The Aeolus Quartet, Juilliard’s Graduate Resident String Quartet, makes its NYC debut and performs quartets by Haydn, Ravel and American composer Christopher Theofanidis’ Ariel Ascending on the 21st annual Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall. The Quartet performs Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76, No. 5 and Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major. Members of the Aeolus Quartet are: Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro (violins); Gregory Luce (viola); and Alan Richardson (cello).
FREE tickets for the Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital will be available beginning April 21 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/chamber.
Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809) composed his six string quartets, Op. 76 from 1796-1798 as he was working on his oratorio, The Creation. The Opus 76 quartets are sometimes referred to as the Erdödy Quartets, named after the man who commissioned them from Haydn, Count Joseph Erdödy. The opening movement of the Opus 76, No. 5 quartet is a theme and variations, marked Allegretto. The slow movement features hymn-like melodies. A dance-like menuet follows, and a presto finale concludes the work.
Christopher Theofanidis’s Ariel Ascending was commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center and the Fromm Foundation for the Henschel String Quartet in 1995. “Sylvia Plath’s Ariel was the spark and catalyst for the piece,” writes Christopher Theofanidis. “I was so taken with that work and how she created a kind of wind in the words.” Theofanidis composed the piece as he was finishing his doctorate at Yale; members of the Henschel Quartet were good friends of his.
On selecting the work for the recital, the Aeolus violinist Nicholas Tavani says: “We first came across Ariel Ascending on Chris’ website while we were searching for new American music to play for our NEA American Masterpieces Grant. The clip available on the website was only 30 seconds, but it was all we needed to fall in love with the piece. As we’ve lived with the work this season, we’ve been captivated by its wild, writhing, intertwining lines and moments of still beauty. It also has one of the most exciting and satisfying endings in the repertoire.”
Composer Christopher Theofanidis has had performances by many leading orchestras from around the world, including the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Moscow Soloists, the National, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Detroit symphonies, and many others. He also has served as composer of the year for the Pittsburgh Symphony during their 2006-7 Season, which he wrote a violin concerto for Juilliard alumna, Sarah Chang. Recent works include a ballet for the American Ballet Theatre, a work for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and he currently has two separate opera commissions for the San Francisco and Houston Grand opera companies. He holds degrees from Yale, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Houston, and has been the recipient of the International Masterprize (hosted at the Barbican Centre in London), the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, six ASCAP Gould Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship to France, a Tanglewood Fellowship, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Charles Ives Fellowship. In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy® for best composition for his chorus and orchestra work, The Here and Now, based on the poetry of Rumi. Mr. Theofanidis currently teaches at Yale.
Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major was introduced at a concert of the Société Nationale de Musique on March 5, 1904. Ravel was just turning 29 years old and had just finished his studies with Gabriel Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire. Ravel wrote his only quartet a decade after Debussy had composed his only string quartet. The Quartet is in four movements: Moderato très doux, Assez vif-Très rythmé, Très lent, and Vif et agité.
About the Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital
The May 5 concert marks the 21st annual Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital, which is presented through the generosity of the Arnhold family. The members of each resident quartet, named Lisa Arnhold Fellows, receive free tuition and a stipend, as well as regular ensemble coachings with the Juilliard String Quartet; they, in turn, coach other Juilliard student ensembles. The annual residency may be extended through a second season upon completion of the second year, the quartet graduates from Juilliard, receiving the Artist Diploma in String Quartet Studies.
Previous graduate resident quartets have included the Afiara, Attacca, Avalon, Biava, Calder, Cassatt, Chiara, Colorado, Corigliano, Essex, Lark, Maia, Magellan, Miró, Shanghai, and St. Lawrence string quartets. The current graduate resident quartet also participates in the annual Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, coming up on May 19-23, 2014. Assembled from around the world by audition, the quartets complete their three week-long seminar with public performances by all participating quartets, this season, on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 3:30 PM and 7:30 PM in Paul Hall at Juilliard.
About the Aeolus Quartet
Praised by The Strad for their “high-octane” performance, the Aeolus Quartet is among the finest young string quartets performing today. Violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson formed the Aeolus Quartet in 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since its inception, the all-American quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and performed across the globe with showings “worthy of a major-league quartet”
(Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News). Luke Quinton of the Austin-American Statesman writes, “The Aeolus Quartet is a powerful and thoughtful group of young musicians who are plotting an ascending course…this vibrant group shows great promise.”
Grand Prizewinners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, the Aeolus Quartet was awarded first prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, a silver medal at the 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and a bronze medal at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The 16th Annual Austin Critics’ Table named the Aeolus Quartet their 2010-11 “Best Ensemble.” The Aeolus Quartet has released two critically acclaimed albums of classical and contemporary works through the Longhorn/Naxos label which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide.
The Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia in venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, Merkin Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.
The Quartet’s 2013-14 season includes multiple performances on the Smithsonian Institute’s rare instrument collection, an educational tour of the Midwest in conjunction with the Fischoff Competition, concert touring throughout the United States, and residencies in North Carolina and at the Austin Chamber Music Center’s Summer Festival.
Dedicated to bringing music into the community, the Aeolus Quartet has been widely recognized for their highly innovative and engaging outreach programs. The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association awarded the Aeolus their 2013 Educator Award in acknowledgment of the positive impact their educational efforts have had in diverse communities. Additionally, they were awarded the 2012 Lad Prize which culminated in large-scale community engagement work, performing in the Stanford area, and a master class residency at Stanford University. The Aeolus Quartet has also served as teaching faculty at Stanford University’s Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY), the Austin Chamber Music Workshop, and Da Camera of Houston’s Music Encounters Program. Working in collaboration with the University of Texas through the Rural Chamber Music Outreach Initiative, the Quartet has presented educational programs and performances in communities throughout the state of Texas.
The Aeolus Quartet has studied extensively with the Miró, Guarneri, and Juilliard quartets. Other mentors include artists such as William Preucil, Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, Itzhak Perlman, Gerhard Schulz, and Mark Steinberg. Members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin, where they served as the first graduate string quartet-in-Residence.
The Quartet is named for the Greek god Aeolus, who governed the four winds. This idea of a single spirit uniting four individual forces serves as an inspiration to the members of the Aeolus Quartet as they pursue their art. For further information, visit the Aeolus Quartet’s website at: http://www.aeolusquartet.com/.
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Monday, May 5, 2014, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall
21st Annual Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital
(Members: Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violins; Gregory Luce, viola; and Alan Richardson, cello)
Franz Josef HAYDN String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76, No. 5
Christopher THEOFANIDIS Ariel Ascending (1995)
Maurice RAVEL String Quartet in F Major
FREE tickets will be available beginning April 21 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/chamber.