Thalea String Quartet (photo credit: Curtis Perry) Cristopher Whitley, violin Kumiko Sakamoto, violin, Lauren Spaulding, viola, Alex Cox, cello
Friday, November 17, 2023, 7pm, at the Vacaville Museum, in collaboration with Chamber Music at Rancho Flaubert
Among the important young classical ensembles in North America today, the Thalea String Quartet brings vibrancy and emotional commitment to their dynamic performances. Fueled by the belief that chamber music is a powerful force for building community and human connection, Thalea’s program on November 17th will feature works written in the last decade that celebrate diverse musical traditions from around the world, alongside Beethoven’s great String Quartet Op.135, his final work, composed a year before his death.
The Thalea String Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and China, including at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. They have shared the stage with luminaries of the chamber music world, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, acclaimed Canadian band BADBADNOTGOOD, and visionary R+B artist Charlotte Day Wilson. Thalea is currently the Doctoral Fellowship String Quartet at the University of Maryland.
For more information about Chamber Music at Rancho Flaubert, please visit
Akshaya Avril Tucker – Radha in the Forest (2020) (soprano and string quartet)
Missy Mazzoli – Death Valley Junction (2010)
Caroline Shaw – Valencia (2012)
Ludwig van Beethoven – String Quartet in F major, op. 135 (1826)
Radha in the Forest is based on my adaptation of a Gita Govinda verse from 1100 CE, and imagines Radha, the classical Sanskrit heroine, wandering in a lonely Massachusetts forest, in winter of 2020. The poem shows her strange delirium: completely taken by love of Krishna, imagining him here, but fully alone. The atmosphere is delirious joy floating above painful loneliness. — Akshaya Avril Tucker
Death Valley Junction is a sonic depiction of the town of the same name, a strange and isolated place on the border of California and Nevada, home to three people, a café, a hotel, and an opera house. The quartet is dedicated to Marta Becket, the woman who resurrected and repaired the crumbling opera house in the late 1960’s and performed there every week until her retirement at age 86. The piece begins with a sparse, edgy texture — the harsh desert landscape — and collapses into a wild and buoyant dance, a tribute to Marta’s exuberant energy and unstoppable optimism. —Missy Mazzoli
Valencia, 2021 “There is something exquisite about the construction of an ordinary orange: hundreds of brilliantly colored, impossibly delicate vesicles of juice, ready to explode. This piece is an untethered embrace of the architecture of the common Valencia orange, through billowing harmonics and somewhat viscous chords and melodies. It is also a kind of celebration of awareness of the natural, unadorned food that is still available to us.” —Caroline Shaw
Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet Op.135, 1826 The last string quartet from Beethoven, and the last major work he completed, a year before his death. The last movement is famous for its agonized introductory chords, above which Beethoven wrote the words “Muss es sein?” (Must it be?), which are answered later in the movement by a short theme with the words “Es muss sein!” (It must be!).
There is a discount for students but you must call the museum to inquire: 707-447-4513 or visit the museum during open hours.