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Enso String Quartet

Enso String Quartet


Founded at Yale University in 1999, the Enso String Quartet has, in a decade and a half, risen to the front rank of string ensembles. Described by Strad magazine as “thrilling,” and praised by the Washington Post for its “glorious sonorities,” the Enso has won numerous awards, including top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild competition and the Banff International String Quartet Competition. In the words of Classical Voice, it is “one of the eminent string quartets of our era.” Apart from a busy touring and teaching schedule, the New York-based quartet has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings for the Naxos label. In appraising the Enso’s Grammy-nominated album of works by Alberto Ginastera, the reviewer for Music Web International declared, “The performances here by the Enso Quartet from America are quite staggeringly brilliant. I don’t think I have been so thrilled by the sound of a string quartet in a long time.... If I could give this disc a standing ovation of one...I would!”

The Enso’s members all were drawn to the string quartet repertoire because of its richness and diversity, and the ensemble is committed to exploring the four corners of that repertoire. The Enso regularly performs the classics of the string quartet literature, but also champions lesser-known works that deserve to be heard, along with much contemporary music, including works the Enso has commissioned. The ensemble also performs many of its own transcriptions, including arrangements of 16th Century Renaissance music. “The quartet’s ability to present music of three completely different idioms so persuasively puts it in the running for the mantle of Quartet of the Future” (Palm Beach ArtsPaper). World premieres include commissioned works by the esteemed New Zealand composer Dame Gillian Whitehead, and by the American composer Kurt Stallmann. The Enso also gave the world premiere of Joan Tower’s Piano Quintet, with the composer at the keyboard.

In addition to their in-demand performances at concert halls around the world, the Enso and its individual members are sought after as instructors. The ensemble gives master classes for the next generation of professional musicians, but also works with enthusiastic amateurs, young and old, and with the autistic, in conjunction with the United Kingdom-based organization Music for Autism. The Enso has been awarded for its work with school children in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Based in New York City since 2007, the Enso String Quartet was previously in residence at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois.

The ensemble’s name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things: perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void, the endless circle of life, and the fullness of the spirit..

For more information about the Enso String Quartet visit

Jasper String Quartet

Jasper String Quartet


Winner of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award, the Jasper String Quartet has been hailed as “sonically delightful and expressively compelling” (The Strad) and as "powerful" (The New York Times). The Classical Voice of North Carolina says they play "with sparkling vitality and great verve, ...polished, engaged, and in tune with one another.”

Based in Philadelphia, PA, the Jasper String Quartet is the Ensemble-in-Residence at Classic Chamber Concerts in Naples, FL. The quartet recently released two highly acclaimed albums for the Sono Luminus label featuring the works of Beethoven, Schubert, and Aaron Jay Kernis. In 2014, they will digitally release Beethoven Op. 131 on Sono Luminus as well.

After winning the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize in the 2008 Plowman Chamber Music Competition, the Jaspers went on to win the Grand Prize at the 2008 Coleman Competition, First Prize at Chamber Music Yellow Springs 2008, and the Silver Medal at the 2008 and 2009 Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions. They were the first ensemble to win the Yale School of Music’s Horatio Parker Memorial Prize (2009), an award established in 1945 and selected by the faculty for “best fulfilling… lofty musical ideals”. And in 2010, they joined the roster of Astral Artists after winning their national auditions.

The quartet was the 2010-12 Ensemble-in-Residence at Oberlin Conservatory and, in conjunction with Astral Artists, was awarded a 2012 Chamber Music America grant through its Residency Partnership Program for work in Philadelphia schools. From 2009-2011, the Jaspers were the Ernst C. Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and Arts (Katonah, NY). They were the first ensemble to be invited for a second year as such.

The Jaspers perform pieces emotionally significant to its members ranging from Haydn and Beethoven through Berg, Ligeti, and living composers. They have commissioned string quartets from some of today’s up-and-coming composers, including Andrew Norman, Nicholas Omiccioli, Conrad Tao and Annie Gosfield. They are delighted to be in the midst of a quartet commissioning project with Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Aaron Jay Kernis. Critics and audiences commend the Jasper String Quartet’s “programming savvy” ( and they have performed throughout the United States and in Canada, England, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway and Panama.

