Verona Quartet performs live for the Chamber Music Society of Detroit



Verona Quartet: Jonathan Ong, Abigail Rojansky, Dorothy Ro, Jonathan Dormand

With limitations on live appearances forced by the pandemic, the group gave in to digital gigs until recently.

Abigail Rojansky, violist of the Verona Quartet, began her musical inclinations very young after getting along with her mother. Her professional achievements progressed as she made deals with others.

Although Rojansky wanted to concentrate on ballet lessons, his mother wanted her to enroll in violin lessons, following the vocation of the youngster’s grandfather. The deal allowed Rojansky to study both dance and violin, but over time the ballet stopped and a preference for the viola set in.

When the Verona Quartet formed about eight years ago – with violinists Jonathan Ong and Dorothy Ro as well as cellist Jonathan Dormand – there were brainstorming discussions to come to agreements on what was needed. perform at concerts that have made them tour on four continents.

With limitations on live appearances forced by the pandemic, the band gave in to digital gigs until recently. Masked and vaccinated, the quartet happily performed their second round of stage recitals for the Chamber Music Society of Detroit (CMSD) as the evening performance was also broadcast live.

Two concerts

“We are delighted to be playing three pieces that we really love,” said Rojansky, whose band will be on stage. starting at 17h Saturday May 15 at the Seligman Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills and digital replay at 8 p.m.

“The first is a contemporary piece (‘Quartet’) by Reena Esmail, who combined Indian classical music with Western classical tradition in a magical way. A second piece is the “Sextet” by Richard Strauss, and for that we will be joined by Nicholas Mariscal on cello and Jordan Bak on viola; the piece comes from Capriccio Strauss opera. The third piece is Dvorak’s ‘American Quartet’.

“The concert is drawn from a wide range of our repertoire and a variety of generations and styles. The first two pieces refer to and pay homage to popular cultures beyond the classical Western tradition. Dvorak refers to the sounds of the late 19th century and the folk music he listened to in America.

Abigail Rojansky
Abigail Rojansky

Verona, a faculty member at Oberlin College and the Ohio Conservatory of Music, formed when the members were advanced students at Indiana University. Their professional combination was encouraged by the Pacifica Quartet, which was presented by the CMSD.

“I went to a music school in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the violin students played the viola,” recalls Rojansky, 31.

“I ended up playing both quite seriously until I decided to focus on the viola at Oberlin, where I did my undergraduate studies.

“After Indiana, we went [on faculty] at the Julliard School as a quartet then at the New England Conservatory as a quartet. We were fortunate to have performed at places like Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC ”

Various crops

Verona, whose recognition included the Cleveland Quartet Award 2020 from Chamber Music America, performs music by many Jewish composers.

“I have done a lot of research, especially on Jewish composers who have been lost in history, and I was struck by the incredible music that exists and the preponderant part of this music in the classical repertoire”, Rojansky said. , who did his bat mitzvah in California and visited relatives in Israel.

“On the birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a very famous and beloved Jewish composer, we performed works by Weinberg during this season.

“We love and play Shostakovich a lot, who was a Weinberg defender.”

Eager to blend art from different cultures, Verona worked with Chamber Music Abu Dhabi to perform for audiences in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One requested project involved collaboration with local poets.

“Poetry is a very important part of artistic culture in the United Arab Emirates,” Rojansky explained.

“Their poets are celebrities, kind of like rock stars, and we suggested western classical music. The poets listened to and wrote poems in Arabic – we had English translations – based on this music that they had never heard. Without the background, they got the essence.

Verona, who performed in Kalamazoo and entered a music competition at the University of Michigan, has ongoing goals that involve diversity of composers, timelines, styles, and cultural backgrounds with a history of connection.

They chose the name Verona because of its importance in the plots of William Shakespeare.


The Verona Quartet presents a 5 pm concert on Saturday May 15 at the Seligman Performing Arts Center, 22305 W. 13 Mile, Beverly Hills. The show will be accessible remotely at 8 p.m. $ 10 to $ 30 live / pay what you can remotely (available for a week on request at (313) 335-3350.



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