I first played under Robert Craft’s direction on a memorial concert for Igor Stravinsky in New York. Later, after a concert featuring Pierrot Lunaire in the early 1990s, a close friendship developed. Bob trusted me and Carol Archer (my wife and collaborator) to organize all of his New York recording sessions of Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Webern beginning with the Stravinsky Cantata in 1995 until the final sessions in 2012 for Schoenberg Quartet No. 1.
Carol and I contracted musicians for a variety of instrumental combinations ranging from full orchestra to duos and solos under the name Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble. Some of the core players were Rolf Schulte, violin; Charles Neidich, clarinet; Tara O'Connor, flute; William Purvis, French horn and Christopher Oldfather, piano. I also engaged a number of younger musicians, some of whom were still in school. Philip Traugott, producer and Tim Martyn, engineer were the magic team for many of these recordings.
When Bob decided to record the Schoenberg String Quartet Concerto in 2002, I asked my valiant colleagues Jennifer Frautschi, Jesse Mills and Richard O'Neill to join me for the 30 or so hours of rehearsal scheduled to prepare for a concert and recording session. Bob named the group the Fred Sherry String Quartet, under which name the four Schoenberg quartets, Transfigured Night, Ode to Napoleon and Webern String Quartet, String Trio and Bagatelles were recorded, with varied membership. Two of the Fred Sherry String Quartet recordings were nominated for a Grammy: Schoenberg Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra (Best Instrumental Soloists Performance with Orchestra) in 2005 and Schoenberg String Quartets Nos. 3 & 4 (Best Chamber Music Performance) in 2010.
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