The Quartet No. 15 for Guitar and Strings in A minor of 1820 was the last of Paganini’s works in the form and the most extraordinary, eschewing an integrated ensemble texture in favor of according an almost concerto-like prominence to the viola. Though he founded his reputation on the brilliance and agility of the violin, Paganini harbored a special fondness for the dark throatiness of the viola.
- – author Richard Rodda
These days, the name Niccolo Paganini is generally associated with fancy fiddling, as Paganini was arguably the most famous violin virtuoso in the world during the first half of the 19th century. But our first “Celebrity Series” concert at the 2017 Heifetz Institute Festival of Concerts, featured a fascinating foursome playing Paganini writing for two other instruments for which he had a special affinity – the guitar (he wrote more than 200 works for the instrument), and the viola. Heifetz Institute faculty member Roberto Díaz, president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music, and former Principal Violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, joins guitarist Robby Brown, cellist Mo Mo, and violinist Diana Do Hyung Kim to play the unusual five-movement “Viola Quartet No. 15” by Niccolo Paganini. Take a look and listen!