Aizuri Quartet (String Quartet ’16) with Jonathan Biss (Piano ’01)

The Aizuri Quartet derives its name from a Japanese style of woodblock printing that features intricate detail and vibrant color—which perfectly describes the group’s charismatic yet meticulous musicianship. The quartet's credits include first prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2017 and third prize at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in 2015. Formerly in residence at Curtis, the Aizuri Quartet opens its Curtis Presents program by exploring a theme of isolation as experienced by four composers from four different centuries. For the second half the quartet joins forces with the imaginative and expressive pianist Jonathan Biss of Curtis’s piano faculty for Antonín Dvořák's chamber masterwork, the Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81. Their dynamic collaboration is not to be missed.

Repertoire

DVOŘÁK
GESUALDO
HAYDN
HILDEGARD VON BINGEN
NANCARROW
Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81
"Io parto e non più dissi," from Madrigali libro sesto
Quartet in C major, Hob. III:32
Columba aspexit
String Quartet No. 3

Biographies

Formed in 2012 and based in New York City, the Aizuri Quartet is the 2017–18 string quartet in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Previously the quartet has held residencies at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, and the Curtis Institute of Music. Throughout its Curtis residency, the group appeared in Curtis on Tour performances in Bremen, Dresden, Paris, and Salzburg; throughout Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico; and in U.S. venues including Aspen, Boston, La Jolla, and New York. The quartet was also featured throughout the Curtis-Coursera online course, The World of the String Quartet.

Highlights of the Aizuri Quartet’s recent and upcoming seasons include a multi-city tour of Japan and debut recitals at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Princeton University, and major chamber music series in Philadelphia, Toronto, and Honolulu. The quartet has commissioned and premiered works by Lembit Beecher, Rene Orth, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Caroline Shaw, Gabriella Smith, Alyssa Weinberg, and Paul Wiancko. Its collaborative partners have included pianists Jonathan Biss and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Eighth Blackbird, poet Denice Frohman, and singer-songwriter Andrew Lipke. The Aizuri Quartet draws its name from “aizuri-e,” a style of predominantly blue Japanese woodblock printing that is noted for its vibrancy and incredible detail.

Jonathan Biss has appeared as soloist with the world's foremost orchestras--including the New York Philharmonic; the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Philharmonia, and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras; and the Chicago, Boston, London, and NHK symphony orchestras--and has given recitals in such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Berliner Philharmonie.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mr. Biss has collaborated with many of today's finest players, including Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida, Midori, Mark Padmore, the Elias String Quartet, and Miriam Fried. He is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award, the Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the 2003 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, among other honors.

Mr. Biss is recording the complete Beethoven piano sonatas for Onyx Classics and previously made four CDs for EMI Classics, as well as one for Wigmore Hall Live. He is also a prolific writer and is the first classical musician to publish two Kindle Singles, A Pianist Under the Influence and Beethoven’s Shadow.

He studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at the Curtis Institute of Music with Leon Fleisher. Mr. Biss joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011, where he holds the Neubauer Family Chair in Piano Studies.

In 2013 Mr. Biss launched a Curtis-Coursera course, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, which had an initial enrollment of over 35,000 students. He continues to add lectures to the course periodically.

C Presents Aizuri