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DSQ is set for complete Beethoven SQ cycle at CMS / PLAYBILL

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David Finckel, co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, noticed their style first. Four men, walking onto the stage of CMS's Rose Studio in 2012, had a wildness about them. "They looked like Scandinavian cowboys," Finckel recalls. These "cowboys" were the Danish String Quartet (DSQ), auditioning for a place in CMS's young artist program (now called The Bowers Program). Soon it became clear that the players offered more than just style. As they sank into a Beethoven slow movement, "everyone on the jury put their pencils down," Finckel says, "and just listened. The quartet brought a love and reverence and magic and selfless dedication-it was so powerful and so intense, you stopped judging and gave yourself over."

The DSQ have since become regulars on the CMS stage. From February 7–18, 2020 they return for perhaps their greatest challenge: performing a complete cycle of Beethoven's string quartets over six concerts. The DSQ has performed the cycle once before, as part of their chamber music festival in Denmark. Frederik Øland, one of the quartet's violinists, says they anticipated many challenges. He knew the group would experience physical fatigue. He knew there would be anxieties. "This thought would pop into my head: What if I turn the page and I have not looked at the page?" he admits. "It would have been impossible-but those thoughts creep into your mind."  PHOTO: Caroline Bittencourt