In the Studio: The Fine Arts Quartet records rarely performed wild early Dvorak string quartet

December 22, 2022


The Fine Arts Quartet has just completed its 21st production for the Naxos label. The all-Dvořák programme has as its centrepiece one of his rarely performed, complex and wild early string quartets, No. 2 in B Flat major (B.17) from 1868–69. This performance is complemented by the composer’s enchanting Bagatelles, Op. 47 (with harmonium!) and Rondo, Op. 94. The recording, produced and engineered by Phillip Schulz, is scheduled for release in 2023.

The internationally renowned Fine Arts Quartet (violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, violist Gil Sharon, cellist Niklas Schmidt), was founded in Chicago in 1946. This year, the Quartet celebrates its 76th anniversary (and Ralph Evans’ 40th anniversary with the ensemble) and continues to live up to its reputation as “one of the gold-plated names in chamber music.” (Washington Post)

The ensemble made its first recording for Naxos in 2006. Featuring Robert Schumann’s 3 String Quartets, Op. 41, it received the American Record Guide’s Critics’ Choice Award and was described as “One of the very finest chamber-music recordings of the year.” From that auspicious beginning, a happy association between artists and label has continued to produce a steady stream of acclaimed performances of eclectic chamber works.

Ralph Evans, 1st violin; Efim Boico, 2nd violin; Gil Sharon, viola; Niklas Schmidt, cello
Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, violins; Niklas Schmidt, cello; Ryoko Morooka, harmonium

All-Dvořák Programme
String Quartet No. 2 in B flat major, B.17
Maličkosti (Bagatelles), Op. 47 for 2 violins, cello, and harmonium
Rondo in G minor, Op. 94 for cello and piano

Fine Arts Quartet (Ralph Evans & Efim Boico, violins; Gil Sharon, viola; Niklas Schmidt, cello); Ryoko Morooka (harmonium); Stepan Simonian (piano)

Recording sessions
Germany: Die Abteikirche Marienmünster (20th–21st December 2022) / Forum der Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg (7th March 2020 & 20th September 2021)

Fine Arts Quartet Backgroud & Discography

Antonín Dvořák Biography & Discography