If you’re a fan of string quartets, you probably have a favorite. Maybe a group’s up-tempo arrangements of entrenched classical standards are what captivate you. Perhaps the edgier sound of one cellist over another guides your preference. Or is it the complete listening experience of four exceptionally virtuosic string musicians firing on all cylinders that has you enthralled? For us, a quartet’s ability to make the old new again and the contemporary comfortable and cohesive is what seals the deal.
The Jasper String Quartet, Caramoor’s 2009-2011 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, performs pieces that are emotionally significant to its members ranging from Haydn and Beethoven through Berg, Ligeti, and living composers. They have performed string quartets from some of today’s best up-and-coming composers, including Andrew Norman, Nicholas Omiccioli, Conrad Tao, Annie Gosfield, and their latest commission by Aaron Jay Kernis is especially meaningful. Winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and one of the youngest composers ever to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Kernis is among the most esteemed musical figures of his generation. This new composition – a co-commission by a prestigious consortium of classical presenters including Caramoor – is his last of three string quartets, the first two having been performed frequently and admired greatly by the Jasper.
Beethoven Quartet Op. 18 No. 2 Kernis String Quartet No. 3 World Premiere
Intermission Debussy String Quartet
“The Jasper Quartet’s performance was … incisive and tightly wound, [taking] the listeners from their casual setting into a world of keenly felt emotion.”
– The Oregonian
In addition to Caramoor, Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Northwest, Chamber Music America, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, Classic Chamber Concerts of Naples, Florida, and Wigmore Hall (London) have all come together to commission this monumental work. We are thrilled to support living composers and the artists who breathe life into their work.
Winner of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award, the Jasper String Quartet (J Freivogel and Sae Chonabayashi, violin; Sam Quintal, viola; Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello) 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 Jaspers are the Professional Quartet-in-Residence at Temple University’s Center for Gifted Young Musicians.They recently released two highly acclaimed albums for the Sono Luminus label featuring the works of Beethoven, Schubert, and Aaron Jay Kernis, as well as a digital release of Beethoven Op. 131. From 2015-2017, the Quartet will premiere their commission of Mr. Kernis’ 3rd String Quartet across the world, including at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall in London.
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. Critics and audiences commend the Jasper String Quartet’s “programming savvy” (clevelandclassical.com) 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 Jaspers 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. The quartet receives Career Development support from Astral Artists and is represented exclusively by Dispeker Artists.
Aaron Jay Kernis
Winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and one of the youngest composers ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize, AARON JAY KERNIS is one of America’s most honored composers. His music appears prominently on programs worldwide, and he has been commissioned by America’s preeminent performing organizations and artists, including sopranos Renée Fleming and Dawn Upshaw, violinists Joshua Bell, James Ehnes and Nadja Salerno–Sonnenberg, and guitarist Sharon Isbin, and by institutions including the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Walt Disney Company and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was awarded the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University, was recently inducted in to Classical Music Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was nominated for a Grammy® for Air and Second Symphony. Recent and upcoming commissions include a cello concerto for Joshua Roman, a viola concerto for Paul Neubauer, his 3rd string quartet for the Jasper Quartet, a flute concerto for Marina Piccinini and a violin concerto for James Ehnes.
He is the newly named Workshop Director of the Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and served as New Music Adviser to the Minnesota Orchestra, with which he co-founded and directed its Composer Institute for 11 years. He is on the composition faculty at Yale since 2003. His music is available on Nonesuch, Phoenix, New World, Naxos, Virgin, Arabesque and elsewhere. Leta Miller’s book-length portrait of Kernis and his work was published in 2014 by University of Illinois Press as part of its American Composer series.