/ News / Curtis Presents the Aizuri Quartet and Jonathan Biss on December 9 in Field Concert Hall

Curtis Presents the Aizuri Quartet and Jonathan Biss on December 9 in Field Concert Hall

2015–16 string quartet in residence returns for recital including collaboration with famed faculty member

PHILADELPHIA—December 1, 2017—The 2017–18 Curtis Presents season continues with a recital by the award-winning Aizuri Quartet and imaginative and expressive pianist Jonathan Biss on Saturday, December 9 at 8 p.m. in Field Concert Hall.

Formerly in residence at Curtis, the Aizuri Quartet opens its program by exploring a theme of isolation as experienced by four composers from four different centuries—Hildegard von Bingen, Carlo Gesualdo, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Conlon Nancarrow. After intermission the quartet joins forces with Jonathan Biss (Piano ’01) of Curtis’s faculty for Antonín Dvořák’s chamber masterwork, the Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81. 

Single tickets for $25 are available from the Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or Curtis.edu/Performances.

Past and future meet through the Curtis Presents series, which features a diverse collection of artists—alumni, faculty, students, and friends—whose musical foundations are rooted in the Curtis community. This series of intimate and innovative recitals offers a unique experience that transcends generations and genres, with exceptional artistry and one-of-a-kind programs.

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 and the Curtis Institute of Music, where it was also featured throughout the Curtis-Coursera online course, The World of the String Quartet.

The Aizuri Quartet has performed throughout the United States, Japan, Latin America, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates. Praised by the Washington Post for “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the ensemble was awarded first prize at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan and third prize at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London. The quartet has commissioned and premiered works by Lembit Beecher, Rene Orth, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Caroline Shaw, Gabriella Smith, Alyssa Weinberg, and Paul Wiancko.

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.

Pianist 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 has since reached more than 150,000 people in 185 countries, with new lectures added regularly.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. One of the most selective schools in the United States, Curtis accepts four percent of applicants each year on average. A tuition-free policy ensures that talent and artistic promise are the only considerations for admission. With a small student body of about 175, Curtis ensures that each young musician receives an education of unparalleled quality, distinguished by personalized attention from a celebrated faculty and a “learn by doing” philosophy. Curtis students hone their craft through than 200 orchestra, opera, and solo and chamber music offerings each year in Philadelphia and around the world.



CURTIS PRESENTS: Aizuri Quartet with Jonathan Biss

Saturday, December 9 at 8 p.m.

Field Concert Hall, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa.


HILDEGARD VON BINGEN     Columba aspexit, arr. Alex Fortes
GESUALDO                              “O tenebroso giorno,” from Madrigali libro quinto, arr. Alex Fortes
                                                    “Io parto e non più dissi,” from Madrigali libro sesto, arr. Alex Fortes
NANCARROW                           String Quartet No. 3
HAYDN                                       Quartet in C major, Hob. III:32

                                                     Aizuri Quartet

DVOŘÁK                                    Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81

                                                     Aizuri Quartet
                                                     Jonathan Biss, piano


Single tickets: $25, sold by the Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or Curtis.edu/Performances

The Curtis Presents season is sponsored by Blank Rome LLP.

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