Quartet Luminoso comes to Mesa College

Reilly Buckenham, Features Editor

San Diego is filled with many incredibly talented people of all backgrounds and Mesa College has given its students an opportunity to witness that greatness, specifically, within the music community. That opportunity being an admission-free music concert held on Mesa’s campus.

On March 4, a small performance by Quartet Luminoso was held in the C-100 building, behind the Apolliad Theatre, showcasing the musical minds of Francesca Savage, Paivikki Nykter, Cecilia Kim, and Robert Zelickman.

The group executed a series of powerful pieces by those of musicians past, including Jean Sibelius and Astor Piazzolla.

The concert was a lovely experience that displayed each individuals talent on top of their success as a quartet.

Many of the pieces gave a somber tone before picking up into a feeling equivalent to that of spring time, with the slowing and the speeding of tempos, strong notes from the string instruments, each with their own singular sounds, and noticeable influence from the only woodwind instrument played by Zelickman.

Made up of three string instruments: a viola (Savage), a cello (Kim), and a violin (Nykter) as well as a single woodwind, the clarinet (Zelickman); the quartet offered an intimate experience for students to enjoy their musical stylings.

A brief history behind each piece was also given, as well as the opportunity to talk with the musicians afterwards for any questions the students had about the compositions.

After the completion of the first quartet, the group briefly separated to become a string trio and played Sibelius’ “Suit in A Major” (1889) and Piazzolla’s “Concierto.” According to the three musicians, “Concierto” was written specifically with a trio in mind and they played it beautifully. Each instrument complimented each other’s sound with ease and brought an uproar of applause from the audience.

The trio then went back into a quartet reintroducing Zelickman’s clarinet for the final performance, “Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 2,” composed by Bernard Henrick Crusell in 1803.

Not only was the music  stunning, but all four instrumentalists also come from different backgrounds, showing their uniqueness through their music and making for a diverse quartet.

According to their biographies included in the shows program, Zelickman has been playing as well as teaching in San Diego for 38 years and recently retired from UC San Diego where he taught lectures on Jewish Music and was a conductor for the Wind Ensemble. Zelickman also played with the San Diego Symphony and Opera. He now performs in chamber music concerts around San Diego.

Kim is from South Korea and moved to the U.S. after showcasing her talents in several renowned lone appearances with multiple symphonies and orchestras, as stated in the program. Concentrating her efforts as a chamber musician in Southern California, Kim now works at the University of San Diego.

Nykter is a native of Finland who graduated from the Sibelius Academy located in Helsinki. She studied at the University of California San Diego Music Department from 1994-2006 and is now freelancing as well taking on the role of artistic director in Lappeenranta, Finland, for a Chamber Music Concert Series.

Savage completed her schooling at San Diego State University and UC San Diego. Having performed both orchestra and chamber music in Mexico, Europe, and Southern California, Savage says “her passion is helping others find their ‘musical’ voice.”

This mini concert was an excellent way for Mesa College to show off some of San Diego’s musical talent and also gave students the chance to witness strong performances without breaking their banks.

The Quartet Luminoso will also be holding a benefit concert with the Tremble Clefs of San Diego, a therapeutic singing group designed to help those living with Parkinson’s disease. All donations will go towards keeping the program running. The benefit will take place on March 13 at 7 p.m. at Palisades Presbyterian Church. For more information visit trembleclefs.com.

Reilly Buckenham
Quartet Luminoso playing for Mesa students. From left to right: Zelickman, Nykter, Savage, and Kim.
To show musicians and the instruments they play
Reilly Buckenham
The musicians pose with their instruments after their final performance for Mesa. From left to right: Nykter, Zelickman, Savage, and Kim.