Caught up in the movement

The Meiravi Quar­tet is com­posed of Peter No­cella on vi­ola, vi­ol­in­ists Gregory Te­per­man and Ig­or Szwec, and cello play­er Vivi­an Bar­ton Dozor.

Two Somer­ton vi­ol­in­ists are en­joy­ing a har­mo­ni­ous ex­ist­ence with the Meiravi Quar­tet.

Talk about a string quar­tet — two vi­ol­in­ists, a cel­list and vi­ol­ist — and most people will think “clas­sic­al” mu­sic.

Much of the time they would be right, but not this Sunday.

At 3 p.m., the Meiravi Quar­tet will per­form a new work by its own com­poser in res­id­ence, vi­ol­ist Peter No­cella, along with Bela Bar­tok’s Ru­mani­an Dances and Claude De­bussy’s Quar­tet in G Minor at Hou­s­ton Hall on the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania cam­pus.

OK, not clas­sic­al, but a long way from jazz, rap, rock or disco.

De­bussy’s piece is an ex­ample of French im­pres­sion­ism, said vi­ol­in­ist Gregory Te­per­man, and his col­league Ig­or Szwec de­scribed the sheer beauty of the sound as “eth­er­e­al.”

“It’s a great piece of work and very French,” said Te­per­man, a Somer­ton res­id­ent. “The trans­ition from one har­mony to an­oth­er is not like clas­sic­al mu­sic.”

Szwec — also a vi­ol­in­ist who lives in Somer­ton — and Te­per­man said con­cert-go­ers can con­nect with the early 20th-cen­tury piece much as a per­son does with visu­al art.

“It’s like when you come up to a paint­ing,” Te­per­man said. “You might not know much about it, but something touches you and gives you a cer­tain feel­ing … for dif­fer­ent people it brings dif­fer­ent thoughts.”

“It speaks to you per­son­ally,” Szwec said. “It’s such a won­der­ful piece of mu­sic … as we go through the dif­fer­ent move­ments, I mar­vel at the artistry.”

The fluid­ity of chan­ging har­mon­ies in the piece’s third move­ment is es­pe­cially beau­ti­ful, Te­per­man said.

Te­per­man and Szwec joined with No­cella, who lives in Narberth, and cel­list Vivi­an Bar­ton Dozor of Cen­ter City to form the Meiravi Quar­tet earli­er this year. They gave their first per­form­ance in April at the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania.

The en­semble per­formed No­cella’s String Quar­tet No. 1 in Blue at that de­but. They will play the com­poser’s String Quar­tet No. 2 in Red on Sunday.

With so many types of mu­sic avail­able, how does someone who has had lim­ited ex­pos­ure to mu­sic for a quar­tet get in­to that sound?

“Most mu­sic speaks for it­self,” Szwec, 64, said. “It’s a mat­ter of let­ting your­self be ex­posed to the mu­sic,” he ex­plained, adding that he grew up with rock ’n’ roll and still loves it.

Szwec, born in Aus­tria, and Te­per­man, born in Mol­davia, have per­formed with pop­u­lar mu­si­cians as well as with the quar­tet and or­ches­tras.

Te­per­man, 56, who came to this coun­try in the early 1980s, has an ex­tens­ive mu­sic­al re­sume that in­cludes the USSR State Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, the Mo­scow Sym­phony Or­ches­tra and the Mol­davi­an Phil­har­mon­ic Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, in ad­di­tion to or­ches­tral ac­com­pani­ment for such per­formers as Johnny Math­is, Josh Groban and Rose­mary Clooney. Szwec, who came to the U.S. when he was 3, has played with the Phil­adelphia Or­ches­tra, Canada’s Na­tion­al Arts Centre Or­ches­tra and has been part of en­sembles per­form­ing with Jen­nifer Lopez, Will Smith and Justin Tim­ber­lake.

But, Szwec said, a string quar­tet that is ex­per­i­enced live presents con­cert-go­ers with an in­cred­ible group­ing.

“The sound of strings blend­ing to­geth­er can evoke some of the deep­est emo­tions pos­sible,” he said, “and also provides the audi­ence the gamut of emo­tions — from mov­ing to comed­ic to en­ter­tain­ing.”

Te­per­man has sim­il­ar feel­ings.

“When people ask me why I do what I do,” he said, “I say I’m glad to be able to take people out of every­day life for two and a half hours and put them in­to the won­der­ful world of mu­sic.” ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or

Strike up the quar­tet …

The show: The Meiravi Quar­tet per­forms at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Hou­s­ton Hall on the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania cam­pus, 3417 Spruce St. Tick­ets are $22, $15 and $5, and are avail­able on­line at MeiraviQuar­ or by call­ing 610-662-7000.

The mu­si­cians: Peter No­cella, vi­ola; Gregory Te­per­man and Ig­or Szwec, on vi­ol­in; and Vivi­an Bar­ton Dozor, cello.

In­side tip: The quar­tet’s name, Meiravi, is a com­bin­a­tion of the names of No­cella’s two chil­dren, Me’ira and Avi. ••

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