Where Are They Now?
By Debra Crouch
An Update on the Careers of Our Award-Winning Finalists
With nine memorable competitions to look back on, the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition has seen many talented musicians who have gone on to achieve great things. Here is a brief recap of their accomplishments:
Our gold medal winners for the first Competition were Exit 9 Percussion Group, with their fresh, unconventional sound incorporating music traditions from around the globe. They went on to play in South Korea, The Juilliard School, McCarther Theater, Western Washington University, George Street Playhouse, and Two Rivers Theater, and they were artists-in-residence at Rutgers University. The ensemble performed hundreds of clinics in schools and community centers in greater New York.
Our first international gold medal winners, David Trio from Italy, also won First Prize at the International Haydn Competition for Chamber Music in Vienna and First Prize at Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition. They then toured in South America and Mexico, were resident chamber music professors in Santiago de Compostela, and recorded what is considered one of the best interpretations of Schubert trios for the Altara label. They performed at the Festival “Concertando” in Rome and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Silver medal winners, The Attacca Quartet, went on to win the 7th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2011; were top prize and Listeners’ Choice award recipients of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2011; and were Grand Prize Winners of the 60th annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. They served as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet from 2011 – 2013, were named the Quartet-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2014-2015, and the Quartet in Residence at Texas State University. Their 2019 recording of Caroline Shaw’s Orange won a Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance and they are considered one of America’s premier young performing ensembles, with a very active concert schedule. Sony Classical will release their latest recording, Of All Joys, in November.
2010 was a very big year for Red Line Saxophone Quartet, who in addition to winning our Gold Medal, also won first prize at the 2010 Plowman Chamber Competition and first prize at the NASA Sax Quartet Competition. They toured Asia for a month with appearances at the World Sax Congress in Thailand, and several venues in China and Hong Kong.
Silver Medalists,Harlem Quartet, completed the Professional String Quartet Residency Program at New England Conservatory in 2013 and participated in NEC’s string quartet exchange program in Paris. They have collaborated with many distinguished performers, including Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavafian, Misha Dichter (with whom they made their Kennedy Center debut in 2013), and jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton. Their recording with Corea and Burton, Mozart Goes Dancing, won a Grammy Award in 2013 for Best Instrumental Composition. They played with Stanley Clarke at the 2012 Montreal Jazz Festival and performed with legendary bassist John Patitucci and with the Shanghai Quartet. They were Quartet-in-Residence at London’s Royal Academy of Music and have performed in 47 states and internationally. Their stated mission is to advance diversity in classical music and they have written several successful grants, including a Cultural Connections Artist-in-Residence grant from James Madison University and a 2016 Guameri String Quartet grant from Chamber Music America. Their 2020 album, Cross Pollination, features works by Debussy, William Bolcom, Dizzy Gillespie and Guido Lopez-Gavailan.
Gold Medalists, The Calidore String Quartet, went on to win grand prizes at the Fischoff, Coleman, and Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competitions. In 2012, they captured top prizes at the ARD Munich International String Quartet Competition and the Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition. In 2014, they performed at Lincoln Center, Shriver Hall (Baltimore), Phillips Collection (Washington DC) and the National Arts Center (Ottawa). From 2014 – 2016 they were the Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. In 2016 they won the $100,000 Grand Prize at the inaugural M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition and became the first North American ensemble to win the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. They were honored with the Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Their 2017-18 season included a debut at the Kennedy Center and in Philadelphia, Boston, Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Barcelona. Their second album for Signum Records, Babel, was released in 2020. In 2021, they made their debut at Sarasota, La Jolla and Saratoga Music Festivals. In 2022 they will make their debut at the Library of Congress. They are currently in residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bowers Program and they joined the faculty of University of Delaware School of Music.
Our Silver Medalists and Audience Choice Award winners, Russian Trio, went on to win at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition in 2013. They toured throughout the United States, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Norway, Mexico and Poland. Sadly, cellist Dmitry Volkov died in May of 2014 at age 26.
