On Being Enslaved | A performance by Marian Anderson String Quartet

Join the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice (CSSJ) in celebration of the Center’s 10th anniversary with a performance by Marian Anderson String Quartet. No registration required

The critically-acclaimed all-female ensemble has performed at presidential inaugurations, the Library of Congress and more, making history in 1991 when they won the International Cleveland Quartet Competition – the first African American ensemble to win a classical music competition. Their rich program presents works reflecting on the theme of enslavement, beginning with MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, Grammy Award winner and musical polymath Rhiannon Giddens’ “At the Purchaser’s Option with Variations,” through a suite by Jonathan McNair composed for the story of the underground railroad and pieces written in honor of the quartet’s namesake, before leading organically into a performance of Dvorak’s beloved “American” Quartet.

Composers: Giddens, McNair, Adler, Wallace, Dvořák, and Johnson.


About the Marian Anderson String Quartet

“In the presence of the (Marian) Anderson String Quartet you feel as if everything’s going to be alright for classical music, as if a little Beethoven and Brahms might just solve the world’s problems.”

—LA Times

With performance venues that range from Alice Tully Hall and the Library of Congress to soup kitchens and juvenile correctional facilities, the Marian Anderson String Quartet, now in its 32nd season, continues to uphold their mission to “Create New and Diverse Audiences” for the field of classical music.

Named in honor of the legendary contralto Marian Anderson, the Marian Anderson String Quartet was the first African-American ensemble in history to win a classical music competition when it won the Cleveland Quartet Competition in 1991.

In recognition of its accomplishments, the Congress on Racial Equality awarded the Marian Anderson String Quartet the 2006 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture; in 2008, the Quartet received Chamber Music America’s coveted Guarneri String Quartet Award; and in 2010, the Quartet received a National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpiece award.

The Quartet has presented residencies, concerts, and talks at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Brown University as the Heimark inaugural artists-in-residence at the Center for the Study for Slavery and Justice, TedxBlinnCollege in Bryan, Texas, the Quad City Arts in Iowa, Gateways Music Festival in Rochester, New York and at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.