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The Kennedy Center

Escher String Quartet



Biography

Adam Barnett-Hart & Danbi Um, Violins
Pierre Lapointe, Viola
Brook Speltz, Cello


The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its home town of New York, the ensemble serves as Season Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where it has recently performed quartet cycles of Beethoven and Zemlinksy.

The 2018-2019 season finds the Escher Quartet touring the U.S. extensively, performing in numerous cities and venues including New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, Chicago’s Harris Hall, West Palm Beach, Baltimore and Pasadena, among others. Internationally, the quartet returns for a season long residency at London’s Wigmore Hall, where it will present three self-curated programs highlighting American and American-influenced compositions.

Within months of its inception in 2005, the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, the Escher Quartet was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet in Residence at each artist's summer festival: the Young Artists Program at Canada’s National Arts Centre; and the Perlman Chamber Music Program on Shelter Island, NY. The quartet has since collaborated with artists including David Finckel, Leon Fleischer, Wu Han, Lynn Harrell, Cho Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Paul Watkins, and David Shifrin, and in 2013, the quartet became one of the very few chamber ensembles to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Known for their wide stylistic interests, the Escher Quartet has collaborated with jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, vocalist Kurt Elling, legendary Latin artist Paquito D'Rivera, and tours regularly with Grammy award winning guitarist Jason Vieaux.

The Escher Quartet has made a distinctive impression throughout Europe, with recent debuts including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, London’s Kings Place, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Les Grands Interprètes Geneva, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Auditorium du Louvre. With a strong collaborative approach, the group has appeared at festivals such as the Heidelberg Spring Festival, Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy, Dublin’s Great Music in Irish Houses, the Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway, the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival and the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia.

Alongside its growing European profile, the Escher Quartet continues to flourish in its home country, performing at the Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music, and the Ravinia and Caramoor festivals. In 2014, the quartet gave a highly praised debut at Chamber Music San Francisco and in 2015 presented a Schubert quartets focus at Music@Menlo in California.
Currently String Quartet in Residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, the quartet fervently supports the education of young musicians and has given masterclasses at institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music in London and Campos do Jordão Music Festival in Brazil. Some of the Quartet’s most socially impactful work takes place in Northeast Ohio, where the Quartet serves in residence at the Tuesday Musical Association in Akron and the University of Akron.

Recordings of the complete Mendelssohn Quartets, released on the BIS label in 2015-2017, were received with the highest critical acclaim, with comments such as “…eloquent, full-blooded playing... The four players offer a beautiful blend of individuality and accord” (BBC Music Magazine). The Escher’s most recent recording, beloved quartets of Dvorak, Borodin, and Tchaikovsky, was met with equal enthusiasm. The quartet has also recorded the complete Zemlinsky String Quartets in two volumes, released on the Naxos label in 2013 and 2014 respectively, to accolades including five stars in the Guardian with “Classical CD of the Year”, a Recommendation in The Strad, “Recording of the Month” on MusicWeb International and a nomination for a BBC Music Magazine Award.

The Escher Quartet takes its name from Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.
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