The James E. Clark Chamber Music Residency at Eastman School of Music Presents: Cleveland Quartet Reunion

November 19, 2021

More Information:
For Media Inquiries: Eastman Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator: Katey Padden (585-274-1052, kpadden@esm.rochester.edu)

The Cleveland Quartet, Eastman’s quartet-in-residence from 1976 to 1995, will reunite at the Eastman School of Music in April as part of the James E. Clark Chamber Music Residency. The members of this Grammy-winning ensemble include Atar Arad, James Dunham, Martha Katz, Paul Katz, Peter Salaff, and Donald Weilerstein, who will all return from April 1-3, 2022. Residency includes:

  • Chamber Music Master Class
  • Chamber Music Coaching
  • Informal Concert
  • Panel Discussion

In addition to members of the quartet, former Dean and Eastman Director Robert Freeman, who hired the Cleveland Quartet in 1976, will also be part of this residency.

David Ying, Associate Professor of String Chamber Music says, “Having the Cleveland Quartet reunited for the Clark Residency connects so many strands of Eastman’s past, present and future. They were and are influential teachers and mentors to me, our quartet, and so many other Eastman string players and alumnae. We are excited to reflect on their great legacy here, and at the same time bring their teaching to our current Eastman students, the musicians who will represent Eastman going forward. We are so proud to welcome the Cleveland Quartet back home to Rochester!”

“How excited and grateful we in the Cleveland Quartet are to Eastman and the Ying Quartet for inviting us back to Rochester!” Paul Katz says on behalf of the Cleveland Quartet, “1976-1996 were glorious CQ years of international touring and recording, and Eastman was our grounding.  The esprit de corps of the Eastman community, the talent,  energy and commitment of our exceptional students and faculty colleagues, provided continual inspiration and regeneration. Our performing career was a heady experience, but teaching, which we all continue today with passion and devotion, has been life’s most fulfilling, satisfying reward. We can hardly wait to re-walk the halls, reunite with old friends and colleagues and relive the wonderful memories of the Eastman years!”

For more than 25 years, almost 20 of them at the Eastman School of Music, the Cleveland Quartet was one of the most respected international string quartets. It was formed in 1968 at the annual summer music institute at Marlboro, Vermont by Cleveland-based musicians: violinists Donald Weilerstein and Peter Salaff, violist Martha Strongin Katz and cellist Paul Katz. They debuted as an ensemble in 1969 in Cleveland and were Eastman’s quartet-in-residence from 1976 to 1995.

All events that are part of the residency are open to the public. For more information visit: esm.rochester.edu/100

The first Dr. James E. Clark Chamber Music Residency occurred in 2015. Each residency fulfilled Dr. Clark’s goal of providing Eastman student ensembles intense, up-close exposure to both the playing and teaching of world-renowned ensembles. This is an endowed program and any contributions made are in support of the continuation of this residency.

The three-semester-long Eastman Centennial celebration began in Fall 2021 and continues throughout 2022. Highlights include acclaimed guest artists performing alongside Eastman’s ensembles; national academic and music conferences; alumni events throughout the country; a documentary being produced in partnership with WXXI, and more. Pillar events include: “Opening of the Doors,” a community-driven celebration scheduled for March 3-6, 2022; “100 concerts to celebrate 100 years”; and a Meliora Weekend celebration in Fall 2022.

For up-to-date information on the Eastman Centennial, including feature stories, future events, videos, testimonials, ways to engage, and more, please visit our Centennial website at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/100.

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About the Cleveland Quartet:

For more than 25 years, almost 20 of them at the Eastman School of Music, the Cleveland Quartet was one of the most respected international string quartets. It was formed in 1968 at the annual summer music institute at Marlboro, Vermont by Cleveland-based musicians: violinists Donald Weilerstein and Peter Salaff, violist Martha Strongin Katz, and cellist Paul Katz. They debuted as an ensemble in 1969 in Cleveland, and became the quartet-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

In 1971, the quartet took the same position at the State University of New York in Buffalo and performed its first traversal of the complete Beethoven cycle, which the group would eventually record twice, along with much of the standard repertoire and many contemporary works .

At its height, the Cleveland Quartet became one of the premiere full-time touring ensembles in the world. It ordinarily gave 100 concerts a year, on six continents, at virtually every prestigious summer festival, and including annual appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York City. It was the quartet-in-residence at the Aspen Festival in Colorado for 20 years.

Throughout the quartet’s lifetime, two members remained constant: Peter Salaff and Paul Katz. Martha Katz was succeeded by Atar Arad and then James Dunham as violist. The ensemble disbanded in 1995. Six of these former members will reunite at Eastman in April for the Clark residency.

The Cleveland Quartet has an outstanding history of teaching outstanding young string players and chamber musicians. Eight of the string quartets they coached have won the Naumberg Award. The Cleveland Quartet has won numerous awards in its own right, including a 1996 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance. 

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.

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. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School. 

About the University of Rochester:

The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.