Collegiate Division Semi-Finalists & Finalists
Ajax Quartet (finalist, 2nd place)
Founded in 2016 at the University of Colorado, the Ajax Quartet is an emerging string quartet comprised of violinists Tom Yaron and Renee Hemsing Patten, violist Mario Rivera, and cellist Eric Haugen. In the fall of 2016, Ajax was selected for the graduate string quartet residency at the University of Colorado by the Takacs Quartet, who gives them weekly coaching sessions and guidance. Ajax also shares a relationship with the Aspen Music Festival and School, where they serve as Musical Connections Resident Artists.
Although the three of them have collaborated with each other for years, the genesis of the trio date back to the fall of 2017 when Dr. Heasook Rhee suggested the three musicians play together and started coaching the group ever since. The name, Andersen Trio, is inspired by the G. Chris and Sung Eun Andersen Residence Hall of Manhattan School of Music, which is where the members regularly rehearse and share their daily lives. Siyi, Ziqing, and Tzu-Wei enjoy sharing artistry with each other, and always with a heartfelt connection that is unique and unforgettable.
Aruna Quartet (finalist)
The Aruna Quartet formed at Texas Tech University in the Fall of 2015. Since then, the quartet has been selected twice as the alternate at MTNA State Competition, and as the 2017 winner. At the 2016 NASA Biennial Conference, the quartet competed in the semifinals of the NASA quartet competition. Aruna also competed in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The current members in Aruna are William Pyle on soprano, Tony Guzman on alto, Ryan Hill, on tenor, and Andrew Schoen on bari. The Quartet is under the instruction of Professor David Dees.
Described in performance as “emotionally gripping” by ClevelandClassical, the Cleveland-based Belka Quartet (Beatrice Hsieh and Charles Gleason, violins; Serena Hsu, viola; Daniel Blumhard, cello) was established in the fall of 2014. An award-winning ensemble, the Quartet was recently appointed the Cleveland Institute of Music’s 2018 Apprentice Quartet, studying with Peter Salaff and the Cavani Quartet in the Institute’s Intensive Quartet Seminar. The Quartet also holds the Cleveland Chamber Music Society’s 2018 Young Artist Residency, and has been awarded various fellowships and studies in premier chamber programs, including the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, Robert Mann SQ Institute, Madeline Island Chamber Music SQ Fellowship, and Centrum Port Townsend Chamber Workshop, among others.
Charis Trio (finalist)
Charis Trio meaning grace, kindness, and life in Greek consists of University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music DMA students and was founded in 2017. They have completed two chamber music recitals and have been studying with Daniel Ching, first violinist of the world-renowned Miro Quartet. They are exploring various repertoires from classical period to modern genres.
Crosstown Winds (finalist, 3rd place)
Founded in 2017, Crosstown Winds is based in Memphis, Tennessee. All members serve as graduate assistants at the University of Memphis Scheidt School of Music. Crosstown Winds frequently performs throughout the greater Memphis area and strives to provide outreach to the local community.
DONAX (don’t tell)
DONAX (don’t tell) is a reed quintet comprised of students at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music. The group name is a pun on Donax, the scientific term for the cane we use to make our reeds, which was creatively suggested by Dr. Andrew Parker, UT’s oboe professor. DONAX was formed in January 2018, and they are quickly bursting into the chamber music scene due to a unique ensemble sound as well as common goals and extremely high musical expectations shared by all members of the quintet.
Elara String Quartet
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet No. 64 in D Major, Op. 76, No. 5
II. Largo. Cantabile e mesto
Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73
Formed in 2017 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Elara String Quartet studies under Nelson Lee, Liz Freivogel, and Daniel McDonough of the Jupiter String Quartet. Passionate about all types of music, they strive to not neglect any period of music. In fact, they will be premiering several new works by Illinois composers as the resident quartet of All Score Illinois. They also have a heart for the next generation of young musicians and enjoy doing outreaches in their community. As undergraduates, they have had many incredible opportunities as solo musicians to attend several prestigious summer programs.
invoke (finalist, 1st place)
Described by one pretty important radio guy as “not classical…but not not classical”, invoke continues to successfully dodge every attempt at genre classification. The multi-instrumental band’s style encompasses musical traditions from across America, woven together to create truly unique contemporary repertoire. Equally at home in a collaborative setting, invoke has performed with musicians from widely varying genres, from the Enso Quartet to chamber rock powerhouse San Fermin. invoke’s 2015 debut release “Souls in the Mud” features original works composed by and for the group.
The Julius Quartet
Hailed as “the captivating young string quartet” (The Bennington Banner), the Julius Quartet is rapidly making itself known in the chamber music world. Formed in the fall of 2012, the group held a special residency as “The Boston Conservatory’s Honors String Quartet”. The quartet was recently appointed as the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, and previously served as the Graduate Quartet-in-Residence at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, where they worked intensely with the celebrated Shanghai Quartet. As passionate chamber musicians, the quartet strives to not only explore the extensive quartet repertoire, but also to present their unique voice within the music. Recognized for their high level of artistry, the group was awarded 1st prize at the first annual MA-ASTA String Quartet/Quintet Competition by unanimous vote, and was nominated for the Harvard Musical Association’s Arthur Foote Award. The quartet is comprised of violinists Hyun Jeong Helen Lee and David Do, violist John Batchelder, and cellist Byron Hogan.
