Monday, April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024

Award-winning young NYC quartet performs

BY KIRSTEN BOLTON

For ArtSpring

The foursome of 20-somethings in the Isidore String Quartet bring their enthusiasm for “approaching the established as if it were brand new, and the new as if it were firmly established” to ArtSpring audiences Thursday, Feb. 29 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Winners of a 2023 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the prestigious 14th Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2022, the New York City-based ensemble was formed in 2019 with the intent “to revisit, rediscover and reinvigorate the repertory.”

Violinists Phoenix Avalon and Adrian Steele, violist Devin Moore,and cellist Joshua McClendon formed the Isidore Quartet in 2019 as part of the chamber music program at the Juilliard School. Overcoming the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, they came back together for the 2021 Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival under the wing of Joel Krosnick, who serves as their development coach along with Juilliard faculty Joseph Lin, Astrid Schween, Laurie Smukler and Roger Tapping.

They are known to play from digital tablets, not paper sheet music. They dress in casual black and wear socks and shoes of their preferred fashion statement. They evoke profound emotions surrounding our seemingly mundane lived experiences, and it works.

“Amazing . . . The ensemble was tight and all the playing stunning – full of clarity and nuance,” said the Boston Musical Intelligencer in 2023. “Don’t pass up any chances to hear the Isidore Quartet.”

Their Banff triumph brought extensive tours of North America and Europe, a two-year appointment as the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University, plus a two-week residency at Banff Centre including a professionally produced recording, along with extensive ongoing coaching, career guidance and mentorship.

Outside the concert hall, the quartet has worked with PROJECT: MUSIC HEALS US, providing encouragement, education, and healing to marginalized communities — including elderly, disabled, rehabilitating incarcerated and homeless populations — who otherwise have limited access to high-quality live music performance.

On the 29th, Isidore String Quartet will delight audiences with a challenging program that includes W.A. Mozart’s String Quartet in C, K. 465 (‘Dissonance’) (1785); H. Dutilleux’s String Quartet: Ainsi la nuit (1971-1976); and F. Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E-flat, Op. 44 No. 3 (1838).

The name Isidore recognizes the ensemble’s musical connection to the Juilliard Quartet: one of that group’s early members was legendary violinist Isidore Cohen. Additionally, it acknowledges a shared affection for a certain libation; legend has it a Greek monk named Isidore concocted the first genuine vodka recipe for the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

It stuck!

Tickets are available through ArtSpring.

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