BAND DETAIL: Gyros String Quartet
The Gyros String Quartet was formed by violist Norbert Gerl in
1986 to host "Classical Thursdays" at Panteli's (now defunct and still
sadly missed) on lower Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas. The name for
the quartet, incidentally, came straight off the menu - Panteli's
being a Greek wine bar/restaurant - and also as a kind of joke on the
famous "Kronos Quartet" from San Francisco (we always wanted to
challenge them to a softball game and a Mendelssohn Octet, if they
were to come to town).
Those Thursday nights quickly
became a favorite hangout for music lovers and Dallas Symphony
players, who now had a place to go after their concert to relax
and maybe "sit in" for a "jam" session.
Society director Paul Riedo even had his harpsichord delivered so he
could participate in some Bach "Brandenburg Concertos".
Gyros moved to the Dream Cafe and over the next 2 and a half
years performed some 140+ concerts on Sundays from 7-10pm. The
middle part of the evening always featured a guest soloist, sometimes in
a quintet, but more often than not in a concerto, treating the
string quartet as a sort of miniature orchestra (which it is). There
were few rules, but the most important was -- no rehearsal (well,
almost). Several quite serendipitous and amazing combinations stand out:
Beth Newdome, violin, now a concertmaster of the Atlanta
Symphony Orchestra, playing Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with
Chris Carrington, Vihuela (of Al DiMeola's "World
Sinfonia") -- Chris thought that piece needed a "flamenco" approach
-- imagine her surprise; Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Associate
Concertmaster Motoi Takeda performing all five Mozart
violin concertos in one evening (he probably should be in the
Guinness book of records); The "Merry Widow" in 20
minutes, featuring Randy Erwin, baritone and Jan
Ryberg, tenor, on all roles - both male and female.
Not surprisingly, during this time the Gyros Quartet was nominated for
several years as "Best Classical Act" by the Dallas
Observer and even had a feature story in "Detour" mag.
1991, after having exhausted most of the repertoire of concertos
playable with string quartet, both management (the formidable siblings
Mary and Grady O'Brien) and the Gyros Quartet thought it was
maybe time for a break.
Since then, the Gyros String
Quartet has performed for literally hundreds of wedding
ceremonies and receptions, parties, corporate functions and art
openings. Lead by violist Norbert Gerl and featuring the best
string players in the DFW area, the primary goal has always been to help
make a client's event special. Currently, the Gyros String Quartet is
the house quartet (weddings) for Park Cities Presbyterian Church
in Oak Lawn and Saint Thomas of Aquinas in Lakewood.