Originally published in Caramoor’s Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 Program Book
Our 2017-18 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence share what they value as a quartet from educating the next generation to championing new works by contemporary composers. Verona Quartet is made up of Jonathan Ong, and Dorothy Ro, violins, Abigail Rojansky, viola, and Jonathan Dormand, cello.
Since 1999, one young string quartet is chosen each year as Caramoor’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence. The Quartet-in-Residence performs three times at Caramoor throughout their year-long residency, enabling the public to experience these exciting players in an intimate setting. They also lend their time and talents to Caramoor’s Student Strings program in the secondary schools with a classroom-based program of concerts, conversations, and performance clinics.
Caramoor is pleased to welcome the Verona Quartet as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence for our 2017-18 season. Hailed by The New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble,” the Verona Quartet – winner of the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition – has quickly earned a stellar reputation as one of the most compelling young quartets in chamber music today. Violist Abigail Rojansky talked with us about what the Residency means to them.
“Caramoor brings together artists and programming that are thoughtful, unique and groundbreaking, so naturally we are thrilled to be joining the esteemed roster of artists contributing to Caramoor’s exciting 2017-2018 season,” said Rojansky. “We are also so honored to join Caramoor in their commitment to promoting new works as well as sharing both the new and the old with audiences of all ages through education and outreach. If music is food for the soul, then Caramoor is its five-star chef.”
Working with students is a key component of the Quartet-in-Residence program, which made the Verona Quartet, whose artistic vision has always included education and outreach, a perfect fit. The Quartet has worked with children from preschool age through university. “It never fails to be deeply meaningful to us. As messengers for the extraordinary music we love, we strongly believe that the voice of string quartet literature and classical music at large speaks for itself and that the first step toward building an audience for the future is simply opening up this extraordinary world to young people and audiences who have not had any prior exposure. It’s always astonishing to watch how children respond to the music in a pure, unfettered and genuine way.”
The Quartet is also committed to performing works from many periods of string quartet repertoire, including contemporary works. “The string quartet has always been a format composers enjoyed using in order to explore their own voice and challenge the music (and often social) tenets of the day,” said Rojansky. “We want our audiences to feel those qualities come to life throughout our repertoire, but this is a particularly exciting season for us as we look forward to presenting a premiere, [commissioned by Caramoor], next summer from the wonderful young composer, Julia Adolphe.”
The Quartet is especially aware of the great sense of responsibility placed on artists that commission and perform new works, as they are the first step in the new composition’s contribution to the legacy of classical music. “It is a great privilege to be able to bring Julia’s music to the Caramoor stage and we look forward to this tripartite collaboration.” The Quartet’s November program includes recent works written for them by Sebastian Currier.
The Verona Quartet will perform in the Music Room on Sunday, November 5 and Sunday, April 29, and in the Venetian Theater during Caramoor’s 2018 Summer Season.