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Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition Announces Finalists
Contact: Don Buxton (410) 819-0380
or Amy Steward (410) 829-0436
Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition Announces Finalists for One of World’s Largest Chamber Music Prizes
Five world-class ensembles will compete for one of the world’s largest chamber music prizes at the upcoming 2016 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, to be held at the historic Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD, on April 9, starting at 1 p.m. The five Competition finalists, BLOCK4 Quartet, the Cerulean Trio, the Daraja Ensemble, the East End Quartet, and the Olympus Piano Trio, were selected from 41 applicants representing some of the finest young chamber music performers in the world. Applications were received from England, Hong Kong, Austria, and the United States. The average age of an ensemble must be under 31, and some have included members as young as 21. The finalists will compete for the Gold Medal prize of $10,000 and the Silver Medal prize of $5,000.
Formed in 2012, BLOCK4 (www.block4.co.uk) is a London-based recorder quartet featuring Emily Bannister, Lucy Carr, Katie Cowling and Rosie Land. Studying at the Royal College of Music, BLOCK4 presents a dynamic approach to contemporary consort music, as well as offering a captivating interpretation of music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. BLOCK4 is the 2015-16 Ensemble in Residence for Handel and Hendrix House Museum in London, a role which will include a concert series in 2016.
The Cerulean Trio (www.ceruleantrio.com) brings together the unique combination of a single woodwind and string instrument with piano, resulting in a rich amalgamation of color, textural, and lyrical possibilities. Formed with students from Florida State University, the Cerulean Trio takes its name from the Latin “caerulum,” which stands for heavens and sky. They are usually seen reflecting the blues of sky in their performance attire. In addition to performing the standard literature for clarinet, viola, and piano, the trio also expands its repertoire by incorporating its own transcriptions and newly-commissioned works.
The Daraja Ensemble (www.darajaensemble.com), one of the Fellowship ensembles at the University of Maryland School of Music, is a music collaborative committed to bridging performers with audiences worldwide. Collectively, this wind quintet holds a wealth of performance experience; members of the ensemble have concertized on nearly every continent and performed with the Boston Ballet, New World Symphony, Arizona Opera, Lunar Ensemble, Symphoria, and the KBS Symphony.
Formed in 2014 among graduate students at the Eastman School of Music, the East End Quartet took first prize at both the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Chamber Music Competition and the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition during 2015. Drawing inspiration from their leadership roles in the groundbreaking Eastman Saxophone Project (ESP), East End frequently performs from memory. Their approach engenders a closer connection to the music they present while facilitating a deeper level of communication with the audience and one another. Today, East End devotes much of its time to expanding the repertoire available to saxophonists.
Praised for their “passionate commitment to every note . . .incredibly velvety tone . . . and unanimity of phrasing” (New York Concert Review), the Olympus Piano Trio (www.bencapps.com), based in New York City, combines the forces of violinist Regi Papa, cellist Ben Capps, and pianist Konstantine Valianatos. Formed at Juilliard in 2010 to celebrate a passion for chamber music as well as their shared Hellenic heritage, the Olympus Piano Trio performs a repertoire of classical masterpieces and champions the music of native Greek and diaspora composers.
A preliminary judges’ panel of eight notable musicians headed by J. Lawrie Bloom, founder and artistic director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, pared the field of 41 down to these five finalists in a blind review of applicant CD submissions. Bloom comments, “We were asked to judge an outstanding field of applicants. They were extremely well prepared.”
The five finalists will be judged by Marcy Rosen, founding member of the world-renowned Mendelssohn String Quartet and artistic director of Chesapeake Chamber Music; Tara Helen O’Connor, founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble and head of the wind department at Purchase College Conservatory of Music; and Robert McDonald, recital partner for many years to Isaac Stern and a member of the piano faculty at The Juilliard School since 1999. The audience attending the Competition on April 9 will also have an opportunity to judge each ensemble at the end of the Competition’s performances. The winner of that judging will receive the Audience Choice Award, announced along with the Gold and Silver Prizes at the end of the evening.
Following the April 9 Competition, each finalist group will present an individual public concert at a local venue on Sunday, April 10, 2016. The Gold Medal prize winner will be further honored with additional concerts, including a featured appearance during the 2016 Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival on June 17.
Tickets to the Chamber Music Competition are $12 per person and free to students. Tickets will be sold at the door at the Avalon Theatre on April 9, 2016, beginning no later than 12:30 p.m. The program starts at 1:00 p.m. For further information, visit ChesapeakeChamberMusicCompetition.org or call the Chesapeake Music office at 410-819-0380. The Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition is underwritten by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, and private benefactors.
Concerts on Sunday, April 10:
BLOCK4 at 1 p.m. at Temple B’nai Israel, 101 West Earle Ave. in Easton, MD
East End Quartet at 2 p.m. at The Church of the Holy Trinity, 502 S. Morris St. in Oxford, MD
Cerulean Trio at 3 p.m. at St. Mark’s Methodist Church, 100 Peachblossom Road in Easton, MD Olympus Piano Trio at 4 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 601 Church Street in Cambridge, MD ($10 per person/students free)
Daraja Ensemble at 4 p.m. at Christ Church St. Michaels, 103 Willow Street in St. Michaels, MD
Photo #1: Formed in 2012, BLOCK4 is a London-based recorder quartet.
Photo #2: The Cerulean Trio brings together the unique combination of a single woodwind and string instrument with piano.
Photo #3: The Daraja Ensemble, a wind quintet, is one of the Fellowship ensembles at the University of Maryland School of Music.
Photo #4: East End Quartet, a saxophone quartet, was formed in 2014 among graduate students at the Eastman School of Music.
Photo #5: The Olympus Piano Trio performs a repertoire of classical masterpieces and champions the music of native Greek and diaspora composers.