Five world-class ensembles will compete for one of the world’s largest chamber music prizes at the upcoming 2014 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, to be held at the historic Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD, on March 29, 2014, starting at 1 p.m. The five Competition finalists, the Aizuri Quartet, Trio Kanon, the Kenari Quartet, Trio Cleonice, and the Wasmuth String Quartet, were selected from 54 applicants representing some of the finest young chamber music performers in the world. Applications were received from Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and the United States. The finalists will compete for the Gold Medal prize of $10,000 and the Silver Medal prize of $5,000.
The members of the Aizuri Quartet, which derived its name from “aizuri-e,” the Japanese art of indigo woodblock printing, studied together at The Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School. Individual members of the quartet have won top prizes in such competitions as the Primrose International Viola Competition and Astral Artists National Auditions and they have appeared throughout North America and Europe. The quartet gave its debut performance in 2013 in the Tertulia Chamber Music series in New York City.
Trio Kanon arose from the friendship between three musicians of different origins, building their repertoire under the guidance of the Trio di Parma at the Trio di Trieste International Chamber Music School in Duino, Italy. The trio has performed throughout Italy and abroad, receiving great success with the public and critics. Members of the Trio Kanon received awards in national and international competitions.
Members of the Kenari Saxophone Quartet perform and study at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University under the tutelage of Dr. Otis Murphy. The members’ individual accomplishments include a Silver Medal in the Senior Winds division at the 2011 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, a performance at Carnegie Hall, and recognition for composing from ASCAP and the Tribeca New Music ensemble.
Trio Cleonice has been delighting audiences across the country with their innovative programs, including performances at Jordan Hall in Boston and a debut at the Kennedy Center as a part of the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project. The group has held the prestigious Graduate Piano Trio residency at the New England Conservatory since the fall of 2011, and will be the first ensemble to hold this position for a third year.
Since it formed in 2012 at Indiana University, the Wasmuth String Quartet has had a residency at the Beethoven House in Bonn, Germany. The quartet won a silver medal at the 2013 Fischoff National Competition and is the student quartet in residence at Indiana University.
The Chamber Music Competition, which is sponsored biennially by Chesapeake Chamber Music, draws qualified applicants from all corners of the world. The average age of an ensemble must be under 31, and some have included members as young as 21.
A preliminary judges’ panel of eight notable musicians headed by Marcy Rosen, artistic director of Chesapeake Chamber Music, pared the field of 54 down to five finalists in a blind review of applicant CD submissions. Rosen comments, “We had an outstanding pool of applicants for the preliminary rounds of the Competition and the five ensembles chosen for the finals are all immensely accomplished performers and musicians. After finding out their identities, I did some research and each ensemble has an impressive track record! I know we are going to hear an exceptionally high level of performing at the Competition.”
The five finalists will be judged by J. Lawrie Bloom, head finalist judge, founder, and artistic director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition; Cynthia Raim, renowned piano soloist; and Carmit Zori, founder of the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society. The audience attending the Competition on March 29 will also have an opportunity to judge each ensemble at the end of each concert. 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 March 29 Competition, each finalist group will present an individual public concert at a local venue on Sunday, March 30, 2014. These include concerts at 1 p.m. at Temple B’nai Israel on 101 West Earle Street in Easton, MD; at 3 p.m. at St. Mark’s Methodist Church on Peach Blossom Road in Easton, MD; and at 4 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church at 601 Church Street in Cambridge, MD. The Gold Medal prize winner will be further honored with additional concerts, including a featured appearance during the 2014 Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival. Tickets to the Chamber Music Competition are $10 per person and free to students. Tickets will be sold at the door at the Avalon Theatre on March 29, 2014, 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 CCM office at 410-819-0380. The Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition is underwritten by private benefactors.
Photo: Members of the Kenari Saxophone Quartet perform and study at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University under the tutelage of Dr. Otis Murphy. The members’ individual accomplishments include a Silver Medal in the Senior Winds division at the 2011 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.