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The Aizuri Quartet Returns To Easton For The Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival

By Anna Snow

"Genuinely exciting" - The New York Times

Praised by The Washington Post for “astounding” and “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the Aizuri Quartet, a finalist of Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition in 2014,  was named the recipient of the 2022 Cleveland Quartet Award by Chamber Music America, with other honors including the Grand Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition and top prizes at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan.

At the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival’s Opening Night, June 7, the Aizuri will perform Franz Schubert’s String Quartet “Death and the Maiden,” a passionate and compelling work, one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire.  On June 8, audiences will discover composer Reena Esmail, in Zeher (Poison in Hindustani), a short work commissioned by the Aizuri, which combines Indian and Western musical traditions. On June 9, the Aizuri will treat their audience to Fanny Mendelssohn’s elegant String Quartet in E-flat Major, the work of an extraordinarily gifted musician and composer.

The Quartet’s latest album, Earthdrawn Skies, was named one of NPR’s Ten Best Classical Albums of 2023. It was praised by NPR Music as an album that “convincingly connects the dots in wildly diverse music stretching over eight centuries . . . arousing solemn contemplation, cosmic curiosity, folksy delight and introspective scrutiny.” Aizuri’s debut album, Blueprinting, was nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY Award, and named one of NPR Music’s Best Classical Albums of 2018. 

The Aizuri views the string quartet as a living art and springboard for community, collaboration, curiosity, and experimentation. The Quartet has drawn praise both for bringing “a technical bravado and emotional power” to bold new commissions, and for its “flawless” (San Diego Union-Tribune) performances of the great works of the past. The New York Times has applauded the Quartet as “genuinely exciting” and “imaginative”.

The Aizuri believes in an integrative approach to music-making, in which teaching, performing, writing, arranging, curation, and the Quartet’s role in the community are all connected. In 2020, the Quartet launched AizuriKids, a free online series of educational videos for children that uses the string quartet as a catalyst for creative learning, featuring themes such as astronomy, American history, and cooking. 

The Aizuri Quartet is passionate about nurturing the next generation of artists and has held several residencies that were instrumental in its development, notably at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (2014-2016) and at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (2015-2016.) In 2022, the Aizuri Quartet was selected as part of the Artist Propulsion Lab second cohort, a project of WQXR, New York City’s classical radio station. 

Formed in 2012 and combining four distinctive musical personalities into a powerful collective, 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. Violinist Miho Saegusa is a founding member of the Quartet.

For complete program listings and to purchase tickets, go to

Sponsors of this year’s Festival include the Maryland State Arts Council, Paul and Joanne Prager, and private benefactors.

Pictured is the famous Aizuri Quartet which will headline the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival’s first week. The Festival begins June 7 and continues through June 15, 2024. (Photo by Titilayo Ayangade)

Chesapeake Chamber Music
Festival schedule
June 7-15, 2024

  • Friday, June 7 – 7:30 p.m.
    Opening Extravaganza!
  • Saturday, June 8 – 7:30 p.m.
    Personal Perspectives
  • Sunday, June 9 – 5:30 p.m.
    Fabulous Fantasy
  • Thursday, June 13 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, June 14 – 7:30 p.m.
    Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition and More
  • Saturday, June 15 – 7:30 p.m.
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