Zorá String Quartet wins First Prize at 2015 Young Concert Artists International Auditions

The string quartet was one of six artists to receive the New York prize, which includes concert opportunities and management

The Zorá String Quartet is one of six artists and ensembles to be named a First Prize Winner of the 2015 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York.

The winners each receive three major debuts next season in New York, Washington, DC, and Boston, and join the roster of Young Concert Artists Inc, which provides a minimum of three years of management services, concert engagements, promotion, and career development.

2015’s other winners are pianists Rémi Geniet, Tomer Gewirtzman and Dasol Kim, baritone Samuel Hasselhorn, and oboist Olivier Stankiewicz.

Graduates of the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana University, the Zorá String Quartet – violinists Seula Lee and Dechopol Kowintaweewat, violist Pablo Muñoz Salido and cellist Zizai Ning – was named the Grand Prize and Gold Medal Winner of the 42nd Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Coleman-Barstow Prize winner at the Coleman National Chamber Music Competition in 2015.

This year’s Young Concert Artists Auditions drew almost 300 applicants from 40 countries. Sitting on the jury were: violinists Lynn Chang and Koichiro Harada; violist Scott Nickrenz; cellist Fred Sherry; pianists Hung-Kuan Chen, Jeffrey Swann and Ilana Vered; oboist Elaine Douvas; singers Neal Goren and Marvis Martin; conductor James Sinclair; and chair Susan Wadsworth.

Founded in 1961, the Young Concert Artists has launched the careers of violinists including Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, Chee-Yun and Pinchas Zukerman, and the Tokyo, Borromeo, and St Lawrence String Quartets.

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Verona Quartet wins Concert Artist Guild competition

Congratulations to the Verona Quartet for winning the Concert Artist Guild competition!

Photo by Joseph Ong

Photo by Joseph Ong

Hailed by critics as “thoughtful, impressive musicians” (Cleveland Classical), the Verona Quartet, formed in 2013, was in residence at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music until September 2015 and is now Graduate Resident Quartet at The Juilliard School. Prizes include the Silver Medal and ProQuartet-CEMC Prize at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, Bronze Medal at the 7th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, Silver Medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Grand Prize at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and Bronze Medal at the 8th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. The ensemble has performed at the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Beethoven-Haus, Melbourne Recital Centre, and on NPR and PBS. The Quartet has upcoming concerts at Alice Tully Hall, the La Jolla SummerFest, and Schneider Concerts.




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South Korean alumni return to Jacobs School of Music to give free concert tonight

The Gayageum

The Gayageum

Inspired by the IU Chamber Orchestra’s tour to Seoul, South Korea, this past spring, the South Korean chapter of the Jacobs School of Music Alumni Association is returning the favor with a free Korean Alumni Homecoming concert tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in Auer Hall.

Fifteen Korean alumni currently residing in South Korea and the United States will join forces with several Jacobs School students to perform works by Beethoven, Kim, Shostakovich, Mozart, and Dvořák, among others. The program will also include traditional Korean instruments the gayageum and the tambour, and pansori, a Korean genre of musical storytelling by a vocalist and drummer.

The group will also give concerts at the Meadowood, Bell Trace, and Garden Villa retirement communities during its weeklong visit to Bloomington.

Further celebrating the school’s connection with the South Korean community, Jacobs hosted four student ensembles from Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul last month. Students from Jacobs and Sookmyung shared the bill in a concert on the Sookmyung stage during the Chamber Orchestra’s spring tour.

Watch the IU Chamber Orchestra’s performance at the Seoul Arts Center on March 21.


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Alumna Tai Murray leads Europe’s first black and minority-ethnic orchestra

Tai Murray, second from left.

Tai Murray, second from left.











Europe’s first professional orchestra made up entirely of musicians of color, is set to make its debut performance September 13 in London.

The 60-piece Chineke! Orchestra, founded by British double bassist Chichi Nwanoku, has been established with the objective of making a conscious effort to redress the racial balance in classical music.

The ensemble will be led by Berlin-based African American Concertmaster and Jacobs School of Music alumna Tai Murray – and conducted by British conductor Wayne Marshall.

Get more info.

