Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet performs at the Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall on Oct. 1. Zoellner recently started hosting live performances again while following university COVID-19 protocols. (Yifan Zhang/B&W Staff)

Grammy Award- winning Attacca Quartet completes week-long residency at Lehigh


The Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet, a string quartet known for modernizing classical hits, has performed all over the world, including in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and venues in Japan and Austria. Now, the group can add Lehigh to their list of performance locations after their week-long residency. 

The group performed on the Front Lawn, in Baker Hall and in classrooms. 

At the 2020 Grammy Awards, Attacca Quartet won for Best Chamber Music / Small Ensemble Performance for its recording project “Orange.” 

As advocates for queerness and gender identity, Attacca Quartet performed in conjunction with Lehigh’s Pride Center Mental Health Monday on the Front Lawn on Sept. 27. 

Student staff member of the Pride Center, Daniel Brody, ‘22, conducted a Q&A with the quartet after its performance. The Q&A focused on the connections between music and experiences as part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Brody said the Pride Center was initially approached by Attacca’s cellist, Andrew Yee. 

Brody said talking to Yee helped him further realize the importance of visibility and authenticity. 

“The truth of the matter is trans(gender) people are invisible and we don’t really have a spotlight when it comes to professional careers and seeing people be happy and successful,” Brody said. “That in itself is revolutionary, so it was great to see.”

Brody said he felt an intimate connection to the group while watching them perform on the Front Lawn.

Paul Salerni, composer and professor of music at Lehigh, also has a special connection to the quartet. 

Two years ago, Salerni’s son Dominic was one of the group’s violinists. 

Salerni worked alongside Mark Wilson, executive director of Zoellner Arts Center, to bring the Attacca Quartet to Lehigh for the week. 

For one of his composition classes, Salerni invited the quartet to read and perform pieces his students wrote. Furthering his connection with the quartet, the group will professionally record one of Salerni’s opera pieces, which will feature Salerni’s other son, Miles, on percussion.

“It’s quite a unique experience to Lehigh,” Salerni said. “This is not a music conservatory, it’s a liberal arts institution, but it has a certain kind of personal advantage that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.” 

Attacca Quartet concluded its Lehigh residency with a performance inside Baker Hall at Zoellner Arts Center on Oct. 1. 

Wilson attended the event and said it was great to see people from different departments at Lehigh come together to listen to a live show.

“It’s a connection between the artists to each other on stage and they then bring the audience along that journey by pulling us into their music,” Wilson said. 

The Attacca Quartet will return to perform at Zoellner on March 5, 2022. 

Both Wilson and Salerni said they are looking forward to people hearing the quartet’s music live again.

“Especially during COVID, and it really is part of this generation that most of the music you hear is in your headphones,” Salerni said. “Going to a live concert is just a different experience. It is a much richer experience.”

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