Altius Quartet, Isles Trio take first and second place at Austin Chamber Music Center annual competition
By Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of Arts
Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2014
First and second prize went to Meadows ensembles at the 2014 Coltman Chamber Music Competition in Austin. Left to right: Boon Ping Tan, Dario Martin and Sinead O’Halloran of Isles Trio; Sercan Danis, Andrew Krimm, Andrew Giordano and Zachary Reaves of Altius Quartet.
This year’s Coltman Chamber Music Competition in Austin drew ensembles from all over Central Texas last weekend, but the top ensembles in the Senior Division came from Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas.
Meadows ensembles Altius Quartet and the Isles Trio landed first and second place respectively at the annual event, hosted by the Austin Chamber Music Center (ACMC) at Concordia University on April 25 and 26.
Altius Quartet: Gaining attention
The Altius Quartet is growing its reputation as a winning ensemble. Prior to winning the Coltman, the quartet also won first prize at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition in Columbia, Missouri, in 2013.
For the final rounds at the Coltman, they performed Franz Schubert’s second movement of String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, Death and the Maiden, and the last movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Ninth Quartet. For their efforts, they were awarded a $2,000 cash prize, along with a future performance during the ACMC Summer Festival or ACMC season concert. In addition, they will be featured in a radio broadcast on Austin’s KMFA classical music station.
Composed of four alumni of the graduate music program in the Division of Music at Meadows School of the Arts, the Altius Quartet is an Ensemble-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University for 2013-14. Quartet members include violinist Sercan Danis (B.M. Violin Performance ’11 and Performer’s Diploma ’13); violinist Andrew Giordano (M.M. ’13); violist Andrew Krimm (Performer’s Diploma ’13); and cellist Zachary Reaves (B.M. Cello Performance ’11 and Performer’s Diploma ’13). The quartet is coached by Artist-in-Residence and Director of Chamber Music Matt Albert and Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Emanuel Borok, among other faculty.
Noting that the quartet is gaining a great deal of attention and accolades, Borok expects good news about the group to increase at a rapid rate. “The Altius Quartet is one of those rare groups where things that usually take years to accomplish — such as blend of tone, unanimity of sound and articulation and, not to mention the most difficult thing of all, intonation — these guys tackle with the most natural ease,” he says. “Their intuitive and analytical style go hand in hand when they approach a new piece. Their hard work and genuine passion for quartet music is remarkable. They love and live the music.”
The Isles Trio: Winning scores for first foray into chamber competitions
The Isles Trio was formed in 2013 and consists of Meadows musicians from three different continents: Cuban pianist Dario Martin (PD ’15), Singaporean clarinetist Boon Ping Tan (M.M. Clarinet Performance, ’15) and Irish cellist Sinead O’Halloran (PD ’15). They have participated in master classes with Joaquin Achucarro, Andres Diaz, Alessio Bax, Greg Raden, Liudmila Georgievskaya, Carol Leone and Matt Albert, among others. They are regular performers around Dallas, performing in venues such as the Meyerson Symphony Center and SMU’s Caruth Auditorium.
Member O’Halloran says they were delighted to represent Meadows at the Coltman Competition and were very excited about the successes of both Meadows ensembles. “It was our first time competing in a chamber music competition together as the Isles Trio,” she says. “The competition was very well run and the standard was extremely high so we were delighted to get the opportunity to be part of it all.” For their efforts, the ensemble received a cash prize of $1,000.
The competition was judged by Peter Bay, music director and conductor, Austin Symphony Orchestra; Håkan Rosengren, professor of music at California State University, Fullerton; Ames Asbell, violist of the Tosca String Quartet; Anne Epperson, professor of collaborative piano at the University of Texas at Austin; Steve Girko, principal clarinetist, Austin Symphony Orchestra; and Joel Becktell, principal cellist, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra.