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Violinist Nick Eanet, concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, to become first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet

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Juilliard String Quartet by Vanessa Briceno-Schirzer
Juilliard String Quartet by Vanessa Briceno-Schirzer

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Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi announced today that 36-year-old violinist and Juilliard alumnus Nick Eanet, currently one of two concertmasters of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, will join the Juilliard String Quartet as first violinist, beginning in July 2009. He also becomes a member of the Juilliard violin faculty beginning with the fall 2009 semester. Mr. Eanet follows violinist Joel Smirnoff as first violin; Mr. Smirnoff has become President of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Mr. Eanet joins the current members of the Juilliard String Quartet: violinist Ronald Copes (Quartet member since 1997), violist Samuel Rhodes (1969), and cellist Joel Krosnick (1974), all of whom are are members of the Juilliard faculty.  Mr. Eanet will perform with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra through the end of the 2008-2009 season.
 
The Juilliard String Quartet was founded as Juilliard’s resident string quartet in 1946 by then-Juilliard President William Schuman. In its 62-year history, the JSQ has encompassed eleven different members, with changes happening singly and gradually during that time. The current Quartet with violinist Joel Smirnoff has been together since 1997, when the founding violinist of the Quartet, Robert Mann, retired after 50 years. At that time Mr. Smirnoff assumed the first violin position, with Ronald Copes joining as second violin.

Mr. Eanet is welcomed enthusiastically and unanimously by  the continuing members of the Juilliard String Quartet, whose goal was to find a player who would take the Quartet into the next generation and continue the Juilliard String Quartet’s legacy with vitality and youthfulness. An interest in performing contemporary music was paramount, as was the desire to teach. A commitment to and love of chamber music performance was most important of all.  They sought a performer whose unique musical voice could  almost indefinably add to the dialogue that is a trademark of the Juilliard String Quartet. Mr. Eanet is virtually the embodiment of that search.  All-day  rehearsals were arranged in which Mr. Eanet and the three continuing quartet members played and worked through a wide variety of music, representing the breadth of the Juilliard Quartet’s performing repertoire. Time spent playing and in conversation with Mr. Eanet showed both a mutual  emotional connection as well as a shared musical philosophy. 

Nick Eanet has been a chamber music player his entire life, first performing with a quartet at the precocious age of five. He was a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet earlier in his career and had continued his chamber music performance while a member of the Met Opera Orchestra since 1999. When the quartet invited him to play with them, the members found his playing to be artistically and technically of the highest standards. Highly compatible conceptually, their music-making was very satisfying. Because of that, they were convinced that Mr. Eanet was the right choice for the group.

Mr. Eanet is an  experienced teacher of violin; while a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, he was in residence and taught at Harvard University. He also was a member of the faculty of the University of Delaware and the North Carolina School of the Arts. A 1994 graduate of The Juilliard School, Mr. Eanet’s teacher was Juilliard Quartet founding violinist Robert Mann.

Juilliard President Polisi expressed the delight of the Juilliard community when he said, “It is an enormous pleasure to welcome back Nick Eanet to Juilliard.  A musician of great artistry and intellectual curiosity, he will be a significant addition to our violin faculty, as well as an individual who represents a link to a new generation of chamber musicians.”
 
On being selected to join the world-renowned Juilliard String Quartet, Mr. Eanet remarked: "After ten years as concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, I will be taking over the position of first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet in the summer of 2009. I will be replacing Joel Smirnoff, who has devoted over two decades of his musical energy to the quartet, and who is currently the President of the Cleveland Institute of Music. This is quite an exciting crossroads in my career and I will miss the indelible energy and inspiring leadership of James Levine, as well as all the special moments with my wonderful friends in the orchestra. I have a personal relationship with this legendary quartet as I learned most of the literature from their famous recordings and electrifying concerts. Founder and first violinist Robert Mann was also my teacher and mentor during my last years as a student at The Juilliard School.”

Mr. Eanet continued: “The blueprint for the modern day string quartet, the JSQ has been profoundly involved in creating a prolific body of new music for the medium through their dedication to younger and established composers alike. They have also taught and guided virtually all the major American string quartets playing today. True cultural ambassadors, the Quartet has made a number of state sponsored trips abroad in the past. Music is a great communicator and I look forward to being part of this legacy.  To have this unique opportunity to help lead this historic quartet into the future is an honor, and I look forward to rejoining the Juilliard community and making music with my new colleagues with great excitement,” added Mr. Eanet.

Each continuing member of the Juilliard String Quartet added to the picture of how they came to choose Mr. Eanet as their new first violinist. According to cellist Joel Krosnick, “The goal was to find a distinctive musical voice that would add to the richness of dialogue that always has been a JSQ hallmark. The music needed to be alive in that room.” Violist Samuel Rhodes added, “Nick’s infectious love of the medium and the repertoire was so important to us.  We knew from working together and our conversations that we had absolutely found the right person to be our new first violinist.” Violinist Ronald Copes explained further, “After hearing the excitement and inspiration that Nick brought to performance, and our response to his voice, we knew this choice was correct. We felt ongoing positive feedback that was much like a live performance.” 
 