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Jenna Barghouti joins Houston Symphony community-embedded musicians initiative

BarghoutiViolinist Jenna Barghouti, a student of Jorja Fleezanis, is one of four string musicians recruited by the Houston Symphony to be part of an initiative announced earlier this year to embed musicians more deeply in the community. The four musicians/educators will focus on enhancing the orchestra’s growing education and community engagement activities while also performing on stage for select Houston Symphony performances.

David D. Connor, double bass; Anthony Parce, viola; Hellen Weberpal, cello; and Barghouti are part of the first group of Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musicians (CEM), who will spend most of their time in schools, neighborhoods, and healthcare settings beginning in the fall of 2015. Each one of these musicians is a practicing professional musician with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who will teach and engage people in learning experiences in, through, and about music.

Among other new and expanded community activities, these musicians will be part of a music and wellness program aimed at increasing the quality of healthcare through music. In addition, they will be heavily involved in education programs targeted at improving problem solving, critical thinking, and essential life skills in students.

All four Community-Embedded Musicians will perform on stage with members of the symphony in approximately 25 concerts each year. The orchestra intends to add more of these musicians over the next two seasons, providing ever-increasing levels of service and music education to the rapidly growing Houston region.

“Becoming a Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musician is a dream come true,” said Barghouti. “Playing with one of the leading orchestras in the country while helping empower the local community through music is an ideal start to my career as a performer and an educator. I am quite fortunate to be given this opportunity to professionally fulfill both of my passions. I could not be more excited to be a member of the very first CEM team, and I look forward to working with the talented musicians and leadership of the Houston Symphony to further grow and develop this inspiring program.”

The creation and launch of the Community-Embedded Musicians program has been made possible through the early investment of generous supporters, including the Spec’s Charitable Foundation, Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, BBVA Compass, and Mr. Monzer Hourani, all longtime leadership supporters of the Houston Symphony.

Barghouti grew up in the West Bank, Palestine, before coming to the United States when she was 16 years old. She has taught violin to underserved children in both the Fairview Project in Bloomington, Ind., and in her home country. Barghouti, an associate instructor at Indiana University’s Pre-College String Academy and substitute violin for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony, is fully bilingual in Arabic and English. She is currently pursuing a Performer’s Diploma in violin performance at the Jacobs School of Music. She earned her undergraduate degree in violin performance from the Jacobs School under the supervision of Mimi Zweig.


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Jacobs School Graduate to Participate in Leonidas Kavakos International Violin Masterclass

Paul Hauer

Paul Hauer

Leonidas Kavakos

Leonidas Kavakos

Congratulations to Jacobs School graduate, Paul Hauer, who was selected to participate in the Leonidas Kavakos International Violin Masterclass & Chamber Music Workshop, which takes place this weekend, May 22-24, 2015, in Athens, Greece.

Hauer, a student of Alexander Kerr, is one of only seventeen violinists and the only American selected for the masterclass. A frequent participant in competitions, Hauer has received awards at the Hellam Young Artists Competition in 2014, the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Collegiate Competition in 2013, and the Denver Young Artists Orchestra National Violin Concerto Competition in 2011. As a result of these awards he has had the opportunity to perform with numerous orchestras both in the U.S. and abroad and has also had the privilege of studying and working with many of today’s renowned conductors and violinists. Hauer completed his Bachelor of Music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music at the Jacobs School in 2014.

This weekend’s masterclass & chamber music workshop was founded by Leonidas Kavakos, a Greek violinist and conductor who has himself won prizes at several international violin competitions – including the Sibelius, Paganini, and Indianapolis competitions. Thanks to an Onassis Foundation scholarship, he was able to come to Indiana University at the age of 19 to study with Josef Gingold, who instilled in him an absolute passion and love for violin, for music, and, last but not least, for sharing his teaching legacy.

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Ying Quartet Welcomes Robin Scott as First Violinist

April 15, 2015

More Information:
For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057, hsnihur@esm.rochester.edu)

ROCHESTER, N.Y.–Robin Scott, an award-winning musician described as one of America’s rising stars on the classical music stage, is joining the Ying Quartet as the Grammy-winning ensemble’s first violinist.