Left/Right is a percussion quartet that was formed in September 2017 by four close friends who realized they enjoyed spending a plethora of hours together to make music and unique sounds. Entering their first chamber contest, the 2017 Percussive Arts Society Collegiate Chamber Ensemble Contest, they came out placing second out of fourteen groups. While the individuals of Left/Right may have different percussive backgrounds and upbringings, they come together and create special moments through communication, high energy, and nuanced touch.
Soma is a graduate saxophone quartet formed at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the guidance of Dr. Otis Murphy. The members of the quartet include Ricardo Martinez (soprano), Paul Lorenz (alto), Sean Bradley (tenor), and Arthur Liang (baritone). Soma was recently awarded First Prize in the 2017 Chicago Woodwind Ensemble Competition and was selected as a semi-finalist for the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition (2018). Based out of Bloomington, Indiana, Soma has performed a wide variety of concerts including solo recitals at the International Navy Band Symposium (2018), the North American Saxophone Alliance (2016), Indiana University Eskenazi Art Museum (2016), and performances in communities with underserved access to classical concerts including retirement homes, the Bloomington Transit Center, and fundraising concerts for Classical Connections, a student group at Indiana University Bloomington that reaches to the community through musical performance and educational engagement. Soma performs music from transcriptions to contemporary works, and seeks to bring saxophone music to a wider audience.
Yttrium was formed in 2016 at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. The quartet’s members are Kimberly Blaha (soprano), Matthew Oakes (alto), Travis Bartholome (tenor) and Grace Estrada (baritone), all of whom study saxophone with Dan Gelok. At the Moores School of Music, Yttrium has helped promote faculty and student compositions that feature the saxophone in both band and quartet settings. In addition to performing at the University of Houston, Yttrium is active in the Houston community and has performed at scholarship fundraisers and assisted with the Houston Underground Saxophone Competition.
Junior Division Semi-Finalists & Finalists
The Amalgam Quartet was formed in the fall of 2017 through Austin Chamber Music Center’s Young Artists Academy, coached by Denise Ro. The quartet members consist of Kai Cole and Katelyn Rodrigues, violin; Casey Boyer, viola; and Andre Plackis, cello. Together the quartet has performed for many outreach and fundraising concerts and masterclasses. “Amalgam” comes from the quartet members’ love for the blend of the four voices and the intimacy of that blend. The quartet enjoys spending time together outside of rehearsal, listening to music and attending concerts.
Brio Piano Quartet
The Brio Piano Quartet was formed in 2017 at the Chamber Music Connection based in Worthington, Ohio. The members of Brio hail from Central Ohio and include violinist Mari Jo Downing, 14, from Zanesville, violist Piper Seaton, 16, from Gahanna, cellist Everett Will, 17, from Upper Arlington, and pianist Bree Phillips, 17, from Westerville. Together, they have participated in the 2018 Ohio String Teachers Association Chamber Music Competition and, through CMC, they have worked with members of the Calidore String Quartet and Hausmann String Quartets. Additional coaches include Seymour Fink, Deborah Price, Stephanie Price-Wong, and David Wong. The Brio Piano Quartet name is made up of letters from names of the quartet members, but the word brio is also defined as vivacity and zest. They all share a love for chamber music and have become good friends through their experience playing and studying together as the Brio Piano Quartet.
DAJJ Quartet (finalist, 3rd place)
The DAJJ Quartet formed in Fall 2015 at the Chamber Music Connection (CMC) based in Worthington, Ohio. DAJJ consists of Daniel Tai (15) and Anna Linder (14), violins, Jackson Tomsic (17), cello, and Julian Tugaoen (15), viola. The name DAJJ arises by combining the first letters of each member’s first name. DAJJ was named the 2017 Grand Prize winner of the Discover Competition, won Bronze medal at the 2017 Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, received Honorable Mention in 2017 and Second Prize in the 2018 Ohio String Teachers Association Competition. The quartet was also a finalist at the 2017 Coltman Competition. They have worked with many guest artists at CMC such as Jinjoo Cho, Neave Trio, Dmitry Kouzov, Calidore, Dover, Formosa, Cavani, KASA, Hausmann, and Doric String Quartets.
Decorus Piano Trio
Founded at the Chamber Music Connection in Worthington, OH, the Decorus Piano Trio quickly gained success since its formation in the fall of 2016; winning second place at the Ohio String Teachers’ Association Biennial Chamber Music Competition in 2017, semi-finalists in the 2017 Coltman Competition, and chosen as alternates for the M-Prize chamber arts competition. With pianist Leon Durrenberger, violinist Daniel Woo, and cellist Anna Macintosh, the trio has performed in masterclasses for the Telegraph, Formosa, KASA, and Hausmann Quartets. Coaches include Artistic Director, Deborah Price and Assistant Artistic Director, Stephanie Price-Wong, along with various notable musicians in the Columbus area associated with CMC. The trio hopes to compete in more national competitions this year.