The Jasper String Quartet has brought well over 100 outreach programs into schools and enjoys educational work of all types. In their Melba and Orville Roleffson Residency at the Banff Centre they embarked on "guerrilla chamber music," performing concerts in unusual settings around Alberta, Canada. Currently, the quartet works closely with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists to bring outreach activities to schools.

Formed at Oberlin Conservatory, the Jasper String Quartet began pursuing a professional career in 2006 while studying with James Dunham, Norman Fischer, and Kenneth Goldsmith as Rice University’s Graduate Quartet-in-Residence. In 2008, the quartet continued its training with the Tokyo String Quartet as Yale University's Graduate Quartet-in-Residence.

The Jasper String Quartet is named after Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. Dispeker Artists represents the quartet around the world and Astral Artists represents the quartet in Pennsylvania.

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Felicia Moore

American soprano FELICIA MOORE is quickly establishing herself as an exciting up-and-coming young dramatic voice. In 2013, she was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a winner of the George London Award. She also received the Robert Lauch Award from the Wagner Society of NY, and an encouragement award from Opera Index and The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. In the summer of 2013, she was a Marcello Giordani Young Artist with the Crested Butte Music Festival and performed scenes from Lohengrin, Don Giovanni and Idomeneo. As a Mannes Opera Young Artist, she has performed the roles of Madama Cortese in Il viaggio a Reims and Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia. In Spring of 2013, she made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall with The Cecilia Chorus performing scenes from Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans and performing the NY premiere of Smyth’s Mass in D. As a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of St. Louis in the summer of 2014, she covered renowned soprano Christine Brewer as Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites and covered First Lady in The Magic Flute. Ms. Moore is currently working towards her Professional Studies Diploma at Mannes College. She lives in New York City and studies with Ruth Falcon.

Inessa Zaretsky

INESSA ZARETSKY has been at our piano for over a decade, the foundation instrument for so much of the chamber-music repetoire. Professor of Piano at Mannes School of Music, New York, she was a winner of the Frina Auerbach International Competition and has been the recipient of awards from Mannes College, Yale University and the Exxon Corporation. She maintains a busy performance schedule in New York City, and has emerged as an extremely gifted composer as well. For more information about Inessa visit

Paul Nitsch

PAUL NITSCH is the Carolyn G. McMahon Professor of Music and the Macavity Artist-in-Residence at Queens University of Charlotte. He is also Artistic Director for the Friends of Music University, and is a noted chamber music performer, teacher and competition judge.

Before joining the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival, he was Resident Pianist for the Garth Newel Trio at the Garth Newel Music Festival in Hot Spring, Virginia. He was also Artistic Director of the Fontana Chamber Music Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Nitsch earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Peabody Institute of Music of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and the Doctor of Music Arts Degree in Piano Chamber Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was awarded two Fulbright Scholarships for study at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellend Kunst in Vienna, Austria. His major teachers include George Crumb, Walter Hautzig, Leon Fleisher, Noel Flores and Anne Epperson.

Lynn Hileman

LYNN HILEMAN is assistant Professor of Bassoon at West Virginia University, principal bassoonist of the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra, and plays in the Laureate Wind Quintet and the bassoon duo Tuple, and has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, New Haven Symphany, and Buffalo Festival Orchestras. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Yale and the Eastman School of Music, where she was a Bogiages Prize laureate, and studied with John Hunt, K. David Van Hoesen, Frank Morelli, Christopher Millard, and Richard Beene. She has been a champion of contemporary music and innovative experimentation in concert programs, and was a co-founder of Rochester's “A\V” gallery and performance space.

George Pope

GEORGE POPE, flute. Professor of Flute at the University of Akron. He is a founding member of the Solaris Wind Quintet, and has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Canton and Toledo Symphony Orchestras. His solo and chamber performances throughout the United States, Europe, Brazil, and broadcasts on National Public Radio, have received unanimous acclaim.

