By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Violist Masumi Per Rostad finally talked his quartet-mates into playing some Boccherini.
"I've been petitioning them to play some for about the last 10 years," Rostad said. "It's such charming and elegant music. I love the energy behind his writing.
Boccherini's Quartet in E-flat Major is one of the three selections that will be featured by the Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet. The group will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday at First Community Church, 2007 E. 15th St., and will also present selections by Bartok and Ravel.
Rostad said that Boccherini is one of the neglected composers that he and other quartet members favor. The rest of the quartet includes violinists Simin Gantara and Sibbi Bernhardsson and cellist Brandon Vamos.
The quartet has been working on a new album of Shostakovich's compositions. The third of four volumes will be released digitally on March 5 and worldwide on March 26.
Dmitri Shostakovich is a 20th century composer better known for his symphonic creations. Rostad said the composer's work for ensemble is just as impressive, however; the Cold War kept his music silent to the rest of the world.
"The Iron Curtain was very thick," Rostad said. "There were wonderful artists inside the Soviet regime that are basically neglected in world knowledge. Recording all of his quartets is a major undertaking for us. They are important pieces."
Similar to the Shostakovich project, the quartet has recorded other albums that have won Grammys. Its recording of Carter's Quartets No. 1 and 5 earned Pacifica Quartet the 2009 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance.
Formed in 1994 in California, the group has toured around the world, winning numerous competitions, including the 1998 Naumburg Prize. Last year, the Pacifica Quartet members were appointed to the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Ind., where they also serve as quartet in residence.
The quartet has performed in Joplin before, Rostad said, and is looking forward to its Thursday performance. He said the Pro Musica series has earned a good reputation among other chamber musicians.
"What Joplin has is really amazing," Rostad said. "The series here is truly remarkable. It's a landmark. The musicians we know, they know about Joplin."
Want to go?
Pacifica Quartet will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at First Community Church, 2007 E. 15th St. The concert is presented by Pro Musica and will be free and open to the public.
Also offered is a free lecture and demonstration at 1 p.m. Thursday in Corley Auditorium, inside Webster Hall, at Missouri Southern State University.
Details: 625-1822 or www.promusicajoplin.org.