Quartetto Gelato plays Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts


Quartetto Gelato established itself as a dominant force on the emerging "new classical" scene early in its career by winning the coveted title of "NPR 'Performance Today's' Debut Artist of the Year" in 1996. Today, Quartetto Gelato continues its reign as an international sensation with repeat sold-out performances around the globe. This dazzling ensemble appears at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts, Saturday, May 10 at 8 p.m. There is a pre-concert Art to Heart discussion with Howard Kissel New York Daily News chief drama critic and cultural tourist from 7-7:40 p.m. Tickets are $40, $35, $30.

For over a decade, Quartetto Gelato has enchanted audiences and critics worldwide with its exotic blend of musical virtuosity, artistic passion and charismatic presence. New York Newsday succinctly identified its impact on audiences by saying, "If there were ever a group of musicians that could make anyone feel at home with classical music, Quartetto Gelato is it."

Classical in intent, eclectic by design, Quartetto Gelato not only thrills its audiences with the mastery of six instruments it also offers the wonderfully unexpected bonus of a brilliant operatic tenor. With a performance repertoire that travels imaginatively between classical masterworks, operatic arias and the sizzling energy of tangos, gypsy and folk songs, the group's relaxed stage presence and delightful humor establishes an immediate rapport with traditional and non-traditional classical audiences alike. Performed without scores, their shows radiate a sense of spontaneity and excitement rarely seen on the classical stage.

A remarkable talent and a ten-year veteran of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Peter DeSotto combines the facilities to perform as a gypsy virtuoso and as a refined classical violinist. He also has the vocal prowess to sing a full range of repertoire from familiar folk songs to the great Italian operatic arias including "Turandot's," Nessun Dorma. Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic called him, "an amazing violinist capable of playing any style of music convincingly," and he has "one of the most gorgeous voices I have ever heard. I couldn't believe any one person could possess that much talent."

Alexander Sevastian, a prize-winning accordionist, was born in Minsk, Belarus and has performed as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras throughout Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Italy and Japan. In 2001, he arrived in Canada and, in 2003 completed the Advanced Certificate in Performance program at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Quartetto Gelato's previous accordionist, Joseph Macerollo.

Cellist Carina Reeves has played at music festivals all over Canada, the United States and Europe and her love of contemporary music has seen her perform in the Prague Summer Festival. She has worked with the Julliard String Quartet and Peter Serkin in Tanglewood. Early music caught her fancy many years ago and she trained at the Tafelmusik Summer Institute with Christina Mahler. Reeves has played concerts with Furiosi Baroque Ensemble and Toronto's Bach Consort. She has performed in the Toronto Jazz Festival and is part of a revolutionary string trio that works in a self-titled style affectionately called "improvised zen classical."

Clarinetist Kornel Wolak was born in Bialystok and received his early music education in Poland at the Musical Lyceum and at the Music Academy in Poznan. Mastering his craft has brought him the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most known clarinetists of the day: Vlastimil Marez (Prague), Michel Arrignon (Paris), Franklin Cohen, Charles Neidich, David Shiffrin, Thea King and others. He appears in solo, orchestral and chamber performances with various ensembles in North America and Poland. He became a member of Quartetto Gelato in December 2007.

The evening's program takes the audience to Spain, Paris, Brazil, Hungary, Romania and further with works by Edith Piaf, Gioachino Rossini, Maurice Ravel and Carl von Weber, to name a few. And, DeSotto has arranged a variety of evocative Romany works.

Tickets are available online at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, please visit the website at fairfield.edu/quick.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 17, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 248