Hear Chamber Music at Its Best in Slee Hall

On a long list of free things to take advantage of as a student at UB, a concert at Slee Hall is one choice I didn’t even know I had. There are saunas and racquetball courts and swimming pools, but I don’t think you could hear a live Beethoven symphony in any of those places. And even if you could, I don’t think it’d sound as nice. 

One of the things that you’ll notice when walking into Slee Hall are the heavy velour drapes all around the upper echelon of the hall. Not only do they look elegant but they can also impact the acoustics of the whole hall depending on them being opened, closed, or anyplace in between. The director recalls a time years ago when he was listening to someone perform as the drapes were opened in the hall, describing the change as being, “incredible to experience”. Rehard says that after Kleinhans Music Hall, Slee has to be “the best place to experience chamber music in the area and one of the better chamber music facilities in the country.” 

Of the roughly monthly events at Slee, one of the most notable performances would have to be the annual performances of Beethoven’s String Quartets. The Slee family started this tradition in 1955 and in the 67 years that have passed, they’ve performed them in the same order the Slee family dictated all those years before in their will. This order combines the 3 eras of Beethoven’s styles so listeners can get a taste of each era every night they come back. 

One notable thing you might not know is that the Slee Hall Beethoven String Quartets are the only consistently annual performance in the world. That might not mean a lot to someone new to classical music, but once you listen you’ll understand why it’s so rare to find. The sheer length, difficulty, and cohesion needed to memorize and then perform these pieces is beyond most chamber musicians. The Slee family made sure that each year the top quartets in the world came here to their hall to perform these pieces they held so dearly.

If you’d like to listen to these quartets or any of the other performances put on at Slee, contact rehard@buffalo.edu