A retooled Pacifica Quartet returns to Mandel Hall with a world premiere

Chicago Classical Review

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The Pacifica Quartet returned to the University of Chicago Presents series Friday night, their first Hyde Park stand in two years.

As former ensemble in residence for 17 years, it was right and fitting that this excellent chamber ensemble be featured in the 75th anniversary season of the UC Presents series. Yet it was a different lineup that faced the audience at Mandel Hall with two new players having joined Pacifica in the interim.

Beethoven’s String Quartet in B flat, Op. 18, no.6, opened the evening and made a worthy calling card for evaluating the present artistic health of Pacifica, which is currently marking its 25th season.

Charismatic first violinist Simin Ganatra remains primus inter pares of the ensemble with her pure tone, ebullient stage persona, and sterling virtuosity. Cellist Brandon Vamos, Ganatra’s husband, continues to anchor the group at the low end superbly with secure artistry and a rich burnished tone.

Read the full review on the Chicago Classical Review website.