Proteus String Quartet to bring music of Eastern Europe to RIC, April 9

Proteus String Quartet
The Proteus String Quartet, entirely comprised of RIC music faculty, will give an Eastern European themed concert in Gaige Hall Auditorium on Monday, April 9, at 8 p.m.

Proteus will open with Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s String Quartet #1 in E Minor “From My Life,” which “musically narrates the composer’s life, with ambition, passion, dancing, romance, and tragedy,” said John Sumerlin, violinist in the quartet and professor of music at the college.

Smetana began to hear a loud, high-pitched sound towards the end of his life that foreshadowed his onset of deafness and despair, which is dramatically portrayed in this piece, added Sumerlin.

The middle of the program will be devoted to several short folk pieces by Georgian composers that Sumerlin describes as “charming, exotic and picturesque.”

The show will conclude with Russian composer Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet #2, which has been adapted in several recent productions over the last century, including the Broadway production of “Kismet,” and may be recognizable to audience members.

Proteus also consists of RIC faculty member Samuel Breene on violin, Susan Culpo on viola and Steven Laven on cello.

Sumerlin has been a member of the RIC faculty since 1989. He conducts the RIC Chamber Orchestra, and is the director of chamber music at the college. Sumerlin has been first violinist with the American, Dallas, Cincinnati, Honolulu and Santa Fe Opera orchestras.

Breene – who has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Israel and Haiti – taught at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania before coming to RIC as an assistant professor in 2009.

Culpo, who has been on the RIC faculty since 2010, is the assistant principal viola with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and also plays regularly with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra.

Laven, a RIC faculty member since 2010, plays with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, and has held titled positions in the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera and Omaha Symphony Orchestras.

Free Admission. For further information, contact Suzanne Dubois at (401) 456-8205.