String Quartet Program
A top prizewinner in the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London, the Aizuri Quartet is currently the String Quartet-in-Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music (learn more about the string quartet program). During the course of its residency, the Quartet appears in Curtis on Tour performances throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America, and in various venues throughout Philadelphia, including the Barnes Foundation, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Curtis’s Field Concert Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, World Café Live, and on WRTI’s musician-hosted radio special “Philadelphia Music Makers.” In addition to working closely with the Curtis Institute of Music’s renowned faculty, the Aizuri Quartet is featured throughout the Curtis-Coursera online course The World of the String Quartet, hosted by Arnold Steinhardt.
The Aizuri Quartet’s 2015-2016 season includes debut recitals at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Schneider Concerts in New York City, Wolf Trap, and multiple appearances as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. The Quartet will premiere newly commissioned works by composers Caroline Shaw and Paul Wiancko, in addition to collaborating with pianists Jonathan Biss and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and clarinetist Michael Rusinek.
Highlights of previous seasons include performances in Bremen, Dresden, Paris and Salzburg, at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and New York City’s Morgan Library and Museum with cellist Peter Wiley, and throughout Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico with violist Roberto Díaz. The Quartet has enjoyed collaborations with eighth blackbird, the Aeolus String Quartet, poet Denice Frohman, and composers Lembit Beecher and Andrew Lipke. Formed in 2012 and comprising graduates of The Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music, the Aizuri Quartet was the resident ensemble of the 2014 Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute.
Curtis is grateful to the following donors who have provided generous funding to pilot the school's string quartet program: Henry Arnhold, Nina Baroness von Maltzahn, Bob and Guna Mundheim, and Phil and Eli Taylor.
About the string quartet program
The Curtis String Quartet Program admits young quartets of extraordinary promise who, at the time of their audition, have been formed for at least one year. Ensembles admitted into this two-year diploma program will consist of excellent musicians both individually and collectively, have clear aspirations for a career as a professional quartet, and demonstrate an affinity for Curtis’s “learn by doing” approach to artistic development.
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 will 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 will participate in concerts of contemporary music with the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble.
The quartet will also participate 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 will coach and perform with students who are part of the Young Artists Initiative (those of high school age and younger).