As the quartet’s newest member, he is joining siblings and founding members David, cello; Janet, violin; and Phillip, viola. Scott also will receive an appointment to the faculty of the Eastman School of Music, where the ensemble is the string-quartet-in residence.

Scott has built a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster. He has competed internationally, winning first prizes in the California International Young Artists Competition and the WAMSO Young Artist Competition in Minnesota, and second prizes in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and the Stulberg International String Competition.

“Robin is both an insightful, creative musician and top-shelf violinist, and we are thrilled to begin the next chapter of our quartet’s life with him,” said David Ying. “From the first phrases we played together, the musical chemistry was alive and electric. It is easy to imagine a rewarding and stimulating musical future with Robin.”

Scott has appeared as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Montgomery Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille in France, and many others. He has given numerous recitals and performances throughout the United States and abroad, in such venues as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and the Schubert Club in St. Paul, Minn.

As an avid and passionate chamber musician, Scott has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Morgan Library, Town Hall in New York City, and other venues. His festival appearances include the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Institute for Young Artists, Yellow Barn, Kneisel Hall, and the Saratoga and Chesapeake Chamber Music Festivals, MusicIC in Iowa City, and others. He has participated in the acclaimed Music From Marlboro tours, as well as tours under the auspices of the Ravinia Festival, and was a member of the Gesualdo String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame.

Scott, who will move to Rochester from Indianapolis, is also an accomplished and in-demand orchestral leader and has served as concertmaster of the New York Classical Players. He was guest concertmaster with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as guest principal second violin.

From 2011 to 2013, Scott was the Montgomery Symphony’s artist-in-residence. In that position, he was the concertmaster of the symphony, and also performed with the orchestra and throughout the community as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician.

A native of Indiana, Scott began studying the violin at age five and also took piano lessons. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree at the New England Conservatory and his Artist Diploma at Indiana University, where he was a student of Miriam Fried. He pursued additional studies at NEC with Donald Weilerstein, the founding first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet, and violist Kim Kashkashian. Previously, he was a student of Mimi Zweig at Indiana University’s preparatory program.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Ying Quartet and to be coming to Rochester to teach at the Eastman School of Music,” said Scott. “The prospect of exploring the great quartet repertoire with wonderful colleagues is an honor. To pass on what we believe as musicians and instrumentalists is a great responsibility, and something which I look forward to with my students.”

The Ying Quartet receives praise around the world for its high-caliber and affecting performances in concerts and festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Caramoor, and others. The ensemble teaches and performs each summer at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, for which David and Phillip Ying serve as artistic directors. The ensemble has worked on collaborative projects at Symphony Space in New York City and with musical partners such as pianist Menahem Pressler, cellist Paul Katz, and folk musician Mike Seeger, among others. Upcoming projects include a collaboration and recording with cellist Zuill Bailey, and piano quintet commission and recording with pianist and composer Billy Childs.

The Quartet’s album 4 + Four, recorded with the Turtle Island String Quartet, received a 2006 Grammy Award for best classical crossover album. In addition, The Ying Quartet received a Grammy nomination for best chamber music performances for its album Tchaikovsky: Three String Quartets, Souvenir de Florence. The Ying Quartet also has released Dim Sum, a recording of music by Chinese-American composers; American Anthem: The Music of Samuel Barber and Howard Hanson; and a recording of Anton Arensky’s String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 and Piano Quintet.

Through its LifeMusic project, supported by the Institute for American music, the Ying Quartet has commissioned established and emerging composers to produce a distinctively American string quartet repertory. Their first recording of Life Music works, The Ying Quartet Play LifeMusic, was named Editor’s Choice by Gramophone magazine. Their second recording of commissions is titled The United States.

As students at the Eastman School of Music in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Yings studied with members of the Cleveland Quartet, the school’s quartet-in-residence. The Ying Quartet first came to national professional as the quartet-in-residence in Jesup, Iowa, under a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The quartet was awarded second prize in the 1992 Banff International String Competition and the following year won the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. They were appointed faculty quartet-in-residence at Eastman in 1997.

At Eastman, the Ying Quartet teaches in the string department and leads a rigorous chamber music program. An integral part of the chamber music curriculum is the Music for All program, in which students perform in community settings beyond the concert hall.

