A Note From The Cypress String Quartet

June 26, 2016


Dear Friends,

As we come to the end of our journey performing together, memories of all our amazing experiences surface and overflow as the music we are playing does the same.  It has been a joy and a privilege – with enormous challenges and rewards.

On July 10, 1996, the four original members of the Cypress String Quartet (Cecily Ward, Tom Stone, Paul Wakabayashi & Jennifer Kloetzel) gathered in a living room in San Francisco to read through our first notes as this new ensemble. We chose to spend 6-8 hours every day playing, talking and dreaming about what we wanted to build. We performed at any venue that would hire the four of us. We quickly defined a mission: “It is the belief of the Cypress String Quartet that the world’s musical masterpieces have a transformative effect on both listeners and performers. CSQ is committed to dedicating the resources necessary to pursue uncompromisingly high musical standards in their work, to bring forth the best transformative qualities of these masterpieces.” We wanted to be the “best quartet in the world” but quickly learned that what was more important was to move and excite the people in front of us—whether in a classroom, living room or concert hall. Showing people how to be active listeners became a goal far more important to us than outward success.

Fast-forward twenty years: we have recorded all the Beethoven Quartets (as well as many other albums of great music), toured the world, reached large groups of students, and presented music in a wide variety of settings. We have commissioned a large body of work to keep this art form current and vital, leaving both a legacy and a record of our time.

Through music, we have travelled the world and visited every point on the emotional compass. We might wake up one day sleeping on mattresses made of hay in a dorm in London as pupils of the Amadeus Quartet and fall asleep the next night in a suite at the Mirage Hotel as faculty for the Las Vegas Music Festival. Each day and each appearance has been an adventure. From a concert in a tiny church in Austria to a 2000-seat hall in Kansas or a homeless shelter in San Francisco to a cafeteria filled with eager middle school students in Detroit, every performance has shaped who we are.

 As we have strived to be a quartet in which the combination of four is greater than the individual parts – so too have all the individual moments added up to so much more than 20 years of playing music.

This year truly has been one of celebration. We have been immersed in making chamber music integral to all aspects of modern life.

Thank you for listening, it has been an honor.

Cecily, Tom, Ethan & Jennifer

DOWNLOAD: Farewell Concert Program