As champions of contemporary music since their founding, the Juilliard String Quartet’s commissioned works come from noted composers such as Milton Babbitt, Ralph Shapey, Ezekiel Viñao, and Richard Wernick. In 2007-08, the Juilliard String Quartet offered special programming in honor of Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday, and on April 29, 2008 at Juilliard, the Quartet, with clarinetist and Juilliard faculty member Charles Neidich, performed the world premiere of Elliott Carter’s Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet.

The Juilliard String Quartet, in their last season with violinist Joel Smirnoff, can be heard in two free recitals this season at Juilliard: on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 8 PM, the Quartet performs Mendelssohn’s Quartet No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 12, the New York premiere of Richard Wernick’s String Quartet No. 7, and Ravel’s Quartet; and on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 8 PM, the Quartet performs an all-Haydn program. Both of these concerts, part of Juilliard’s Daniel Saidenberg Faculty Recital Series, take place at Alice Tully Hall.

The Quartet’s last appearance together with Joel Smirnoff takes place on June 28, 2009 at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts. Mr. Eanet will take over as first violinist for a performance at the Ravinia Festival on July 8. In addition to the quartet’s North American performances, tours of Asia and Europe are planned during the 2009—2010 season.

THE JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET

Nick Eanet, violin
Nick Eanet began his violin studies at the age of three with Nicole DiCecco, and was an avid chamber musician almost from the beginning, playing quartets by the age of five. When he was only eleven, his young quartet was invited to perform at a festival by Shinichi Suzuki in Matsumoto, Japan. At the age of twelve, he was admitted to The Juilliard School Pre-College where he studied with Dorothy DeLay, continuing at the college with Robert Mann. After graduating from Juilliard with a bachelor of music degree, Mr. Eanet joined the Mendelssohn String Quartet as leader and first violinist.

During his years with the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Mr. Eanet performed around the world in major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Library of Congress. His teaching responsibilities included posts at Harvard University and the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Numerous summer festival appearances include the Mostly Mozart Festival, Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Maui Chamber Music Festival, Steamboat Springs Strings in the Mountains Festival, among others. His playing, hailed by the New York Times as "brilliant and passionate," is in great demand: In addition to performing with the Sea Cliff Chamber Players and at Bargemusic, Mr. Eanet is a key member of Amadeus Virtuosi, a chamber orchestra that he also conducts.  He has premiered and recorded the violin music of Frederich Nietzsche, available on the Newport Classic label.

Mr. Eanet’s exposure to solo work also began when he was quite young.  At age eight he was invited by Zubin Mehta to appear as soloist with the New York Philharmonic in one of the orchestra's Young People's Concerts. Two years later, he performed as soloist on the Philharmonic's subscription series and its New Year's Eve gala concert. Mr. Eanet has since performed as soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra led by James Levine at Carnegie Hall, the Minnesota Orchestra with Sir Neville Marriner, the New York Youth Symphony, and others.

Since 1999, Mr. Eanet has been the concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a position appointed by James Levine. During his tenure with the orchestra, Mr. Eanet has performed across Europe and Japan, and regularly appears in orchestral and chamber music concerts at all three venues at Carnegie Hall. Nick Eanet is a native Brooklynite.

Ronald Copes, violin
Praised by audiences and critics alike for his insightful artistry, violinist Ronald Copes has received international acclaim as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.  Having appeared as a featured performer in the Marlboro, Tanglewood, Bermuda, Cheltenham, Colorado and Olympic music festivals, Mr. Copes has toured extensively with Music From Marlboro ensembles, the Los Angeles and Dunsmuir piano quartets, and, since 1997, with the Juilliard String Quartet in concerts throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

He has recorded numerous solo and chamber music works for radio and television broadcast, as well as for Sony Classical, Orion, CRI, Klavier, New World Records, ECM and the Musical Heritage Society. Devoting considerable energy to the development and presentation of contemporary string literature, he has worked closely with composers and has given the first performances of a number of solo and chamber works. 

Mr. Copes has garnered prizes in several national and international competitions, including the Artists' Advisory Council, the Merriweather Post and the Concours International d'execution Musicale in Geneva.  For two decades he served as Professor of Violin at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and, in 1997, joined the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York City. During the summers he is on the artist-faculty of the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival.

