Congratulations to the Wasmuth Quartet (Brendan Shea and Jonathan Ong, violin; Abigail Rojansky, viola; and Warren Hagerty, cello) who have won the Silver Medal in the Senior String Division at the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
The quartet performed in the final round of the competition on Sunday, May 12, alongside the Kenari Quartet, also Silver Medal winners (of the Senior Wind Division).
As the son of a diplomat, Brendan Shea began violin at the age of three and studied while abroad in Belgium, China, the United States and Taiwan. At the age of 10, he performed Sarasate’s “Carmen Fantasie” in Carnegie Hall, and the following year, he made his debut with orchestra at the age of 11, playing the Paganini Concerto with the Landon Symphonette in Washington, D.C. While in elementary school, he won all available competitions at the Levine School of Music and in the Washington, D.C., area. His early teachers include Zakhar Bron, Vladimir Klotchko and Olga Khroulevitch. Shea studied with Milan Vitek at the Oberlin Conservatory, where he earned a Bachelor of Music and Artist Diploma in violin performance. Since entering the conservatory, he has performed regularly with orchestras and in recitals nationally and internationally, and has been a regular contender and semi-finalist in many major international competitions, including the Carl Nielsen, Sendai, Sibelius, Isang-Yun and Seoul competitions. His collegiate level awards include first place with honors in the Glazunov International Competition in Paris and the Oberlin Concerto Competition. He is currently completing his second year as a Master of Music student of Ik-Hwan Bae at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he is also an associate instructor.
Jonathan Ong is a Performer Diploma student of Alexander Kerr at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he is also associate instructor of violin. He is a prizewinner in the Singapore National Violin Competition, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition and the Alexander & Buono International Strings Competition. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has given performances in cities across the United States, Asia and Europe, including a concert tour around the People’s Republic of China as first violinist of the Zhang Piano Quintet. Ong began his musical training in Singapore at the age of 6, and by age 16, he was accepted to the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Lynn Blakeslee. Upon his graduation, he was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate for demonstrating outstanding performing ability, becoming one of the youngest students to receive this award. Following a two-year period in the Singapore Armed Forces, he was accepted to the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Kantor on a full scholarship. His other teachers include Lynette Lim, Zvi Zeitlin and Fredell Lack. Among the many distinctions he has received are the Dorothy R. Starling Scholarship, the Howard Hanson Scholarship, the National Arts Council Overseas Arts Bursary and sponsorships from the Shaw and Lee Foundation in Singapore.
Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, violist Abigail Rojansky is currently completing her Master of Music degree at the IU Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Atar Arad. Previous teachers include Karen Ritscher at Oberlin Conservatory, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree, as well as Helen Callus and Madeline Praeger. She has performed across the United States and in the U.K., China, Singapore, Germany and Quebec in venues such as the Walt Disney, Davies Symphony, Beijing and Esplanade concert halls. Rojansky has participated in solo and chamber music master classes for artists including Paul Silverthorne, Yo-Yo Ma, Anner Bylsma and members of the Alexander, Belcea, Brentano, Cleveland, Cypress String, Emerson, Mendelssohn, Miami String, Pacifica and Smith Quartets. Previous festivals include the Mannes Beethoven Institute in New York, California Summer Music, Academie du Domaine Forget and Youth Music International. Her playing has been described by the Oxford Daily as “remarkably mature” and by the Oxford Times as “prov[ing] to be the highlight of the evening.” Continuing her progressive approach to chamber music, Rojansky champions the performance of new works and recently participated in the west-coast premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ quartet “Visions and Miracles.” Most recent performances include a recital with the Wasmuth String Quartet as a part of a residency with the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany, as well as a master class with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.
Cellist Warren Hagerty was born in Naperville, Ill., and grew up mostly in Orange County, Calif. He is in his fourth year of undergraduate studies at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he has studied cello performance with Eric Kim and Sharon Robinson. He has performed on the continents of Australia, Europe and North America in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. In December 2010, he played two concerts in Carnegie Hall as principal cellist of the New York String Orchestra Seminar under the baton of Jaime Laredo. In March 2013, he participated in a residency with the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany, with the Wasmuth String Quartet, which culminated in the quartet’s European debut, playing works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Ligeti. Hagerty has been a member of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra since 2011, as well as a member of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra since 2010. He has performed in master classes for Yo-Yo Ma, Mark Kosower and Sung-Won Yang.