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Ariel String Quartet - Oct. 7, 2022

Ariel underpassimage 450Distinguished by its virtuosity, probing musical insight, and impassioned, fiery performances, the Ariel Quartet has garnered critical praise worldwide over the span of nearly two decades. Formed in Israel as teenagers at the Jerusalem Academy Middle School of Music and Dance and celebrating their 22th anniversary in 2022-23, the Ariel was named recipient of the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, granted by Chamber Music America in recognition of artistic achievement and career support. The ensemble serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the chamber-music program and present a concert series in addition to maintaining a busy touring schedule in the United States and abroad.

The ensemble has dedicated much of its artistic energy and musical prowess to the groundbreaking Beethoven quartets, and has performed the complete Beethoven cycle on five occasions throughout the United States and Europe. The Quartet has written a powerful and comprehensive series of program notes on the sixteen quartets, open to the public on their website. The Ariel Quartet regularly collaborates with today’s eminent and rising young musicians and ensembles, including pianist Orion Weiss, violist Roger Tapping, cellist Paul Katz, and the American, Pacifica, and Jerusalem String Quartets. The Quartet has toured with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and performed frequently with pianists Jeremy Denk and Menahem Pressler.

Formerly the resident ensemble of the Professional String Quartet Training Program at the New England Conservatory, from which the players obtained their undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Ariel was mentored extensively by acclaimed string quartet giants Walter Levin and Paul Katz. It has won numerous international prizes in addition to the Cleveland Quartet Award: Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Székely Prize for the performance of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4, and Third Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. About its performances at the Banff competition, the American Record Guide described the group as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power” and noted, in particular, their playing of Beethoven’s monumental Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, as “the pinnacle of the competition.”

 


 

Horszowski Trio - Nov. 11, 2022

horszowski composite 450A perennial favorite with the BCMS, the Horszowski Trio returns for their fourth appearance with a new cellist, Ole Akahoshi, who replaced Raman Ramakrishnan at the beginning of the pandemic. Born and raised in Berlin, at age eleven Akahoshi became the youngest cellist to be accepted as a student by Pierre Fournier. He continued with Aldo Parisot at the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music, and with Janos Starker at Indiana University. He is now Assistant Professor of Cello at the Yale School of Music, and also serves on the faculties at Manhattan School of Music and at Longy School of Music of Bard College.

Giving performances that are “lithe, persuasive” (The New York Times), “eloquent and enthralling” (The Boston Globe), and described as “the most compelling American group to come on the scene” (The New Yorker), the Horszowski Trio has quickly become a vital force in the international chamber music world. Since their debut performance in New York City in 2011, they have toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, the Far East, and India, traversing the extensive oeuvre of traditional piano trio repertoire and introducing audiences to new music that they have commissioned and premiered.

In March 2019, the Horszowski Trio made its London debut in a sold-out concert presented by Wigmore Hall. They released a recording of the complete piano trios by Robert Schumann on AVIE Records, receiving tremendous acclaim: “great care and affection” (BBC Radio); “intoxicating” (Gramophone); “exciting and deeply felt” (Strings); “fresh, supple and fantastic” (The Strad).

The Trio takes its inspiration from the musicianship, integrity, and humanity of the pre-eminent pianist Mieczysław Horszowski (1892–1993); the ensemble’s pianist, Rieko Aizawa, was Horszowski’s last pupil at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Described as “power players” by the Los Angeles Times, the Horszowski Trio’s repertoire includes works by many of the composers with whom Mr. Horszowski had personal interaction, including Gabriel Fauré, Enrique Granados, Bohuslav Martinů, Maurice Ravel, Camille Saint-Saëns and Heitor Villa-Lobos. The Horszowski Trio’s debut recording – an album of works by Gabriel Fauré, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Vincent d’Indy on the Bridge label – was released in 2014 and dedicated to the memory of Mieczysław Horszowski.

 

Jupiter String Quartet - Mar. 3, 2023

Jupiter stairs 450The Jupiter String Quartet is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (Meg’s older sister), and cellist Daniel McDonough (Meg’s husband, Liz’s brother-in-law). [You may remember Meg and Liz’s brother, J Freivogel, from his appearances here with the Jasper Quartet.] Now enjoying their 20th year together, this tight-knit ensemble is firmly established as an important voice in the world of chamber music. The New Yorker claims, “The Jupiter String Quartet, an ensemble of eloquent intensity, has matured into one of the mainstays of the American chamber-music scene.”

The quartet has performed across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Americas in some of the world’s finest halls, including New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes, Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, Austria’s Esterhazy Palace, and Seoul’s Sejong Chamber Hall.

Their chamber music honors and awards include the grand prizes in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 2004. In 2005, they won the Young Concert Artists International auditions in New York City, which quickly led to a busy touring schedule. They received the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America in 2007, followed by an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008. From 2007-2010, they were in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two and, in 2009, they received a grant from the Fromm Foundation to commission a new quartet from Dan Visconti for a CMSLC performance at Alice Tully Hall. In 2012, the Jupiter Quartet members were appointed as artists-in-residence and faculty at the University of Illinois, where they continue to perform regularly in the beautiful Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, maintain private studios, and direct the chamber music program. This demonstrates their particular suitability as adjudicators for our 18th Annual Young Artist String Quartet Competitions on Mar. 4.

The quartet's latest album is a collaboration with the Jasper String Quartet (Marquis Classics, 2021), produced by Grammy-winner Judith Sherman, and features the world premiere recording of Dan Visconti’s Eternal Breath, Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat, Op. 20, and Osvaldo Golijov’s Last Round. The quartet’s discography also includes numerous recordings on labels including Azica Records and Deutsche Grammophon.

 

Seraph Brass Quintet - Apr. 14, 2023

seraph blue 450It has been a long while since we hosted a brass quintet, and Seraph Brass is the right quintet at the right time. This young group, led by trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden, has a reputation for its attention to serious programming in addition to musical excellence and versatility. Seraph Brass has toured extensively throughout the United States, China, Mexico and Europe. On the international stage, Seraph has performed at the Lieksa Brass Week in Finland and the Forum Cultural Guanajuato in León, Mexico. Many members of Seraph Brass performed with Adele on her North American tour in 2016.

Committed to introducing new works into the chamber music repertoire for brass, Seraph Brass commissioned and premiered Wolf for solo soprano and brass quintet from Philadelphia-based composer Joseph Hallman. In its efforts to promote the work of women composers, Seraph has commissioned new works by Catherine McMichael and Rene Orth, both featured on the album Asteria. Seraph also premiered Lucy Pankhurst’s Ouroboros, with euphonium soloist Hélène Escriva, at the International Women’s Brass Conference. In addition to these original works, Seraph also has many original arrangements by trumpeter Jeff Luke featured on Asteria and Seraph Brass Live!

Members of Seraph Brass have performed with such esteemed ensembles as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Musicians from Marlboro, Luzern Music Festival in Switzerland, National Symphony, Brass Band of Battle Creek, Daejeon Philharmonic and Auckland Philharmonia. They currently hold positions in the Richmond Symphony, World and European Brass Association, Louisville Orchestra, Artosphere Orchestra, University of North Texas, University of Richmond, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Shenandoah Conservatory.

 

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