"One of them was played at our wedding in 1990, and one of them I wrote when my wife was pregnant with our first child, so they have been around for a while," he said. "I had this collection of little piano pieces.
"My wife came up with the idea — and I wonder if she even remembers this — to call them love letters. But that's in essence what they are."
Di Gregorio was going to let his colleague's comment pass and he didn't rework the compositions. Then Shelepov, who also liked them, asked him about it again.
Shelepov suggested the suite of pieces might play well against his own "Suite for Strings," which he composed in 1996 when he was a student at Novosibirsk Music College in Siberia. His suite is romantic, but it is the romance of youth and all that he was discovering at the time, he said. The suite's movements begin with a waltz and include a foxtrot and a bit of jazz.
Shelepov said while his pieces are fast and lively, Di Gregorio's are andante, a moderately slow tempo.
"I guess this was the way of life for me at that time," he said, "fast paced, eclectic, fun and full of dramatic emotions and youthful energy."
Di Gregorio said rewriting his piano pieces for the quartet was an interesting process — he had to re-imagine them for strings.
"What's great about this is all of the pieces I've written, I've lived with for a long time. I compose very slowly," he said. "That's the way I work — I don't write it down until it's stuck in my craw for a long time. But these, since I just reworked them, are relatively new."
Di Gregorio said he also brought the process to the quartet, asking their advice and input.
"It was a collaborative process in the end. It's a strange thing for me, being in the middle of one of my pieces. This was the first time I've performed a piece of my work that's an ensemble.
"It's almost a brand-new piece for me."
Sunday's program also includes Felix Mendelssohn's Octet in E Flat Major, Opus 20 for 4 Violins, 2 Violas and 2 Cellos. To accomplish that, the quartet has invited some guests — Margie Cooper and Jennifer Wood on violin, Ian Jessee on viola and Kimberly Graham on cello.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.