Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “explosive vigor and technical finesse”, the dynamic Miró Quartet, one of America’s highest-profile chamber groups enjoys its place at the top of the international chamber music scene. Now in its second decade, the quartet continues to captivate audiences and critics around the world with its startling intensity, fresh perspective, and mature approach.
Founded in 1995 at the Oberlin Conservatory, the Miró Quartet met with immediate success winning first prize at the 50th annual Coleman Chamber Music Competition in April 1996, and taking both the first and grand prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition two months later. Earning both the First Prize and the Piéce de Concert Prize at the 1998 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Miró Quartet also won the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 2000. In 2005, the Quartet received the Cleveland Quartet Award and was the first ensemble ever to be awarded the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. In the Fall of 2011, violinist William Fedkenheuer joined the Miró Quartet as its newest member.
Recent Miró Quartet seasons have included concerts in some of the world’s most important concert venues, such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Kammermusiksaal, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Italy’s Festival Internazionale Quartetto d’Archi Reggio Emilia, the Dresden Music Festival, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Palacio Real de Madrid. The Miró Quartet has been Quartet-in-Residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two in New York City, and was named to the Distinctive Debut Series of Carnegie Hall, which in conjunction with ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) provided debut appearances in Cologne, Stockholm, Brussels, London, Vienna, Amsterdam and Athens. In recent seasons, the ensemble has collaborated with such artists as Leif Ove Andsnes, Joshua Bell, Eliot Fisk, Lynn Harrell, Midori, Jon Kimura Parker and Pinchas Zukerman. The Miró Quartet is also a favorite of numerous summer festivals having appeared regularly at Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Sunflower Music Festival, and the White Pine Festival. In the summer of 2011, the Miró Quartet performed at Chamber Music Northwest, San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival, and the Sunflower Music Festival among others.
Highlights of the Miró Quartet’s 2010-2011 season included a critically acclaimed return performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as well as performances in New York, Philadelphia, La Jolla, Memphis, and Kansas City among many others. The season also brought successful collaborations with the celebrated British percussionist Colin Currie, pianist Shai Wosner, and cellist Lynn Harrell. The 2011-2012 season will bring a residency with the actor Stephen Dillane at Lincoln Center in New York as well as performances in Montreal, Chicago, Cleveland, Phoenix and Miami among others.
The Quartet has been heard on numerous national radio broadcasts, including American Public Media’s Performance Today and Minnesota Public Radio’s Saint Paul Sunday. Internationally, the Miró Quartet has been featured on radio networks across Europe, Canada and Israel. They have also been seen on ABC’s World News Tonight, A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts, and on various programs of the Canadian Broadcasting Company. At the invitation of Isaac Stern, the Quartet performed in a live broadcast at the Jerusalem Music Center in Israel and was featured in the PBS-TV “American Masters” documentary: “Isaac Stern: Life’s Virtuoso”.
In addition to a mastery of the standard repertoire, the Quartet maintains a fierce devotion to contemporary music. The Miró Quartet has commissioned and performed music by such composers as Brent Michael Davids, Leonardo Balada, Kevin Puts, Chan Ka Nin, David Schober, and Gunther Schuller.
The Miró Quartet serves as the Faculty String Quartet-in-Residence at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. Its members – violinists Daniel Ching and William Fedkenheuer, violist John Largess, and cellist Joshua Gindele – teach private students and coach chamber music there, while maintaining an active international touring schedule. With the Miró on campus, the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin is one of only a small group of universities whose faculties include a world-class string quartet. Deeply committed to fostering the next generation of musicians, the quartet was on faculty at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University before their current position in Austin. On short notice, the Quartet filled in for both Isaac Stern and Henry Meyer, leading master classes in Lucerne, Switzerland and Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland. In the summers, the Miró Quartet has taught and performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Lake Tahoe Music Festival, and the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. The Quartet gives frequent master classes at many institutions around the world.
The Miró Quartet has released several recordings, most recently a disc featuring live performances of works by Dvorak and Kevin Puts. Other releases include the Op. 18 quartets of Beethoven on the Vanguard Classics label as well as a disc featuring music by George Crumb and Rued Langgaard for Bridge Records. The Miró Quartet’s recording of Crumb’s Black Angels received much international acclaim, including the French “Diapason d’Or”. The Miró Quartet is also featured on an Oxingale release entitled “Epilogue”, performing Mendelssohn’s final string quartet (Op. 80) and Schubert’s Quintet with celebrated cellist Matt Haimovitz.
The Miró Quartet is named for the Spanish artist Joan Miró, whose surrealist works — with subject matter drawn from the realm of memory and imaginative fantasy — are some of the most original of the 20th century.