The Borromeo String Quartet was founded in 1989 by four students at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and spent a fair portion of the years since doing what most quartets do when they climb the ladder from obscurity to eminence. The musicians snagged top awards in notable competitions, developed an active concert schedule, and settled in as a resident ensemble, in their case at the New England Conservatory, which has served as a base for more than two decades. They mastered the standard quartet repertoire and gained a reputation for husbanding new works by American composers.
Then, about five years ago, their concerts took a novel turn. They decided to make use of digital technology to make their lives a bit easier and began playing from music displayed on laptop computers rather than from printed pages. From there, the group — especially its first violinist, Nicholas Kitchen — started imagining how they might harness digital possibilities to the audience’s experience, and they entered the world of multimedia presentation. When the Los Alamos Concert Association hosted the group at Duane Smith Auditorium on May 4, the printed program included a bio that proclaimed the ensemble’s confidence about what they are up to: “The Borromeo have been redefining the classical music landscape through innovative uses of MacBook Pro laptops, video projection, and iPads in performance.”
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