Cynthia Watson

CYNTHIA WATSON, oboe, is the Principal Oboe of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Watson has also served as principal oboe of the Albany Symphony, the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra, and as a member the Solaris Woodwind quintet and the IRIS Chamber Orchestra. From 1991-1994 she was a regular member of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego. She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Virginia Opera Orchestra. Ms. Watson is on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University, and the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Outreach Department. Ms. Watson received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Richard Killmer. She continued her studies with Ronald Roseman at Yale, where she earned a Master's degree. Her playing has been described as "creating a lasting impression with exquisite singing tone" (Times Union, Albany, N.Y.), "an evening of superlative work" and "[a performance] with soulful brilliance" (Schenectady Gazette). She has recorded on Telarc with the Akron Symphony, on Albany Records with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and CBS Masterworks with Wynton Marsalis and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

David Bell

DAVID BELL, clarinet, received his training at Oberlin Conservatory where he was a student of Lawrence McDonald and Northwestern University as a student of Robert Marcellus. Other teachers have included Larry Combs, Arnold Jacobs, and Clark Brody. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony and has toured internationally with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Solaris Wind Quintet.

Mr. Bell is the Professor of Clarinet at Lawrence University and has held faculty positions at the Oberlin Conservatory, Baldwin-Wallace College, the University of Akron, West Virginia University, and Western Illinois University. Former students perform with ensembles such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Symphony, and others hold appointments at colleges and universities throughout the country. David has held Principal chairs with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Opera, Cleveland Ballet Orchestra, and Akron Symphony Orchestra and has played with the Midsummer Music Festival. He continues to be a frequent guest teacher and clinician nationwide.

Mr. Bell is a member of the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, the La Crosse (WI) Symphony, and the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival. He performs with the Fox Valley Symphony and appears frequently as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the country.

William Hoyt

WILLIAM HOYT is currently Professor of Horn at the University of Akron. He is also Music Director of the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival. He performs regularly with the Paragon Brass Quintet, the Solaris Quintet, the Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Mr. Hoyt played in the Spoleto Festival, the Claremont Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival as well as many others. He has also performed with the Akron Symphony, the Canton Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He has degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Yale University and his primary teachers have been John Barrows, Barry Tuckwell, and Paul Ingraham.

As a soloist he has performed with many organizations including the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Juneau Symphony, and the Wooster Symphony.

As a jazz player, which is not common on the French Horn, Mr. Hoyt has performed regularly with the Jazz Unit, The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and at the Tri-C Jazz fest. He has performed with the likes of Joe Lovano, Dan Wall, and many other great jazz players.

Internationally, Mr. Hoyt has performed and given master classes in China, Brazil, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Austria.

Arranging has always been an interest and he has arranged for many varied ensembles such as woodwind quintet, horn quartet, jazz ensemble and many others. Several of these arrangements have been published.

Mr. Hoyt was the winner of the coveted Concert Artists Guild Award in 1977 and as a result performed a debut recital in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City in December of that year. Mr. Joseph Horowitz of the New York Times reviewed the recital and declared Mr. Hoyt, "clearly a poised, sensitive horn player."

Mr. Hoyt can be heard with the NFB Horn Quartet on Crystal Records and GM Recordings, with the Solaris Quintet on Capstone Records, and with the Jazz Unit on the Go Bop label.

Philip Alejo

PHILIP ALEJO is the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Bass at the University of Arizona. He recently performed as Associate Principal Bass of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and taught at St. Ambrose University. He served as Visiting Professor of Bass at the University of Michigan in Fall 2011.

He is a former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and an orchestral mentor with the Detroit Civic Orchestra. Philip has played with Tucson Symphony, Ensemble Dal Niente, Flint Symphony, and Ann Arbor Symphony.

As a chamber musician, Philip collaborates regularly with harpist Claire Happel. Additional performances have taken place alongside Menahem Pressler, Yehonatan Berick, Antonio Lysy, Martin Beaver, Paul Coletti, Sandy Yamamoto, James Austin Smith, Maiya Papach, Spencer Myer, Katinka Kleijn, and David Bowlin.

Philip has participated in and performed at numerous music festivals, including Spoleto Festival USA, Lucerne Festival, Mackinac Island Music Festival, Oaxaca Instrumenta, Aldeburgh Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and the Milt Hinton Institute.

Last Updated ( Apr 22, 2014 at 09:23 PM )