American String Quartet | Arabesque Winds | Aspen Ensemble | Biava Quartet | Concertante | Daedalus Quartet | Häkan Rosengren | Harlem String Quartet | Gryphon Trio | Imani Winds | Joan Kwuon | Wihan Quartet | WuHan & David Finckel
Founded in 1946, the ever-evolving Juilliard String Quartet has become a living American legend. Widely known as the “quintessential American string quartet,” the Juilliard has been recognized for the boldness of its interpretation of the classics, with an equal and parallel tradition of championing the new — a vibrant combination of the familiar and the daring. The Quartet’s sound is famously characterized by clarity of structure, compelling rhythmic drive and an extraordinary unanimity of purpose, no matter the work at hand.
In its milestone 2016/17 season, the Juilliard String Quartet welcomes its new cellist, Astrid Schween, and celebrates the Quartet’s 70th anniversary with return engagements in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Detroit, Toronto, Louisville, Cleveland, Tucson, and New York’s Alice Tully Hall. The JSQ premieres Fragments, String Quartet No. 6 by renowned Argentine-American composer Mario Davidovsky, jointly commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music and the Juilliard School. In January, the Quartet tours Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Turkey, including appearances at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, the Musikverein in Vienna, and the Berlin Konzerthaus.
“They have established standards of chamber music performance equal to any in the world,” in the words of the Washington Post. And The New York Times said, “They appealed to the heart and the head, offering a warm, seductively luxurious sound and an impressive precision and unity of purpose.”
Among today’s most exciting and innovative chamber music ensembles, The American Chamber Players were formed in 1985 by Miles Hoffman from a core group of artists of The Library of Congress Summer Chamber Festival. The ensemble performs repertoire ranging from familiar masterpieces to neglected gems to newly commissioned American works, and its fascinating and delightful programs with varied instrumental combinations have been as enthusiastically praised as its extraordinary, dynamic performances.
Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) captivates its audiences throughout the country. The Chiara has established itself as among America’s most respected ensembles, lauded for its “highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing” (The Boston Globe). They are currently Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and were the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University from 2008- 2014. For the 2015-2016 season, the Chiara will be the quartet-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Now in its 16th season, the Chiara is moving forward by taking a cue from the past. Harkening back to a tradition that is centuries old and still common among soloists, the Chiara Quartet has adopted a new way of performing: from memory, without printed sheet music. After memorizing a work, the Quartet is rewarded with deeply gratifying performances where each member feels fully present in the moment, truly performing with heart, by heart.
Trio Solisti has forged a reputation as “the most exciting piano trio in America” (The New Yorker), with a passionate performance style that combines exceptional virtuosity and musical insight. Possessing a repertoire that encompasses the standard repertoire and works by contemporary composers, rave reviews follow the trio throughout its concert tours. Noted Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout proclaimed that Trio Solisti is “the group that to my mind has now succeeded the Beaux Arts Trio as the outstanding chamber music ensemble of its kind.” The New York Times called it “probably the finest American [piano trio] currently on the field,” and the trio was praised by The Washington Post for a “transcendent performance.”
Founded in 2001, Trio Solisti – violinist Maria Bachmann, cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach, and pianist Fabio Bidini – has performed on major concert series such as the Great Performers at Lincoln Center, People’s Symphony Concerts at Town Hall NY, Washington Performing Arts Society at Kennedy Center, Seattle’s Meany Hall and La Jolla’s Revelle Series.
Established in 1989, the St. Lawrence String Quartet has developed an undisputed reputation as one of the world’s great ensembles. Called “witty, buoyant, and wickedly attentive” (The Gazette, Montreal), with a “peerless” sense of ensemble (Financial Times, London), the quartet is celebrated for its “smoldering intensity” (Washington Post), and “flexibility, dramatic fire and… hint of rock ‘n’ roll energy” (LA Times). SLSQ performs around the world and has served as Ensemble-in-Residence at Stanford University since 1998.
The St. Lawrence continues to build its reputation for imaginative and spontaneous music-making through an energetic commitment to the great established quartet literature, as well as the championing of new works by such composers as John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Ezequiel Vinao, and Jonathan Berger. Of their collaborations with Adams, the Washington Post asserted “If good relationships are built on trust, the bond between the St. Lawrence String Quartet and composer John Adams is a marriage made in chamber music heaven.”
The Emerson String Quartet has an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: more than thirty acclaimed recordings, nine Grammys® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” and collaborations with many of the greatest artists of our time.
The arrival of Paul Watkins in 2013 has had a profound effect on the Emerson Quartet. Mr. Watkins, a distinguished soloist, award-winning conductor, and devoted chamber musician, joined the ensemble in its 37th season, and his dedication and enthusiasm have infused the Quartet with a warm, rich tone and a palpable joy in the collaborative process.
