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Arts Desk

Keeping Up With The Aizuri Quartet

Last January, Delaware Governor Jack Markell welcomed Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to the Port of Wilmington, a major entry point for fresh fruit from Chile. Bachelet's focus on trade also included a night at a sold-out dinner organized by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and its Chilean-American counterpart.   

Between the two stops, President Bachelet took a detour from the economic agenda, stopping at the Curtis Institute of Music. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston was there.  

Radio Script:

Meridee Duddleston: The massive shipments of Chilean peaches, cherries, and apricots entering the U.S. through the Port of Wilmington brought Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet to Delaware. But Brahms and the art of teaching drew her to the Curtis Institute of Music. Curtis President Roberto Diaz, former principal violist at The Philadelphia Orchestra and a native of Chile, says the country’s diplomatic corps instigated the visit –and wanted something more than a performance.

Roberto Diaz: I said, well why don’t we take a look at the Brahms quintet. That way we can rehearse it little bit,  because they didn’t really just want a concert – they wanted to see some of the teaching that goes on at Curtis.  

MD: And so, in a working session put together in on short notice, Diaz, a past principal violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and a native of Chile, guided the school’s Aizuri String Quartet through a first run of the Brahms Quintet No. 2 in G Major. President Bachelet watched and listened, and maybe even relaxed.

The students and Diaz will bring Brahms to Latin America late this spring. Karen Ouzinian is the quartet’s cellist.

Karen Ouzinian: It was so great to get to work with Mr. Diaz. We just started today working on this piece that we’ll take to Chile on tour in June.

MD: A mission of a different kind...

RD: One of my goals here at Curtis is that Curtis become much better known around the world.

MD: And so a quickly arranged open rehearsal of a string quintet for a President is surely a bit of good fortune along the way.