Beethoven in the City


“Beethoven in The City” will consist of a series of 16 performances by the Cypress String Quartet in May 2016, with each concert featuring one of Beethoven’s string quartets. Concerts will be free and will be presented in 16 different and varied publicly accessible spaces, including events in each of the 11 supervisory districts. Locations will include iconic settings such as Golden Gate Park and Yerba Buena Gardens, as well as less-familiar venues such as the San Francisco General Hospital, the St. Anthony’s Foundation (which provides meals each day in the Tenderloin district to the City’s homeless population), the Bayview-Hunter’s Point YMCA, and a variety of other sites.

Since their very first rehearsal in 1996, the Cypress String Quartet has had a special affinity with Beethoven’s string quartets. CSQ’s dedication to Beethoven’s work will reach its culmination in May 2016, when their 10-CD box-set of the complete string quartets will be released internationally on the Avie label.  The timing of this release has been scheduled to coincide with “Beethoven in the City” and the conclusion of the Cypress’ 20th and final season together. “Beethoven in The City” was conceived by the CSQ as a way not only to give back to the city that has fostered and inspired their music making, but also as a celebration of San Francisco. Public art has long been an important tenet of SF culture. CSQ wants to add their flavor to the mix.

Through “Beethoven in The City,” the CSQ aims to bring world-class chamber music to the broadest range of individuals possible. Of particular importance is to bring the music of Beethoven to individuals who might not otherwise be exposed to live performances of classical music. Many Californians have little-to-no experiences with the string quartets of Beethoven. Those who have gained familiarity with these works view them as vital achievements of humanity, similar in importance and relevance to Beethoven’s more widely known symphonies.  Unfortunately, to many, this music is assumed to be an esoteric art intended for an elite class, and, thus, not the domain of the average listener. As a composer who overcame severe personal challenges to propagate his belief in the equality of humankind, we believe that Beethoven would be horrified by this assumption. 

The Cypress String Quartet is firm in its belief that chamber music can “speak” to anyone. Presenting chamber music in environments that are familiar to a target audience at each performance site (and disrupting the daily routine of those environments), CSQ will dispel the notion of chamber music is an art form for the privileged.  And, by bringing the art form “to the people,” the Cypress is proposing to engage with a diverse group of individuals who might have had neither the opportunity—nor the desire—to listen to a Beethoven string quartet; and without this project may never have had the opportunity to hear a performance of this type.

Beethoven in the City Partners:

St. Anthony’s Foundation
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
SF General Hospital
Castro/Upper Market Benefit District
Excelsior Action Group
Bernal Heights Library
American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.)

Beethoven in the City Supporters:

James Irvine Foundation
SF Grants for the Arts
Bloomberg Philanthropies
SF Arts Commission
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Walter and Elise Haas Sr. Foundation
Emiko Higashi

MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Yoshihara, CARLA BEFERA & CO.
3600 West Bayshore Road, Suite 203/ Palo Alto, ca 94303
Phone 650.327.1200 | Fax 650.327.6700 | Email:


Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists
646.536.7864 |

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