San Diego Story
Ken Herman
November 17, 2019

The Danish String Quartet returned to La Jolla Saturday, November 16, bringing a joyful, sonically resplendent Beethoven String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127, and the smoldering intensity of Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 15 in E-flat Minor, Opus 144. This stirring concert opened their week-long residency under the auspices of the La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) and marked their debut in the organization’s recently opened Baker-Baum Concert Hall at The Conrad.

Since I first heard the Danish String Quartet play in 2014 under the auspices of UC San Diego’s ArtPower, I have been smitten by their artistry and persuasive musical communication. LJMS brought the Danish String Quartet back to La Jolla in 2016 and again earlier this year, and each visit has strengthened my first impression of the quartet. The number of worthy younger string quartets on today’s classical musical beat is indeed heartening, and my personal favorites have included the Calder Quartet and the Miró Quartet, and I have payed special attention to the Hausmann Quartet in residence at San Diego State University.

But I am convinced that the Danish String Quartet stands out among the panoply of contemporary musical colleagues. Every piece I have heard them play comes across with an unusually high level of engagement, an immediacy that is compelling.