Samuel Rhodes, viola
Samuel Rhodes is celebrating his 40th year as a member of both the Juilliard String Quartet and the faculty of the Juilliard School where he is chair of the viola department. He has been a participant in the Marlboro Festival since 1960 and is a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center. His solo appearances have included several recitals at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and an unaccompanied recital at The Juilliard School. This celebratory season includes recitals in Hamburg, Germany and at Juilliard. In June 2001, Mr. Rhodes was invited to play a recital in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Viola Space in Tokyo, Japan. He gave the world premiere of Figment IV for solo viola by Elliott Carter in January 2008 in Paris. In 1998, Mr. Rhodes had the honor of being invited to join the late Isaac Stern as a coach at his Chamber Music Workshops in Jerusalem, Israel; Miyazaki, Japan and Carnegie Hall, New York.

A native New Yorker, Samuel Rhodes studied the viola with Sydney Beck and Walter Trampler. He has a bachelor of arts degree from Queens College, New York and a master of fine arts degree from Princeton University where he studied composition with Roger Sessions and Earl Kim. As a composer, Mr. Rhodes wrote a String Quintet for two violins, two violas and cello, which has been performed by the Blair, Composer's, Galimir, Pro Arte and Sequoia quartets. The Pro Arte Quartet recently recorded the work with the composer as guest artist.

Mr. Rhodes has been artist-in-residence at Michigan State University and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Michigan State, the University of Jacksonville and the San Francisco Conservatory. He has appeared as a guest artist with many ensembles including the Beaux Arts and Mannes trios and with the Brentano, Cleveland, Guarneri, and Mendelssohn quartets.

Joel Krosnick, cello
Joel Krosnick has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician around the world. As a member of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1974, he has performed the great quartet literature throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. With his sonata partner of more than 30 years, pianist Gilbert Kalish, Mr. Krosnick has performed recitals throughout the U. S. and Europe. Since 1976, they have given annual series of recitals in New York City and recently presented the series American Milestones of the Last 100 Years at The Juilliard School.

With Mr. Kalish, Mr. Krosnick has recorded the complete sonatas and variations of Beethoven and the sonatas of Brahms, as well as works by Poulenc, Prokofiev, Carter, Hindemith, Debussy, Janacek, and Cowell for the Arabesque label. Especially noteworthy is their CD devoted to the cello and piano music of Ralph Shapey. Yet to be released is a CD, Forgotten Americans.

Mr. Krosnick completed his bachelor of arts degree at Columbia College where he began his lifelong commitment to contemporary music. He has performed and premiered a large number of new works by composers including Donald Martino, Ralph Shapey and Richard Wernick. Joel Krosnick's recording of the Sonata for Solo Cello by Artur Schnabel appears on the CP2 label, and his CD of Roger Sessions' Six Pieces for Solo Cello is presented on Koch Classics.

A dedicated and passionate teacher, Mr. Krosnick is chairman of the cello department of The Juilliard School and is a member of the faculty of Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Maine. He has been associated with the Aspen, Marlboro and Tanglewood music festivals, and appeared for the third time as a member of the artist-faculty of the Piatigorsky Seminar at the University of Southern California. A recipient of the Chevalier du Violoncelle Award from the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at the Indiana University School of Music, Mr. Krosnick holds honorary doctoral degrees from Michigan State University, Jacksonville University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Juilliard String Quartet Personnel
1946 – 2009, updated: 10/16/08

 JSQ I  1946-1955
  Robert Mann, Violin I
  Robert Koff, Violin II
  Raphael Hillyer, Viola
  Arthur Winograd, ‘Cello

 JSQ II  1955-1958
  Robert Mann, Violin I
  Robert Koff, Violin II
  Raphael Hillyer, Viola
  Claus Adam, ‘Cello

 JSQ III  1958-1966
  Robert Mann, Violin I
  Isidore Cohen, Violin II
  Raphael Hillyer, Viola
  Claus Adam, ‘Cello

  JSQ IV  1966-1969
  Robert Mann, Violin I
  Earl Carlyss, Violin II
  Raphael Hillyer, Viola
  Claus Adam, ‘Cello

 JSQ V  1969-1974
  Robert Mann, Violin I
  Earl Carlyss, Violin II
  Samuel Rhodes, Viola
  Claus Adam, ‘Cello

 JSQ VI  1974-1986
  Robert Mann, Violin I
  Earl Carlyss, Violin II
  Samuel Rhodes, Viola
  Joel Krosnick, ‘Cello

 JSQ VII  1986-1997
  Robert Mann, Violin I
  Joel Smirnoff, Violin II
  Samuel Rhodes, Viola
  Joel Krosnick, ‘Cello

 JSQ VIII  1997- 2009
  Joel Smirnoff, Violin I
  Ronald Copes, Violin II
  Samuel Rhodes, Viola
  Joel Krosnick, ‘Cello

 JSQ IX  2009-
  Nick Eanet, Violin I
  Ronald Copes, Violin II
  Samuel Rhodes, Viola
  Joel Krosnick, ‘Cello