Pacifica Quartet will perform West Coast premiere of commissioned composition

Pacifica Quartet will perform West Coast premiere of commissioned composition
Pacifica Quartet first violinist Simin Ganatra will perform with fellow string members Austin Hartman, violinist; Guy Ben-Ziony, violist; and cellist Brandon Vamos and join cellist Johannes Moser and Pavel Haas Quartet to open Segerstrom Center’s 2017-18 Chamber Series. (Photo by Saverio Truglia)

The Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet will join cellist Johannes Moser for a concert to launch Segerstrom Center for the Arts' 2017-18 Chamber Series.

Pacifica Quartet will present the West Coast premiere of "Splendid Hopes" Monday with a program featuring two cello works — one contemporary, the other classical — in the Samueli Theater.


The evening will begin with "Splendid Hopes," a composition written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe, who is known for her blend of minimalism and rock in classical forms.

A letter composer Franz Schubert wrote near the end of his life inspired Wolfe's work. Wolfe wrote the piece for Moser and the Pacifica Quartet, inspired by the power and depth of their playing.


The evening will also feature Schubert's String Quintet in C Major D. 956.

"We're offering something quite avant-garde," said Simin Ganatra, Pacifica first violinist. "When Julia said she'd write this piece, just that alone makes it important.

"When we first played it, our initial thought was, 'This is difficult,' " Ganatra said with a laugh. "She really knows how to write well for pieces that have so many colors and textures in continuous motion."

Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting, who are longtime supporters of the Segerstrom Center, commissioned the composition.

Founded in 1994, Pacifica Quartet is considered one of the leading chamber ensembles. The group became the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in March 2012 and previously performed as the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A slightly different lineup won the Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance in 2009.

In addition to Ganatra, the quartet is composed of cellist Brandon Vamos, violist Guy Ben-Ziony and violinist Austin Hartman.

Ganatra said she hopes the audience feels a range of emotions when listening to the works.

"Sometimes, I think when people are listening to new music, they have this funny concept of trying to understand it intellectually," Ganatra said. "I think it's important not to think too much — let it come to you and be open to that experience."

If You Go

What: Pacifica Quartet with cellist Johannes Moser

When: 8 p.m. Monday

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Samueli Theater, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Cost: Tickets start at $29

Information: (714) 556-2787 or visit

Twitter: @KathleenLuppi