Curtis on Tour: Cello Quintet

In February 2022, Curtis on Tour offers a program of cello quintets. The brilliant Quintet in C major, D. 956, written by Franz Schubert for two violins, viola, and two cellos, is one of the finest and most compelling works in the chamber music repertoire. Schubert’s masterpiece will be paired with a new companion piece, co-commissioned by Curtis for this tour, by composition faculty Richard Danielpour. The ensemble will be led by faculty members and renowned chamber musicians Ida Kavafian and Peter Wiley, both former members of the internationally-acclaimed Beaux Arts Trio.


RICHARD DANIELPOUR        String Quintet (“A Shattered Vessel”)
FRANZ SCHUBERT Quintet in C major, D. 956


Ida Kavafian, violin

Internationally acclaimed as a violist as well as a violinist, the versatile Ida Kavafian is an artist-member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and former violinist of the Beaux Arts Trio. For 34 years she has been artistic director of Music from Angel Fire in New Mexico, where some 200 Curtis students have participated in the Young Artist Program to date. She was a founder of the Bravo! Colorado festival, serving as its artistic director for ten years; and co-founded the chamber ensembles Opus One, Tashi, and Trio Valtorna. She also performs as a soloist and in recital with her sister, violinist Ani Kavafian.

Ms. Kavafian has premiered numerous works, including concertos by Toru Takemitsu and Michael Daugherty, whose Fire and Blood she recorded with the Detroit Symphony. She has toured and recorded with jazz artists Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis, and with fiddler/composer Mark O'Connor.

Born in Istanbul of Armenian parentage, Ms. Kavafian is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Oscar Shumsky. She made her debut through Young Concert Artists with the pianist Peter Serkin, and also received the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. She resides with her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom, in Philadelphia and Connecticut, where they breed and train prizewinning Hungarian vizsla show dogs.

Since 1998 Ms. Kavafian has served on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she received the 2013 Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. She also teaches at the Juilliard School and the Bard College Conservatory of Music.


Peter Wiley, cello

Peter Wiley, a 1974 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, has played at leading festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival, for which he also tours and records. As a recitalist he has appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. A member of the Beaux Arts Trio from 1987 to 1998, Mr. Wiley also succeeded his teacher, David Soyer, as cellist of the Guarneri String Quartet from 2001 to 2009. He is a member of the piano quartet Opus One, with Curtis faculty members Ida Kavafian and Steven Tenenbom and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott.

Mr. Wiley entered Curtis at age thirteen. At twenty he was named principal cello of the Cincinnati Symphony, after one year with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He made his concerto debut at Carnegie Hall in 1986 with the New York String Orchestra conducted by Alexander Schneider.

A past recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. Wiley joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1996. He also teaches at the University of Maryland and Bard College Conservatory of Music.

With emerging professional artists from Curtis



Santa Rosa, Calif.
Thursday, February 10 at 1:30 p.m.
Berger Center
Presented by Music at Oakmont

Burlingame, Calif.
Sunday, February 13 at 7 p.m.
Kohl Mansion
Presented by Music at Kohl Mansion

Buffalo, N.Y.
Tuesday, February 15 at 8 p.m.
Kleinhans Music Hall
Presented by Buffalo Chamber Music Society

New York, N.Y.
Friday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.
92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall
Presented by 92nd Street Y as part of Curtis at 92Y

Brevard, N.C.
Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Brevard Music Center, Parker Concert Hall
Presented by Brevard Music Center

Friday, February 25 at 8 p.m.
Field Concert Hall
Presented by Curtis Institute of Music


About String Quintet (“A Shattered Vessel”) 

String Quintet (“A Shattered Vessel”) was co-commissioned by the Curtis Institute of Music for this tour, along with Music from Angel Fire (lead commissioner), Chamber Music Monterey Bay, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, and Linton Chamber Music.

From the composer: 

This String Quintet, scored for two violins, viola, and two cellos, was completed on December 31, 2018. The subtitle “A Shattered Vessel,” refers to a great mystery of life, that in order for something of value to live, something else must often die. In this way death can be understood not only as a part of life, but also as a part of nature. The work is also about healing. The first movement subtitled “Things Fall Apart,” depicts a crisis and a struggle. The second movement, “Harvest of Sorrows,” reflects the natural mourning process that occurs after a crisis and a loss. The third movement, “The Healing Fields,” is a dance of renewal and regained strength. The fourth and final movement, “Homeward,” is a hymn of thanks and gratitude for the very gift of life with both its joys and its sorrows. This work is dedicated to Ida Kavafian.

—Richard Danielpour



The Dover Quartet and Brook Speltz, performing under the auspices of Curtis on Tour, recorded this program for a virtual concert presented by Chamber Music Monterey Bay in November 2020. View excerpts below.



View selections from previous touring ensembles



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