Scott will succeed violinist Ayano Ninomiya, who has served as first violinist of the quartet since 2010. “Ayano has been a wonderful colleague and close friend, and we are grateful that she has shared her amazing musical talents with us and our audiences these past years,” said David Ying. “We wish her the very best in her future performing and teaching endeavors, and look forward to our paths crossing often in the future.”

© Eastman School of Music 2015

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The Jacobs School Zorá and Azalea Quartets receive awards at 69th Annual Coleman Chamber Competition

Congratulations to two quartets from the Jacobs School, who were awarded two out of three prizes from the 69th Annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition on Saturday, April 18, at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music in Pasadena, California.


Azalea Quartet

The $7,500 Alice Coleman Prize was awarded to the Azalea Quartet, formed in 2013 by four devoted musicians pursuing their undergraduate degrees at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Members of the quartet, coached by Simin Ganatra of the Pacifica Quartet, include:

Jenna Barghouti, Violin
Joy Vucekovich, Violin
Ben Wagner, Viola
Graham Cullen, Cello


Zorá String Quartet

The $4,000 Coleman-Barstow Prize for Strings was awarded to the Zorá String Quartet, formed in 2012 by four Jacobs School students. The quartet is coached by Sibbi Bernhardsson of the Pacifica Quartet and includes members:

Dechopol Kowintaweewat, violin
Pablo Muñoz Salido, Viola
Seula Lee, Violin
Zizai Ning, Cello

This is the second year in a row that quartet’s from the Jacobs School have taken two of the three prizes at the Coleman Chamber Competition. In April 2014 the Wasmuth String Quartet was awarded the Alice Coleman Prize and the Kenari Quartet was awarded the Coleman-Saunderson Prize for Woodwinds or Brass.

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Verona Quartet wins second prize and ProQuartet-CEMC Price at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition

Verona Quartet FBWe are pleased to announce that the Verona Quartet (formerly known as the Wasmuth Quartet), IU Jacobs School of Music’s Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence, has won Second Prize and the ProQuartet-CEMC Prize at the 2015 Wigmore Hall (formerly the London) International String Quartet Competition.

Hailed by critics as “thoughtful, impressive musicians” (Cleveland Classical), the Verona Quartet has won numerous accolades and awards, and is quickly establishing themselves as one of the exciting young quartets on the music scene today. Within months of their formation, they received 1st prize at the Kuttner String Quartet Competition and won the Silver Medal in the senior division of the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. They went on to win the Grand Prize at the 2014 Coleman Chamber Music Competition and the First Place and Audience Choice Award at the 2014 Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition. In May 2014, the Verona Quartet won the Bronze Medal at the 8th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Osaka, Japan, where critics lauded their “sensational, powerhouse performance” (Classical Voice America).

The Quartet has been visiting artists  at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Indiana University String Academy as well as the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany. Recent appearances include the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on National Public Radio, “The Weekly Special” on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the Candlelight Concert Society in Baltimore, MD, and the “Music in the Loft” concert series in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building. The upcoming season includes artist residencies at the Abu Dhabi Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards in Napa Valley, California, as well as concerts in New York, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Illinois and Indiana.

In addition to their performance commitments, the Verona Quartet members are strong proponents of community engagement and education. They have an ongoing residency in the city of Danville, Illinois, where they have developed a concert series and work with developing young musicians on performance and practice skills. Since their residency commenced, many Danville schools have seen their music class enrollment increase in size to almost double the average in the State of Illinois.

The Verona Quartet is currently the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where they are mentored by the Pacifica Quartet, as well as Alexander Kerr, Atar Arad and Eric Kim. The Quartet has also worked with Peter Salaff, Jerry Horner, Jorja Fleezanis, Paul Kantor and members of the Brentano, Cleveland, Cavani, American, Tokyo and London Haydn Quartets.

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Stamitz Viola Concerto Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to Gabriel Polycarpo, winner of Stamitz Viola Concerto Competition!  He is a student of Edward Gazouleas.

The runner-up is Pablo Munoz, student of Kevork Mardirossian and Masumi Per Rostad.

The concert with the Chamber Orchestra is Wednesday April 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm in Auer Hall.

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