Marinus Ensemble with Michael Rusinek (Clarinet ’92)

The ever-changing, ever-engaging Marinus Ensemble is flexible in size and shape to accommodate a broad range of repertoire. Focused on a threefold mission of chamber concerts, audience interaction, and residencies, Marinus counts many Curtis alumni among its members. For this special recital, a Curtis faculty member and alumnus joins Marinus as a guest: Michael Rusinek, principal clarinet of the Pittsburgh Symphony, noted for his “lavish, supple timbre” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).


MAHLER                  Piano Quartet in A Minor

Nikki Chooi, violin
Rachel Yonan, viola
Angela Park, cello
Kwan Yi, piano

BEETHOVEN           Trio in B-Flat Major, Op. 11

Michael Rusinek, clarinet
Angela Park, cello
Kwan Yi, piano

GOLIJOV                 The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind

Michael Rusinek, clarinet
Timothy Fain and Nikki Chooi, violins
Rachel Yonan, viola
Angela Park, cello



Michael Rusinek, clarinet (’92)
Timothy Fain, violin (’98)
Nikki Chooi, violin (’12)
Rachel Yonan, viola (’11)
Angela Park, cello (’07)
Kwan Yi, piano (’08)


The Marinus Ensemble is a passionate group of young artists dedicated to engaging young and diverse audiences through riveting performances of great music. The ensemble’s extraordinary musicians—trained at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the New England Conservatory, among other leading musical institutions—combine a central unified core of strings and a pool of international soloists. Through a juxtaposition of styles, composers, and instruments, Marinus programs open the ears of listeners and reinforce the idea that all great music has the power to challenge, inform, and enlighten. 

Founded in 2010 by siblings Rachel Kuipers Yonan and Joseph Kuipers, the Marinus Ensemble has been ensemble in residence at Eastern University and Washington and Lee University, and performs at concert halls, universities, and churches around the country. The ensemble is now primarily based in Philadelphia with participating artists from Aix en Provence, Basel, Belgrade, Berlin, New York, Odessa, Rochester, and Stuttgart.

Michael Rusinek joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1998 as principal clarinet. He has also performed as principal clarinet with the orchestras of Philadelphia and St. Louis, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada; and as assistant principal clarinet of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Rusinek has often been a concerto soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, where in 2008 he premiered a new concerto by Alan Fletcher. He has performed as a soloist and recitalist throughout Canada, the United States, and Israel, including appearances with the Belgrade and Czech philharmonics and the Toronto Symphony. 

In 1985 Mr. Rusinek received the grand prize in the International Clarinet Society competition. He returns regularly to the Grand Teton, Santa Fe Chamber, and Aspen music festivals. He has also participated in the Tanglewood and Marlboro festivals and toured with the acclaimed Musicians from Marlboro. 

Born in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Rusinek studied with Avrahm Galper at the Royal Conservatory of Music and with Donald Montanaro at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Mr. Rusinek is on the music faculty of Carnegie Mellon University and joined the Curtis faculty in 2012.



  • Mahler's Piano Quartet in A Minor is his only surviving chamber work without voice. 

  • Beethoven's Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11 also goes by the nickname "Gassenhauer." In 18th-century Vienna, a Gassenhauer" was a tune so popular that many would sing or whistle it to themselves without even knowing the source—what we might describe as an "earworm" today. Beethoven chose such a melody for a set of variations as the last movement of this trio. The tune came from a popular comic opera of the time, L'amor marinaro (The Corsair in Love) by Josef Weigl. Other composers who used this melody included Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Niccolò Paganini. 

  • In Golijov's Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, the string quartet imitates an accordion in the prelude, a klezmer band in the second movement, and a shepherd's flute in the final movement.

The Curtis Presents season is sponsored by Blank Rome LLP.