Peter Landgren, dean and Thomas James Kelly professor of music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), has announced that the internationally acclaimed Ariel Quartet has been named as a new string-quartet-in-residence at CCM.
As quartet-in-residence, the Ariel Quartet will present a series of public performances at CCM and its members will work closely with CCM’s student musicians providing chamber music coaching. This initial residency will be for three and a half years, committing this fine ensemble to CCM and the greater artistic community through the 2014 – 2015 academic year and concert season.
“We are very excited to welcome the Ariel Quartet to CCM,” says Dean Landgren. “Through this residency, the Quartet will provide a world-class level of performance for our students and for the greater Cincinnati community and provide a focus to the study of chamber music at the school. Cincinnati and CCM have a strong tradition of chamber music, beginning with the LaSalle Quartet’s residency at CCM, and we are fortunate to begin a new chapter of excellence with the talents of the Ariel String Quartet.”
A core group of philanthropists has come forward to help finance this initial three and a half year residency, and CCM is actively pursuing an endowment of $2 million to fund a resident string quartet in perpetuity at CCM. Dean Landgren adds, “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors, their belief in the quality of education provided through the discipline of chamber music study and their recognition of the importance of a resident string quartet to the greater Cincinnati community.”
Formed in Israel in 1998, the Quartet includes violinists Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra Kazovsky, violist Jan Grüning and cellist Amit Even-Tov. The Ariel Quartet moved to the United States in 2004 to continue its professional studies, graduating from the Professional Quartet Training Program at the New England Conservatory in 2010.
Grand Prize winners of the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Ariel Quartet also won the Székely Prize for its performance of Bartók, as well as the overall Third Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2007 and was awarded First Prize at the “Franz Schubert and The Music Of Modernity” competition in Graz, Austria in 2003.
The Quartet spent most of the 2010-11 season in Basel, Switzerland, where they had the opportunity to work with Walter Levin, founding first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet, CCM’s storied quartet in residence from 1953-1988.
“We are very fortunate to have the Ariel Quartet in residence,” exclaimed Lee Fiser, professor of violoncello and cellist for the LaSalle Quartet from 1975 until the Quartet’s retirement in 1988. “I was a member of the jury when the Ariel won the first prize at the international ‘Franz Schubert and the Music of Modernity’ competition in Austria in 2003. Even at that early point in their career, the high artistic level of the Ariel was very much in evidence. Playing three entirely different programs in the space of four days and including some of the most sublime and difficult repertoire in the string quartet literature, they were hands down the top of the competition. I for one will very much enjoy their tenure at CCM.”
Commenting on their residency, the Ariel Quartet has released the following statement: “It is a thrill and an honor to bring our life-long passion for chamber music to CCM, a school with such a rich tradition and devotion to great music making. We are all very excited to be joining the CCM community!”
Details on the Ariel Quartet’s 2012-13 CCM concert series will be announced later this year. The Quartet’s 2012-13 repertoire is scheduled to include Beethoven’s Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131; Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127 and Quartet in F Major, Op. 135, as the group prepares to become the first quartet to publicly perform the entire Beethoven Cycle before the ensemble members reach the age of 30.
About the Ariel Quartet
Characterized by its youth, brilliant playing and soulful interpretations, the Ariel Quartet has quickly earned a glowing international reputation. Previously the resident ensemble in the New England Conservatory’s prestigious Professional String Quartet Training Program, the Quartet recently celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Formed in Israel, the Quartet moved to the United States in 2004 to continue its professional studies. The Grand Prize winners of the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, they have also been awarded First Prize at the international competition “Franz Schubert and The Music Of Modernity” in Graz, Austria (2003). After they won the Székely Prize for their performance of Bartók, as well as the overall Third Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2007, the American Record Guide described the Ariel Quartet as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power” and called their performance of Beethoven’s Quartet Op. 132 “the pinnacle of the competition.”
The Ariel Quartet has performed extensively in Israel, Europe and North America, including such venues as the Louvre in Paris, Kaisersaal in Frankfurt (“…a tour de force,” said the Frankfurter Allgemeine), Jordan Hall in Boston, and the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Corcoran Gallery and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In the 2010-2011 season the Quartet participated in a Beethoven cycle at the National Gallery and joined the competitors of the 13th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition for the Chamber Music round in May 2011. The quartet spent most of the 2010-11 season in Basel, Switzerland, where they had the opportunity to work with Walter Levin, the founding first violinist of the famous LaSalle Quartet.
Highlights of the 2011-12 season include residencies for the Perlman Music Program and El Paso Pro Musica and performances in Europe and throughout North America including concerts in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Gainesville, FL. The Ariel has remained committed to performing extensively in Israel and returns home frequently to appear in concert.
In addition to performing the traditional quartet repertoire, the Ariel Quartet regularly collaborates with many Israeli and non-Israeli musicians and composers, including pianists Roman Rabinovich, Alexander Gavrylyuk and Yaron Kohlberg; the Jerusalem String Quartet; composers Matan Porat, Matti Kovler and Menachem Wiesenberg; clarinetist Moran Katz; violist Roger Tapping; and the Zukerman Chamber Players. Additionally, the Ariel was quartet-in-residence in the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival for two consecutive years.
The Quartet received extensive scholarship support for the members’ studies in the United States from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Dov and Rachel Gottesman and the Legacy Heritage Fund. Most recently, they were awarded a substantial grant from The A. N. and Pearl G. Barnett Family Foundation and were named the 2011 Barnett Fellows.