Woodwind quintet formed in 1947. The ensemble made its New York debut in January 1954 and shortly thereafter began touring in the United States; tours followed under the auspices of the US State Department to Latin America (1956), Europe (1958), East Asia and the Pacific (1962), Central and South America (1969), and Russia (1972). It has given world premieres of works by such composers as Quincy Porter and Elliott Carter, and has also led the way in reviving lesser-known works by Franz Danzi and Anton Reicha, among others. The group has also commissioned and premiered more than 20 compositions, including Samuel Barber’s Summer Music, and quintets by William Bergsma, Alec Wilder, Gunther Schuller, Ezra Laderman, William Sydeman, Wallingford Riegger, Jon Deak, and Yehudi Wyner. Through many school concerts given 1953–5, it developed the format for the Young Audiences program. The quintet was in residence at the University of Wisconsin for 15 summers (...
Joanne Sheehy Hoover
revised by Megan E. Hill
revised by Bonnie E. Fleming
String quartet formed in 1972 and disbanded in 1985. Its members were Yoko Matsuda (b Tokyo, Japan, 25 May 1942), Miwako Watanabe (b Beijing, China, 15 July 1939), James Dunham (b Washington, DC, 27 Aug 1950), and Robert Martin (b Philadelphia, PA, 20 March 1940), who replaced Joel Krosnick in 1975. It was the quartet-in-residence at the California Institute of the Arts beginning in 1972. After winning the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1976, the quartet toured throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East, giving performances that included premieres of William Thomas McKinley’s Fantasia concertante (New York, 1977), Gerhard Samuel’s String Quartet no.2, and Mel Powell’s Little Companion Pieces (New York, 1980, with Bethany Beardslee, soprano). It recorded for Nonesuch, Sheffield, and Delos as well as for Music & Arts. The quartet’s Sequoia Foundation contributed many commissions to the quartet literature, including works from Chihara (Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra) and, in ...
Chamber music ensemble. Founded in 1972, the ensemble was built around the instrumentation for Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, the work with which Tashi made its much acclaimed debut in New York in 1973. The founding members were richard Stoltzman (clarinet), ida Kavafian (violin), fred Sherry (cello), and peter Serkin (piano). Other members have included violinist Theodore Arm, violist Ik-Hwan Bae, and Toby Appel. Since individual members established separate careers, the ensemble’s activities were initially limited to several annual concert tours (which have included the first classical performances at the Bottom Line, a nightclub in New York, 1976) and recording sessions. In the 1980s the group stopped performing live altogether until the centenary of Messiaen’s birth prompted them to stage a brief and highly successful tour in 2008. Tashi has offered spontaneous and imaginative interpretations of an unconventional mix of repertory; traditional works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven as well as modern works by Igor Stravinsky, Messiaen, Toru Takemitsu, and Bill Douglas are represented in their recitals and on a number of recordings. Tashi is Tibetan for “good fortune.”...
Chamber ensemble consisting of four guitarists. The group was formed in 1980 by four students at the University of Southern California: Anisa Angarola, John Dearman, William Kanengiser, and Scott Tennant. Andrew York replaced Angarola in 1990, and Matthew Greif joined the group after York left in 2006 (both York and Greif also studied at USC). Their self-titled debut recording was released on vinyl in 1983; it included pieces by Praetorius, Bach, Stravinsky, Debussy, and Falla. More than a dozen recordings have appeared since, including Dances from Renaissance to Nutcracker (1992), For Thy Pleasure (an all-Baroque album, 1996), Air and Ground (2000), the Grammy-nominated LAGQ Latin (2002), the Grammy-winning Guitar Heroes (2004), LAGQ Brazil (2007), and Interchange (2010). The group is known for its diverse selection of repertoire; it is thus sometimes labeled a classical/pop Crossover ensemble (their Grammy award was in this category). Their repertoire is comprised of works by composers who have written for the guitar, such as Rodrigo and Bogdanovic; transcriptions for guitar quartet of works by Bizet, Copland, Rossini, and Telemann; and arrangements of pieces by rock musicians such as Sting and Steve Howe. Notable individual selections include their treatment of Pachelbel’s Canon in D in a variety of musical styles, Quartet for Guitar no.5 “Labyrinth on a Theme of Led Zeppelin” by contemporary composer Ian Krouse, and ...
Nancy Yunwha Rao
Instrumental ensemble founded in 1984 by Susan Cheng in New York’s Chinatown. It features Chinese instruments including erhu, yangqin, zheng, pipa, daruan, sanxian, sheng, and dizi. Its members have included Wu man , Tang Liang Xing, and Min Xiao Fen, among others. Performing at museums, schools, and other venues, it has specialized in silk and bamboo music of southern China but has also performed contemporary music. Its concerts from 1990 to 2002 included excerpts or full-staged performances of Cantonese opera. At its height the ensemble performed 100 concerts a year; in the early 2010s it was averaging 50–60.
Music from China has commissioned and performed many new works. By 2011 it had premiered 132 new works by 81 composers, including the winners of its annual international composition competition. In 1987 Chen yi and Zhou long joined Music from China as music directors and composed many significant works for the group. From ...
