The Ariel Quartet welcomes pianist Anton Nel (MM Piano, ’84) for two works featuring strings and piano, as well as Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, the “Emperor” quartet in the ensemble’s final performance of its 2019-20 concert series at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. The concert, titled “Hungary,” takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 in CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.
The program’s highlight is Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor. This piece for piano, violin, viola and cello premiered in 1861, with Clara Schumann performing the piano part. Also featured on the program is Ernö Dohnányi’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in E-flat Minor. Brahms was a proponent of Dohnányi’s works, especially his first piano quintet, which Brahms helped to promote in Vienna. Later in his life, Dohnányi transcribed the fourth movement of Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 as a showpiece for solo piano.
Described by the New York Times as “an uncommonly elegant pianist,” Nel is an accomplished solo performer who has given concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and many others. He is the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor of Piano and Chamber Music, as well as the head of the Division of Keyboard Studies, at the University of Texas at Austin. He has an extensive discography and was the winner of the first prize in the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall. Cincinnati audiences might remember Nel’s powerful performance with the CCM Philharmonia during the college’s Sesquicentennial Alumni Showcase in 2018.
Described by the American Record Guide as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power,” the Ariel Quartet has earned a glowing international reputation. The ensemble is comprised of Alexandra “Sasha” Kazovsky, violin; Amit Even-Tov, cello; Gershon Gerchikov, violin; and Jan Grüning, viola. The group was formed in Israel in 1998 and has served as CCM’s string quartet-in-residence since 2012.
About Anton Nel
Anton Nel, winner of the first prize in the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall, continues to enjoy a remarkable and multifaceted career that has taken him to North and South America, Europe, Asia and South Africa. Following an auspicious debut at the age of 12 with Beethoven’s C Major Concerto after only two years of study, the Johannesburg native captured first prizes in all the major South African competitions while still in his teens, toured his native country extensively and became a well-known radio and television personality. A student of Adolph Hallis, he made his European debut in France in 1982, and in the same year graduated with highest distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He came to the United States in 1983, attending the University of Cincinnati, where he pursued his Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees under Bela Siki and Frank Weinstock. In addi-tion to garnering many awards from his alma mater during this three-year period, he was a prize winner at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition in England and won several first prizes at the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition in Palm Desert in 1986.
Highlights of Nel’s four decades of concertizing include performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the symphonies of Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit and London, among many others. He has an active repertoire of more than 100 works for piano and orchestra. An acclaimed Beethoven interpreter, Nel has performed the concerto cycle several times, most notably on two consecutive evenings with the Cape Philharmonic in 2005. Additionally, he has performed all-Beethoven solo recitals, complete cycles of the violin and cello works, and most recently a highly successful run of the Diabelli Variations as part of Moises Kaufman’s play 33 Variations. He was also chosen to give the North American premiere of the newly discovered Piano Concerto No. 3 in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn in 1992. Two noteworthy world premieres of works by living composers include Virtuoso Alice by David Del Tredici (dedicated to and performed by Nel at his Lincoln Center debut in 1988) as well as Stephen Paulus’s Piano Concerto also written for Nel; the acclaimed world premiere took place in New York in 2003.
As recitalist he has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection in New York, the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, Davies Hall in San Francisco, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Internationally he has performed recitals in major concert halls in Canada, England (Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls in London), France, Holland (Concertgebouw in Amsterdam), Japan (Suntory Hall in Tokyo), Korea, China and South Africa.
A favorite at summer festivals, he has performed at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as at the music festivals of Aspen and Ravinia (where he is on the artist-faculties), Vancouver, Cartagena and Stellenbosch, among many others. Possessing an encyclopedic chamber music and vocal repertoire he has, over the years, regularly collaborated with many of the world’s foremost string quartets, instrumen-tal soloists and singers. With acclaimed violinist Sarah Chang he completed a highly successful tour of Japan as well as appeared at a special benefit concert for Live Music Now in London, hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales.
Eager to pursue dual careers in teaching and performing, he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in his early 20s, followed by professorships at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan, where he was chairman of the piano department. In September 2000, Nel was appointed as the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor of Piano and Chamber music at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches an international class of students and heads the Division of Keyboard Studies. Since his return he has also been the recipient of two Austin-American Statesman Critics Circle Awards, as well as the University Cooperative Society/College of Fine Arts award for extra-curricular achievement. In 2001 he was appointed Visiting “Extraordinary” Professor at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, and continues to teach master classes worldwide. In January 2010 he became the first holder of the new Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Chair in Piano at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2015 he has been presenting an annual series of masterclasses in piano and chamber music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York as Visiting Professor and also teaches regularly at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.
Nel is also an acclaimed harpsichordist and fortepianist. In recent seasons he has per-formed annual recitals on both instruments, concertos by the Bach family, Haydn and Mozart with La Follia Austin Baroque as well as the Poulenc Harpsichord Concerto (Concert Champêtre) with the Austin Symphony.
His recordings include four solo CDs, several chamber music recordings (including the complete Beethoven Piano and Cello Sonatas and Variations, and the Brahms Sonatas with Bion Tsang), and works for piano and orchestra by Franck, Faure and Saint-Saens. His latest release features premiere recordings of all the works for piano and orchestra of Edward Burlingame Hill with the Austin Symphony conducted by Peter Bay.
Nel became a citizen of the United States on September 11, 2003 and is a Steinway artist.
- HAYDN: String Quartet No. 62 in C Major, Op. 76, No. 3, “Emperor”
- DOHNÁNYI: Piano Quintet No. 2 in E-flat Minor, Op. 26
- BRAHMS: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10
Single ticket prices start at $29.50 each; student and group discounts available. Pricing is inclusive of all fees. All performances are reserved seating.
Tickets can be purchased online though our e-box office, over the phone at 513-556-4183 or in person at the CCM Box Office in the Atrium of UC’s Corbett Center for the Performing Arts.
Learn about additional ticket options for current CCM students.
CCM is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions for detailed driving directions to CCM Village. Parking is available in UC’s CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates. For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.
Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle
The Ariel Quartet’s 2019-20 CCM concert series is made possible by the generous contributions of an anonymous donor, The Estate of Mr. William A. Friedlander, Mrs. William A. Friedlander, Dr. Randolph L. Wadsworth, Judith Schonbach Landgren and Peter Landgren, Mr. and Mrs. Harry H. Santen, Elizabeth C. B. and Paul G. Sittenfeld, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Stegman, Dr. and Mrs. Theodore W. Striker and Mrs. Harry M. Hoffheimer.