The Countertop Quartet was formed in the summer of 2004 when four friends, all professional singers living in Washington DC at the time, realized that their combination of voices – two countertenors, a female alto/mezzo-soprano, and a female soprano – was one with a very unique sound. They began to explore the repertoire of music for upper voices and delighted concert audiences with their uncommon blend and unusual voicings.
Being that there are only upper voices in this quartet, the name fits almost perfectly. There are two countertenors, a mezzo and a soprano in the quartet. The "Counter" refers to the two countertenors, and the "top" refers to the two top parts, a.ka the soprano and mezzo. In addition to remembering their innovative sound, people also go away remembering their unusual name.
It is the mission of The Countertop Quartet to research, study, prepare, perform and record music specifically written for upper voices within a mixed gender ensemble of at least two male altos and two female upper voices; to bring excellent performances to audiences in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and in other suitable locations on tour.
The quartet is based in Washington DC and therefore has many of its performances therein. The ensemble has performed with British organist Neil Weston at the 2005 Washington Early Music Festival and the 2005 Rock Creek Festival (both in Washington DC), and is set to perform in the Boston Early Music Festival in 2007. The group's 2006 performance in the Washington Early Music Festival was in collaboration with the Baroque Band led by Garry Clarke, and Scott Hanoian, Assistant Organist at the Washington National Cathedral in DC.