I recently had the good fortune (along with an overflow crowd in Stephens Recital Hall) to attend the performance of the St. Petersburg String Quartet. While the quartet’s performance was of the highest quality, there are several things still puzzling me about the circumstances surrounding it, as follows:

Though the event was presented adequately enough in your publication, considering time constraints and all, there seemed to be little enough further publicity about town — and it was even missing in the Arts & Entertainment section listings (both two weeks and one week prior).

Was this the fault of the Idyllwild Arts publicity department, who in my calling to inquire further on the performance seemed not to know of its existence (this occured on the Tuesday before the concert)?

Furthermore, in my inquiry I also referred to the nature of the sponsorship of such a prestigious ensemble, both for master classes as well as the performance itself; this resulted in further bafflement on their part. It’s not something I would expect to happen at any institution, least of all Idyllwild Arts.

My further consternation was evoked during the question and answer session at the concert’s midpoint, when in response to the question of “How did you come to Idyllwild?”, the first violinist provided the first name of a faculty or administrative person (whom I shall not name here) as a possible link to the master classes and performance scheduling.

Basically, I’m perplexed by the lack of forwardness either on her part or on behalf of the school to provide such information (certainly in the printed program, as scanty as needs be as it was), and though it remains only a minor vexation on my part, it’s something I believe your paper could remedy, with further inquiries to the proper channels.

Another point that needs clarification — why did the students in the audience (more than half of the attendees) feel it was necessary to applaud every single movement of each work? This was certainly a distraction to those who have even a passing familiarity with concert etiquette, let alone to the performers themselves. Perhaps this is a fault to be corrected by IA faculty or administration as well.

Enough of nit-picking (as it were) — it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening nevertheless.

Arthur B. Connor

Editor’s note: Darren Schilling, director of marketing for Idyllwild Arts, has provided a response to Mr. Connor’s questions.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond. The opportunity to host the St. Petersburg Quartet only occurred the week before the event came onto the calendar.

The quartet contacted Dr. Peter Askim on Tuesday, [Sept. 27] and said that they had the following week available on their schedule and were willing to spend the week at Idyllwild Arts.

We did discuss passing on the opportunity to have them perform due to the lack of time to publicize their appearance but we just couldn’t say no. It was an incredible event and we were very privileged to have this world class quartet on our campus and introduce them to the wonderful community of Idyllwild.

Regarding the students applause between movements, many of our students have never been to a chamber music concert and have not yet learned the protocol. It’s always a teaching opportunity but it was also delightful to see their keen interest and appreciation for the performance by the St. Petersburg Quartet.

Darren R. Schilling
Idyllwild Arts