Eric Lynn Harris
Brass quintet established in 1954. Its first performance was in October of that year at the Carnegie Recital Hall (later Weill Recital Hall). Its founding members were Robert Nagel (trumpet), John Glasel (trumpet), Fred Schmidt (horn), Erwin Price (trombone), and Harvey Phillips (tuba). Initially formed to play children’s concerts in cooperation with Young Audiences, Inc., the ensemble soon became recognized as one of the finest brass quintets in the United States and would eventually enjoy residencies at the Hartt School, the Yale School of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music. Performing music from all style periods, the group premiered numerous works including Malcolm Arnold’s Quintet for Brass op.73 and Gunther Schuller’s Brass Quintet. Recordings of Eugene Bozza’s Sonatine and Alvin Etler’s Quintet for Brass Instruments became listener favorites and received critical acclaim. The group saw many personnel changes during the late 1950s and early 1960s. By 1967 membership had stabilized and would remain the same for the next 17 years, with Robert Nagel (trumpet), Allan Dean (trumpet), Paul Ingraham (horn), John Swallow (trombone), and Thompson Hanks (tuba). The quintet collectively retired in ...
David P. DeVenney
Chorus. Founded in Los Angeles in 1946 and originally named the Los Angeles Concert Chorale, the choir was soon renamed after its eponymous founder, Roger Wagner. Wagner (1914–92) immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1921 from France. From an early age until late in life he was an active church musician. Among his many music positions, Wagner was supervisor of youth choruses for the City of Los Angeles (beginning in 1945) and it was from a festival chorus that the first incarnation of the Chorale was formed. Particularly interested in Renaissance music, Wagner made that literature a highlight of the ensemble’s repertory, but he also included much contemporary music, as well as lighter compositions like folk songs and spirituals. The Chorale was one of the first professional choral ensembles in the United States and both the choir and its director have been highly influential in American choral music. Roger Wagner was one of the founding members of the Association of Professional Vocal Ensembles, now known as Chorus America....
Performance cooperative founded in 1966. The group was formed by composers Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, and Gordon Mumma. Fluxus artist Benjamin Patterson is credited with conceiving the name Sonic Arts Group for a concert that he programmed at the Lincoln Center Library. Ashley later revised the name to indicate that the partnership was not intended as an improvisatory or collaborative ensemble; the members, who were largely geographically isolated from each other during their decade of activity, pooled their financial resources and equipment in order to realize performances of each member’s works. The members initially became acquainted at ONCE new music festivals in Ann Arbor, Michigan, during the period from 1957 to 1964, when Ashley and Mumma were based there and directed the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music. The four composers quickly recognized that they shared a like-minded approach to music making that involved designing new instruments and electronic circuitry from ubiquitous objects and exploring the inherent musicality of acoustic spaces. The concerts were distinct in their inclusion of both electroacoustic vocal and instrumental works, many of which are regarded as pivotal to the trajectory of post-Cagean experimental music. Frequently programmed works, such as ...
S. Timothy Maloney
Formed in Toronto in 1989 by the violinists Geoff Nuttall and Barry Shiffman, the violist Leslie Robertson, and the cellist Marina Hoover, the quartet subsequently featured the cellists Alberto Parrini (2002–03) and Christopher Costanza (from 2003); Scott St. John has alternated with Nuttall on first violin since replacing Shiffman in 2006.
The SLSQ gained international attention after taking second place in competitions in Melbourne and St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1991, and winning the top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions the following year. Coached by renowned quartets while serving residencies at the University of Hartford 1990–92 (Emerson), the Juilliard School 1992–94 (Juilliard), and Yale University 1994–96 (Tokyo), the SLSQ musicians have been visiting artists at the University of Toronto annually since 1997 and ensemble in residence at Stanford University since 1998.
Giving more than 120 concerts annually, the SLSQ regularly performs at major venues and festivals throughout North America and Europe, and has toured in Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Oceania. It has recorded four albums for EMI, including works by Haydn, Schumann, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, and Osvaldo Golijov; its disc of Schumann’s first and third quartets won a Canadian Juno and the German critics’ award, while Golijov’s ...
Eric Lynn Harris
Orchestral brass ensemble. Founded in 1985 by members of the St. Louis Brass Quintet, the original personnel included David Hickman, Allan Dean, Raymond Mase, and Anthony Plog (trumpet); Larry Strieby, Fred Rizner, Gail Williams, and Thomas Bacon (horn); Joseph Alessi, Ralph Sauer, Mark Lawrence, and Melvyn Jernigan (trombone); Daniel Perantoni and Eugene Pokorny (tuba); and Carl Topilow, conductor. The roster remained constant for the group’s first 17 years and has undergone some changes in the last decade. The ensemble’s first recording, Episodes (ProArte, 1986), featured trumpet soloist Doc Severinsen. Their other eight recordings have been produced through the ensemble’s own Summit label. The ensemble has toured extensively throughout the United States and visited Europe in 1998. Each summer the ensemble serves as the host of the Rafael Méndez Brass Institute, a young artists workshop designed as a career entry program for young professionals. Over 200 students annually participate in the institute with tuition provided by the Méndez Estate. Summit Brass has commissioned over 100 works by composers, including John Cheetham, David Sampson, Eric Ewazen, Manny Albam, Henri Lazarof, and Anthony Plog. The group performs a diverse repertoire, ranging from Renaissance works to 21st-century compositions....