

Beijing Opera Singer Yonghong Jia Performs at Haverford

By Charlie Lynn, Staff Writer

Kun and Beijing Opera singer Yonghong Jia visited Haverford’s campus on Wednesday to sing two short opera pieces and discuss the history and performance of Chinese operas. Jia performed portions of both The Peony Pavilion and The Drunken Beauty Yang after a brief talk on the numerous styles of Chinese opera and the years of practice necessary to perfect their performance.

Jia arrived in the United States from China in 1999 as part of New York’s Lincoln Center Festival’s production of The Peony Pavilion. From 1999 to 2003, Jia toured with the production around the world, visiting multiple countries  including Australia, Italy, Singapore, Australia and Denmark, to name a few.  Jia currently lives in New Jersey and continues to perform as well as educate people about Chinese culture and art.

“I am always interested in spreading the art of Beijing opera.” Jia said, “I was so thrilled to be able to talk about this art from today.”

During Jia’s talk, she gave examples of the four main characters in Beijing opera: sheng (male characters), dan (female characters), jing (male characters with painted faces) and chou (clown-like characters).  Each character has multiple sub-types. Jia explained that specific types of characters are assigned to performers at a young age. Different character types not only differ vocally, but they each have a specific way of moving on stage.

Jia also detailed the intensity of training for young performers of Chinese opera. Many begin studying at eight years old. Chinese opera, she said, soon becomes their main focus. Jia herself was a latecomer to the art form. She explained, “I didn’t start learning until I was 17. Firstly, because I had been a dancer when I was young, so that was my main focus. Also, I didn’t want to lose something in my education.” She joked that many of the schools in which Chinese opera is studied, “are like the army” in the intensity of their practice.

The first piece that Jia performed was from The Peony Pavilion. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of author of The Peony Pavilion, the Ming Dynasty era playwright Tang Xianzu. Haverford Professor Shizhe Huang compared the works of Tang with those of William Shakespeare.

“This year we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and of Tang Xianzu, maybe China’s Shakespeare.” She characterized the performance of The Peony Pavilion by Jia as “part of this celebration.”

During a break for a costume change for Jia, audience members were invited on stage to try on some of the other Chinese opera costumes Jia had brought along with her. Pablo Teal HC‘20, who at one point was dressed in a bright gown and headpiece, complete with a sword, described the experience as fantastic.

As a third-year Chinese student, he explained that it had been highly recommended by his Chinese professor that he attend the event.

“I haven’t seen Chinese opera before, but I think it’s fantastic. It’s really cool. He added, “As someone who also studies music, the meter is so different. The approach is so different.”

Nicholas Banks (HC ’20) said he also enjoyed the performance. Banks was already familiar with Chinese opera, but, he said, “It was really great to learn more specific details about this art form. Obviously it’s something that’s not talked about that often. It’s just great to understand more about it.”

The Tri-College Presents: “As Thou Desires”

By Kate Hawthorne, Staff Writer

On the weekend of Nov. 11-13, Swarthmore College’s Department of Theater and Production Ensemble 2016 presented “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare, directed by Alex Torra. The production included three Bryn Mawr College students as actors (Catherine Campo ’19 as Orlando, Margot Wisel ’18 as Jacques, and Emma Wells ’17 as Celia) and a Haverford College student as Assistant Scenic Designer (Yoshi Nomura ’17). The production was done in original pronunciation, which seemed to be a mix of Irish, Scottish, Northern, and Cockney accents. However, the actors in this production used a version that was less thick than the original pronunciation done at the Globe Theatre.

The set was quite lovely and included a variety of trees that were moved around to display the different settings. The palace in a scene before the characters Celia and Rosalind run away was shown with a bunch of little plants in elaborate flower pots to represent a garden, which were removed to show the transition to the forest of Arden. The main set, however, stayed mostly the same – only taking a few items on and off stage to change the scene in small ways. Things like hay bales, two sawhorses and a piece of wood, and a wheelbarrow were among these props that were essential to their respective sets. The costuming was also quite good – the favorite aspect of many was the sheep hats, made by Elizabeth Berumen-Gonzalez ’19, that were used by a few actors to present sheep during conversations between Silvius and Corin.

Additionally, the play had quite a lot of double casting. The characters of Adam and Silvius, Amiens and Audrey, Le Beau, Phebe, First Lord, and Forester, Corin, Sir Oliver Martext, Second Lord, and Forester, Charles, William, Jacques de Bois, and Forester, and Duke Senior and Duke Frederick were all double casted. The actor who played Duke Senior and Duke Frederick (Kendall Byrd ’17) was especially impressive due to the sheer amount of work that was needed for each role.

Overall, the play was wonderful and the audience loved the performance. A few people mentioned that the original vernacular was much easier to understand then they had thought it would be. All of the actors were spectacular and the production team did a wonderful job on the performance.




The Borromeo Quartet Showcases a New Side of the Old

By Chloe Lindeman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

You might expect a group that reads its music on sleek laptop computers to favor contemporary music over classical sonatas. And although the Borromeo Quartet featured the works of three classic composers in its concert at Haverford College on Friday, Nov. 11, the music was hardly business as usual.

Violinists Nicholas Kitchen and Kristopher Tong, violist Mai Motobuchi and cellist Yeesun Kim,  each having had experiences playing  with some of the world’s greatest musicians, came together on stage  for a night of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Of the three quartets performed, Haydn’s String Quartet No. 2 in F major was the most traditional. As the opening piece, it gave listeners a chance to acquaint themselves with the group. The first violin and cello carried the melody line, yet the whole group was actively engaged throughout. Kitchen and Tong were placed opposite each other, in a relatively uncommon arrangement for string quartets today, giving the audience a clear view of both violinists’ emotive body language as they played.

The group was not afraid of silence. Throughout the concert, they took full advantage of pauses in the music, refusing to rush forward into the next theme.

Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C major, aptly named “Dissonance,” brought to light a side of the composer you’ve likely never heard. Although certain parts conformed more closely to the classical master’s style, there was always the promise of a deviation to unexpected material. Rather than shying away from these surprising moments, the Borromeo Quartet dug in and emphasized Mozart’s use of new ideas.

The final piece, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, had some forward-thinking themes of its own. From the first movement, a dark fugue, to the final, racing allegro, the Borromeo maintained the high intensity of the piece. The quartet was written just a year before Beethoven’s death and is considered one of his most mature works.

One of the group’s strengths lay in the skillful interplay between parts. Though trading of melodies was at times limited to the first violin and the cello, in other instances Beethoven made sure each of the instruments was on equal footing, and the Borromeo Quartet allowed each of its members to shine.

The group’s dynamic range was also striking. From fortissimos fortified by the excitement of the players, to pianissimos softer than most quartets would dare to play, the quartet ventured to the extremes, and the result was a treat for the audience.