“The Emerson String Quartet…has the easy virtuosity, precise sense of ensemble, rhythmic vigor and rich polished tone…”- The Washington Post
Over the span of more than three decades of performing, the American String Quartet has appeared in all fifty states and at major venues throughout the world to become internationally regarded as one of the finest quartets around. They have been widely acclaimed for their presentations of the complete quartets of Beethoven, Schubert, Schoenberg, Bartok, and Mozart. Their 1998 recording of the complete Mozart quartets was performed on a matched set of Stradivarius instruments, and helped set the standard for this repertoire.
The American String Quartet was formed in 1974, when the original members were students at the Juilliard School. The group marked its 30th anniversary with a new series of recordings on the Arabesque label, including quartets by Grammy Award winning composer Richard Danielpour and the launch of the Complete Brahms String Chamber Music. They have given numerous premieres of new music, including Danielpour’s Quartet No. 4, Curt Cacioppo’s “a distant voice calling,” and a 2001 recording of three quartets by Kenneth Fuchs.
Arabesque Winds Official Web Site
Deidre Huckabay (Flute); Liz Spector (Oboe); Isabel Kim (Clarinet); Sophia Goluses (Horn); Eryn Bauer (Bassoon)
The Arabesque Winds “played with skill and depth beyond their years,” at a recent performance according to the Washington Post, “but it was the unanimity of their ensemble phrasing that took the breath away.” The ensemble represented the Eastman School of Music at the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project, and performed a full recital at the Terrace Theater in May 2009.
Recognized for their fresh, energetic, and interactive performances, the Arabesque Winds were awarded the 2009 Coleman-Saunderson Prize for Woodwinds and Brass at the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. The group has also won the Harvard Musical Association’s 2009 Arthur W. Foote Prize, awarded to young musicians on the verge of professional careers.
Aspen Ensemble Official Web Site
Rita Sloan, piano; Nadine Asin, flute; David Perry, violin; Victoria Chiang, viola; Michael Mermagen, cello
From the famed Aspen Music Festival come five acclaimed musicians united in their love for chamber music and their desire to bring unique, exciting programs to audiences around the world.
This quintet is one of the most innovative and exceptional chamber groups performing today. In a few short seasons The Aspen Ensemble has already established a winning reputation with audiences and presenters nationally and internationally.
All highly regarded solo artists, The Aspen Ensemble includes violinist David Perry, violist Victoria Chiang, cellist Michael Mermagen, flutist Nadine Asin, and pianist Rita Sloan.
The Biava Quartet is recognized as one of today’s most exciting and accomplished young American string quartets. Winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and top prizes at the Premio Borciani and London International Competitions, the Quartet has established an enthusiastic following in the United States and abroad, impressing audiences with its sensitive artistry and communicative powers. Formed in 1998 at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Quartet takes its name from Maestro Luis Biava, a mentor since its inception.
The Biava Quartet has recorded for the Naxos and Cedille labels and has been heard on London’s BBC Radio 3, NPR, American Public Media’s Performance Today, as well as in frequent national broadcasts. The Quartet has been featured in Strings and Strad magazines and has been the subject of a PBS documentary film.
Concertante Official Web Site
Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello; Ara Gregorian, viola; Zvi Plesser, cello; Ittai Shapira, viola; Rachel Shapiro, viola; Xiao-Dong Wang, violin
Concertante has acquired a sheen, warmth, and polish that are the hallmark of superb chamber music groups. Comprised of a core of six virtuoso string players, the group performs in varied combinations of instrumentalists. As solo performers who have won major national and international music competitions, they have graced the premier stages of the world from New York’s Carnegie Hall to London’s Royal Festival Hall to Shanghai’s Grand Theatre. Concertante has performed a wide array of repertoire ranging from works by established masters to less commonly performed composers.
As an ensemble, Concertante has performed across America, gathering rave reviews from such publications as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post, and appearing on Minnesota Public Radio’s St. Paul Sunday. Concertante performs regularly at Merkin Hall in New York City and at Rose Lehrman Arts Center in Harrisburg, PA.
The Daedalus Quartet is a lively young group that has received a great deal of attention since its founding in 2000. It won the Grand Prize of the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2001, and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award in 2007. The Daedalus Quartet was designated by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as the Chamber Music Society Two quartet for last year’s season and the year before. This is a residency program which offers high-profile performance opportunities, artist collaboration, and professional training to outstanding young performers in the early stages of major careers.
The group takes its name from Daedalus, the mythical Greek inventor, artist, and architect, known for creating the Labyrinth and for devising the wings with which he flew to freedom.
Formed in 1993, the Gryphon Trio continues to delight audiences around the globe with their highly refined and dynamic performances. Based in Toronto, the Trio tours regularly throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. Their celebrated recordings include works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Lalo and Shostakovich. With a strong commitment to expanding the piano trio repertoire, the Trio has commissioned and premiered over 50 works. Their 2004 recording, Canadian Premieres, features the work of leading Canadian composers and was awarded a Juno. Their most recent recording, Tango Nuevo, features the music of Astor Piazzolla and Hilario Duran, and represents their tenth CD for the Analekta label.
