Borromeo String Quartet


P.O. Box 248Bedford HillsNew York10507United States View Map

SIC Codes:



(914) 244-3803


(914) 244-3878


The Borromeo provides an example of how technology is shaping the production and creation of classical music, a bastion of traditional acoustic sound and repository of centuries-old masterpieces. Operas and concerts are being projected live in movie theaters; music has been written for cellphone ringers and laptops; concert audiences are seeing more and more multimedia presentations; orchestras use text messages to stay in touch with audiences; long-distance musical instruction through high speed Internet2 is common; YouTube videos are used for auditions. Many orchestras now present programs with sophisticated, high-definition video images accompanying the music. With the Borromeo the contrast is all the more striking. A string quartet is the ultimate in musical refinement, four exquisitely blending instruments capable of infinite nuance - two violins, viola and cello that have essentially been unchanged for more than 400 years. Absorbing the technology did not come easily for these players. Longstanding professional string quartets are delicate organisms, in which egos must be balanced, personalities meshed and artistic compromises reached. The push for blanket recording and laptop stands caused tensions. Several members were slow to embrace the practices. At least one felt pressured to do so. But now, they said, the methods have become second nature, merely handmaidens in service to basic music making. The Borromeo began selling its live concert recordings in an October 2003 performance at the Tenri Cultural Center in Manhattan, where it was scheduled to return on Friday. Also on Friday the quartet was to open a homemade Web store,, to sell its performances online, as downloads or in hard copy. The Tenri program is to include the Beethoven quartet; the Canzona movement from Gunther Schuller's Quartet No. 3; the premiere of a quartet by Mohammed Fairouz, "Chorale Fantasy"; and a version of Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue (BWV 582) modified for electric string quartet by Mr. Kitchen. The Borromeo had its origins in the late 1980s at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where Mr. Kitchen; Yeesun Kim, the cellist; and the other two original members were students. Mr. Kitchen and Ms. Kim met there at 16, began playing music together and within a year became a couple. (They are now married and have a 7-year-old son who often travels with them.) On leaving Curtis the quartet moved to the New England Conservatory of Music to study as a group for an artist's diploma. The other two current members are the violist Mai Motobuchi and the second violinist Kristopher Tong. They took their name from the Borromean Islands in Lake Maggiore in Italy, near where they played their first concerts.

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