Gold Medalists, The Wasmuth (now Verona) String Quartet, won the grand prize at the 2014 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, first prize at the Kuttner String Quartet Competition in Bloomington, IN, a silver medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and a bronze at the 2014 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. They then won the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition. They have appeared at “Music in the Loft” in Chicago, and were the string quartet-in-residence at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany. The 2016-17 season included their Carnegie Hall debut and a performance at Lincoln Center, as well as appearances in London, Osaka, Abu Dhabi and Australia. In 2017, they were named to New England Conservatory’s prestigious two-year String Quartet Residency Program, and they were String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. They made their Kennedy Center debut then at Chamber Music Northwest, where they got rave reviews. 2019 saw a residency at Chamber Music Tulsa and performances at several venues including Friends of Chamber Music in Troy, NY and the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor. They won the biennial 2020 Cleveland Quartet Award and were named Quartet-in-Residence at Oberlin College and Conservatory. 2020 began with teaching and performances at Ball State, Indiana University and the Musical Arts Series in Port Clinton, OH. 2021 saw the release of their first album, Diffusion, and their signing with Dinian Arts Management.
Silver Medalists, The Kenari Quartet, have earned top prizes at the Fischoff, J.C. Arriaga, Plowman, M-Prize, and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions. They studied under world-renowned saxophonist Dr. Otis Murphy at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. They released their first album in 2016 featuring the works of several French composers and received a grant from Chamber Music America to commission a new work by Corey Dundee, the group’s tenor saxophonist. They were a featured in ensemble at Chamber Music America’s 2016 Ensemble Showcase and have a busy performance and teaching schedule. They performed at the Grand Teton Music Festival in 2018 and at the Out of the Bachs event at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.
Formed in 2012, BLOCK4 is a London-based recorder quartet who studied at the Royal College of Music. The quartet’s innovative style resulted in their being the 2014 winners of the Royal Overseas League Ensemble competition, the first recorder consort to receive this accolade in the competition’s 62-year history. They were awarded 1st Runner Up at the NonClassical Record label’s Battle of the Bands 2016. They were also awarded a Donemus award for the performance of contemporary music at the Open Recorder Days Amsterdam in 2015. They received a high commendation at the RCM’s Senior Woodwind Prize in 2013, and were awarded the June Emerson Launchpad prize at the 2014 competition. BLOCK4 was the 2015-16 Ensemble in Residence for Handel and Hendrix House Museum – a role which included a concert series in 2016. In Spring 2021 they launched a webshop offering performances for sale. They recorded the soundtrack for The Green Knight, a 2021 movie release based on the Arthurian legend, and they created a series of recorder videos.
Formed at Juilliard in 2010, the Olympus Piano Trio performs a repertoire of classical masterpieces and champions the music of native Greek and diaspora composers. Dedicated to reaching out to non-traditional and underprivileged members of the community, the Olympus Piano Trio participated in an outreach program in spring 2016 at St. Basil’s Academy, a program for disadvantaged children in upstate New York. The members of the Olympus Piano Trio have taught at Juilliard, SUNY Stony Brook, and Hunter College, and have recorded for Sony, Innova, LP Classics and Tzadik labels. The Olympus Piano Trio’s debut album was released in 2017 on the LP Classics label.
Merz Trio tied for the Lerman Gold Prize and won the Audience Choice Award. Formed in 2017, the trio was the recipient of a Judge’s Special Recognition Award at the 2017 Plowman Competition. In 2019, they won gold at the Fischoff Competition and the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, and most recently won first prize at the 2021 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition in New York City, where their performance was hailed as “beautifully sensitive, intelligent and evocative”. Their first album, Ink, was released in August, and upcoming debut appearances include NYC’s Merkin Hall, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Trio St. Bernard, formed in 2015 at the Taos School of Music, was the co-winner of the Lerman Gold Prize. While the trio no longer performs together, Brandon Garbot, violin; Zachary Mowitz, cello; and Sahun “Sam” Hong, piano have all gone on to have successful classical music careers. Hong recently received a $50,000 grant as one of five finalists in the 2021 American Pianists Awards Solo Recital.
Silver Prize and Audience Choice Prize winners, Dior Quartet won the Bronze at the 2019 Fischoff Chamber Competition and first prize at both the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and the Kuttner Quartet Competition. They received a fellowship quartet-in-residence position at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. In May, they were featured on Jacob’s School of Music Entrepreneurs of the Month Series. June was spent at the Banff Evolution Quartet Seminar.
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