Since December 2016, the Legacy Quartet has been performing together at numerous competitions and concerts. In spring of 2017, the quartet received grand prize at the annual Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Chamber Competition, winning the opportunity to perform at Chamber Music International concerts. Individually, the quartet members have won numerous awards at the Allen Philharmonic Concerto Competition, the Collin County Young Artist Competition, and the Dallas Symphonic Festival. The Legacy Quartet has received guidance from orchestra director Matthew Moreno and private teachers Oliver Schlaffer, Ron Houston, and Zhan Wang.
Though the Memoriam Quartet have been playing together for a short time they all have over a year of experience playing in competitive chamber ensembles. Individually, the members have received awards such as All-State recognition, Outstanding Soloists, and participating in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Wind Symphony.
Formed in spring of 2017, the Neptune Quartet consists of high school seniors Jasper Lin, Lillian Sun, and William Wang, and high school sophomore Abhinav Madduri. The Neptune Quartet currently is under the guidance of Leah Nelson, Executive Director of Austin based Salon Concerts and violinist Caleb Polashek. All members of the quartet are Texas All-State Musicians. Throughout the last four years, members have earned many awards, including multiple Division I Gold ratings at University Interscholastic League and Texas State Solo and Ensemble Competitions, Grand Prize of the Starlight Symphony Young Artist Festival, and 2nd Runner-Up of the Asian American Grand Challenge Cup. The name “Neptune Quartet” is derived from the groups’ interpretation of their music and artistry: both mutable and stable.
Newtonian String Quartet (finalist)
The Newtonian Quartet was founded in 2017 and participates in Austin Chamber Music Center’s ChamberFlex program. Members consist of violinists Natalie Tobita and Chet Fagerstrom, violist Nick Hammel and cellist Sage Lee. The quartet is coached by Dr. Eugene Gratovich, former University of Texas at Austin Associate Professor of Violin.
The Oasis Winds was formed in 2015, and was the first ensemble from Spring High School to compete and advance to the final round of the Coltman Competition. They have served as a demonstration ensemble at the TMEA and Midwest annual conventions and have consistently received outstanding ratings at the annual Spring High School Chamber Music Recital. All members of the ensemble have advanced to the area level of the TMEA All-State audition process, and two have been named members of the 2018 6A All-State Band. In addition to their study in the Spring Band, members of the ensemble study privately with professional musicians from the Houston Area.
Quantum Quartet (finalist, 2nd place)
Formed in the summer of 2016 in Carrollton, Texas, the Quantum Quartet consists of Bruce Moe, Ekdev Rajkitkul, Austin Dreyer, and Peyton Joffre. Members of the group have received many honors, including Texas All-State Band placement, selection to participate in the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance High School Saxophone Ensemble, various top finishes in the Houston Underground Saxophone Competition (Junior Division and High School Division), and more. Quantum Quartet’s are members of the award winning Hebron High School Band.
Quid Nunc Saxophone Quartet (finalist, 1st place)
The Quid Nunc Saxophone Quartet formed in the winter of 2013 and has been a leading advocate and competitor in the chamber music community ever since. QNSQ has won prizes at the Coltman Competition (2nd prize 2015, 1st prize tie 2017), the Houston Underground Saxophone Quartet Competition (3rd prize 2014, 1st prize 2016), Texas Public Radio’s “Sounds Like KPAC” Competition (1st prize 2015 and 2016), and was names a quarterfinalist in the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. In 2015 QNSQ performed as a feature group at the 69th annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, premiering two new works for saxophone quartet.
Suavé Quartet (finalist)
The Suavé Quartet was formed in 2016 at the Chamber Music Connection (CMC) in Worthington, Ohio and consists of violinists Allison Smith and Adryán Rojas, cellist Dylan Cai, and violist Jonah Tugaoen. They recently won First Prize in the 2018 Ohio String Teachers Association Chamber Music Competition. In 2017, Suavé was a finalist in the 4th Coltman Competition, quarter-finalist in the 44th Fischoff Competition, and received the Audience Prize at the St. Paul String Quartet Competition. Suavé has worked with Jeffrey Irvine, Erika Eckert, Hayley Wolfe, Mike Block, David Nesmith, Kyle Price and Stephanie Price-Wong, and Artistic Director of CMC, Deborah Price. Additionally through CMC, members of the group have worked side-by-side with the Calidore, Cavani, Dover, Jupiter, Hausmann, KASA, and Doric Quartets.
The Summit Trio
In 2017, violinist Austin Lee (16) and pianist Ethan Jeon (16) of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division performed together at Carnegie Hall as the winners of the National Young Artists Chamber Music and Ensemble Competition. The two participated in the 2017 Summit Music Festival where they met cellist David Kim (15) of the New York Youth Symphony. The three fostered their talents as chamber musicians and formed a trio of their own afterward. Under the tutelage of Bela Horvath, a faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, the Summit Trio plans to express their passion for music through various concerts, competitions, and service events.