Strongly dedicated to pushing the boundaries of chamber music, the Trio has collaborated on special projects with clarinetist James Campbell, actor Colin Fox, choreographer David Earle, and a host of jazz luminaries at Toronto’s Lula Lounge. Their most ambitious undertaking has been the groundbreaking multimedia production of Christos Hatzis’ Constantinople, which has been performed in Canada, the United States, and was presented by the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in England in 2006.
Harlem String Quartet Official Web Site
Ilmar Gavilan (Violin); Melissa White (Violin); Jaime Amador (Viola); Felix Umansky (Cello)
The Harlem String Quartet, praised for its “panache” by the New York Times, is currently the resident ensemble in the New England Conservatory of Music’s Professional String Quartet Program. Its mission is to advance diversity in classical music while engaging young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire, highlighting works by minority composers.
Häkan Rosengren Official Web Site
Clarinetist Häkan Rosengren has appeared as concerto soloist with orchestras throughout Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Israel, Brazil, and the United States. Conductors with whom he has performed include Esa-Pekka Salonen, Neeme Jarvi, Christopher Hogwood, and many others. Since his New York City debut in 1988, Mr. Rosengren has played recitals in the United States, Europe, Israel, and Asia, as well as performing at music festivals worldwide. He has played with a wide variety of recital partners and chamber ensembles, such as Barbara Hendricks, David Finckel, Anne Epperson, Per Enoksson, Georgian Quartet, Silesian Quartet, Solaris Quintet, and others.
Mr. Rosengren’s repertoire includes all of the traditional works for clarinet solo and chamber music, as well as new music, with premieres of works by Poul Ruders, Anders Eliasson, Jan Sandstrom, Henrik Strindberg, Alexander Lason, Martin Willert, and Nikola Resanovic.
Imani Winds are an exciting, spirited group who are stretching the definitions of woodwind chamber music, blending multiple genres from multiple cultures into a lively and unprecedented repertoire. Founded by flutist Valerie Coleman in 1997, the group has set out to change the face of classical music, with culturally compelling programming that illuminates a solid position in the arts for people of color.
The group is in the midst of its Legacy Commissioning Project, an ambitious five-year endeavor launching Imani Winds into its second decade of music making. The ensemble is commissioning, premiering and touring 10 new works for woodwind quintet written by established and emerging composers of various musical backgrounds. The select composers originate from different points of the globe bringing experience not only in classical music, but jazz, Middle Eastern, Latin, and harder to define sounds.
The name, Imani Winds, derives from the Swahili word for faith.
Joan Kwuon Official Web Site
Joan Kwuon is a vibrant, highly acclaimed violinist who consistently receives rave reviews from critics delighted by her fire, elegance, and commanding technique. She made her debut at the Tanglewood Music Festival upon the invitation of Sir André Previn, performing the Brahms Violin Concerto. Since then, she has continued to collaborate with Previn, both in recital and in appearances with various orchestras. Kwuon has performed as concerto soloist throughout the world, with orchestras that include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Moscow State Radio Symphony, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, and more.
She has collaborated with many other renowned artists, including Cho-Liang Lin, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, the Juilliard String Quartet, Bright Sheng, Gilbert Kalish, Heidi Grant Murphy, Vladimir Feltsman, and Tony Bennett. Ms. Kwuon is also the founder of the non-profit organization, Artists for Breast Cancer Survival, Inc., presenting a gala benefit concert titled Artists for the Cure at Carnegie Hall.
The Wihan Quartet, formed in 1985, are heirs to the great Czech musical tradition. The Quartet’s outstanding reputation for the interpretation of its native Czech heritage and of the many classical, romantic and modern masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire is widely acknowledged.
They have developed an impressive international career, which includes visits to major festivals in Europe and the Far East. They visit the United States and Japan regularly and have had highly acclaimed tours of Australia and New Zealand. They are frequent visitors to the UK and can often be heard on BBC Radio 3 as well as in concert at Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, the South Bank and many other venues throughout the country.
The Wihan Quartet has won many International Competitions including The Prague Spring Festival and the Osaka ‘Chamber Festa’. In 1991, they won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the London International String Quartet Competition.
Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han rank among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. Their appearances take them to the world’s most prestigious concert series and festivals as soloists, as a duo, and in David’s case, as cellist of the Emerson String Quartet. With repertoire spanning virtually the entire literature for cello and piano, and a commitment to new music, the duo premiered Pierre Jalbert’s Cello Sonata at the Aspen Music Festival in 2007-08, and will premiere a new work for cello and piano by award-winning composer George Tsontakis during the 2008-09 season.
David Finckel and Wu Han serve as Artistic Directors of both the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Music@Menlo, a Silicon Valley chamber music festival founded in 2003. They have released 10 critically acclaimed recordings on their own ArtistLed label, available at www.artistled.com. The two most recent additions to the ArtistLed catalogue feature David Finckel’s recording of the Dvorák Concerto and Augusta Read Thomas’s Ritual Incantations (world premiere recording), and Wu Han’s first full-length solo recording, “Russian Recital”, featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Scriabin.