The Eastman-Ranlet Series presents the Aizuri Quartet Sunday, March 29, at 3 p.m., in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music. Through its engaging and thought-provoking programs, branded by The New York Times as “genuinely exciting” and “imaginative,” the The Aizuri Quartet has garnered critical acclaim for bringing “a technical bravado and emotional power” to bold new commissions, and for its “flawless” (San Diego Union-Tribune) performances of the great masterpieces of the past. The members include Emma Frucht, piano, Miho Saegusa, violin, Ayane Kozasa, viola, and Karen Ouzounian, cello.
Praised by The Washington Post for “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the Aizuri Quartet was awarded the Grand Prize and the CAG Management Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, along with top prizes at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan, and the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London. The Quartet’s debut album, Blueprinting, featuring new works written for the Aizuri Quartet by five American composers, was released by New Amsterdam Records and nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY Award. In the 2019-20 season the group will tour extensively across North America giving both debut appearances at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall as part of CAG Winner’s Series.
Based in New York City, the Aizuri Quartet was the 2017-2018 MetLiveArts String Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they presented five unique programs throughout the season, leading The New York Times to applaud them as “a quartet of expert collaborators, who cogently traverse a range of repertoire staples and modern works.” Previous residency engagements include: the 2015-2016 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts; resident ensemble of the 2014 Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute; and, from 2014-2016, the String Quartet-in-Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
The Quartet has performed extensively throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Japan, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, and Abu Dhabi, and has commissioned and premiered new works by Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, Lembit Beecher, Paul Wiancko, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Gabriella Smith, Rene Orth, Michi Wiancko, and Alyssa Weinberg. Its critically acclaimed debut album, Blueprinting, which showcased many of these new pieces, was nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY award in the category of “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.”
Formed in 2012 and combining four distinctive musical personalities into a unique collective, the Aizuri Quartet draws its name from “aizuri-e,” a style of predominantly blue Japanese woodblock printing that is noted for its vibrancy and incredible detail.
Tickets for the Aizuri Quartet’s performance are $29-40, with $10 student tickets available. Tickets can be purchased at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St.; by phone (585) 274-3000; or online at http://eastmantheatre.org
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About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.
More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy Winners, Guggenheim Fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community.