String Quartet

The Nina von Maltzahn String Quartet Program at Curtis admits young quartets of extraordinary promise who, at the time of their audition, have been formed for at least one year.

The quartet in residence performs two recitals annually and has coachings at least twice per week with a rotating group drawn from Curtis’s renowned faculty, who carefully attend to the performance standards of the group. The ensemble is expected to perform in master classes for leading quartets and other artists who may visit Curtis. Quartet members participate in concerts of contemporary music with the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble.

The quartet also participates in Curtis’s Community Artists Program, designing and implementing a unique performance project that combines artistry with invention, leadership with advocacy, and citizenship with community.

As mentoring is an important dimension of the quartet program, quartet members coach and perform with students who are part of the Young Artists Initiative (those of high school age and younger).

The Vera Quartet is in its first season as quartet in residence at the Curtis Institute of Music. In 2018–19 the quartet appears with pianist Peter Serkin on the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble series and with piano faculty member Meng-Chieh Liu on the Curtis Presents series. The group travels to the Intimacy of Creativity festival in Hong Kong as part of the festival’s ensemble in residence from Curtis.

The Vera Quartet’s members hail from Spain, Cuba, and the U.S., and share a deep commitment to exploring and programming the music of their roots, in juxtaposition with the great masterworks of the string quartet repertoire. Winner of the 2018 Astral Artists National Auditions, the quartet has also received grand prizes at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and the Chamber Music in Yellow Springs Competition for Emerging Professional Ensembles, top prizes from the M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet Prize from the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. In 2017 the group participated in the Robert Mann and Juilliard string quartet seminars, and was selected by NPR’s Performance Today as a Young Artist in Residence.

The Vera Quartet has attended the chamber music residency program at the Banff Centre, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the McGill International String Quartet Academy, and the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where they worked closely with composer Augusta Read Thomas and gave the local premiere of her Selene. The quartet previously held a residency at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany; and served as the graduate quartet in residence at the Jacobs School of Music, where they worked with the Pacifica Quartet, collaborated with the IU Latin American Music Center and the IU New Music Ensemble, and partnered with the Musical Arts Youth Organization, among other activities.

 

Curtis is grateful to the donors who provided generous funding to pilot the school's string quartet program: Henry Arnhold, Nina Baroness von Maltzahn, Bob and Gina Mundheim, and Phil and Eli Taylor.

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