Alexandra Kazovsky, violin
Gershon Gerchikov, violin
Jan Grüning, viola
Amit Even-Tov, cello
Distinguished by its virtuosity, probing musical insight, and impassioned, fiery performances, the Ariel Quartet has garnered critical praise worldwide over the span of nearly two decades. Formed in Israel as teenagers at the Jerusalem Academy Middle School of Music and Dance, the Ariel was named recipient of the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, granted by Chamber Music America in recognition of artistic achievement and career support. The ensemble serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the chamber music program and present a concert series in addition to maintaining a busy touring schedule in the United States and abroad.
Following appearances at leading festivals in the United States, Canada, and Italy, the Ariel Quartet begins the 2018-2019 season at the Newport Music Festival, followed by Music Mountain in Lakeville, CT, where they are joined by clarinetist Oskar Espina Ruiz for an all-Mozart program. Additional fall engagements include programs in New York and Washington, DC, and concerts with Calgary Pro Musica, where the Ariel Quartet gives the Canadian premiere of John Harbison’s String Quartet No. 6. In November, the quartet embarks on a European tour, with dates in Basel, Paris, and Berlin. Highlights of 2019 are performances at the University of California, San Diego, and Mannes School of Music in New York. The Ariel Quartet is presented by Music Toronto and Chamber Music Society of Utica, where they are joined by pianist Orion Weiss for the Schumann Piano Quartet and the Brahms Piano Quintet. At the Linton Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati, the Ariel gives the U.S. premiere of the Quintet for Piano and Strings by Daniil Trifonov, with the composer as pianist.
During the 2017-18 season, the Ariel Quartet performed at the distinguished Shriver Hall Concert Series at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Schneider Concerts at the Mannes School, and the New England Conservatory, in addition to chamber-music series in Kansas City, Portland, OR, and Calgary, and on tour in Israel and Europe. The ensemble has dedicated much of its artistic energy and musical prowess to the powerful Beethoven quartets, and has performed the complete Beethoven cycle on five occasions throughout the United States and Europe. The Ariel Quartet is the first group to have played the complete Beethoven quartets in New York’s alternate music venue SubCulture, which included a performance of the Grosse Fuge at midnight.
The Ariel Quartet regularly collaborates with today’s eminent and rising young musicians and ensembles, including pianist Orion Weiss, violist Roger Tapping, cellist Paul Katz, and the American, Pacifica, and Jerusalem String Quartets. The Quartet has toured with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and performed frequently with pianists Jeremy Denk and Menahem Pressler. In addition, the Ariel served as Quartet-in-Residence for the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and the Perlman Music Program, as well as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Festival.
Formerly the resident ensemble of the Professional String Quartet Training Program at the New England Conservatory, from which the players obtained their undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Ariel was mentored extensively by acclaimed string quartet giants Walter Levin and Paul Katz. The quartet won numerous international prizes in addition to the Cleveland Quartet Award: Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Székely Prize for the performance of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4, and Third Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. About its performances at the Banff competition, the American Record Guide described the group as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power” and noted, in particular, their playing of Beethoven’s monumental Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, as “the pinnacle of the competition.”
Avie Records has recently issued the Ariel’s debut recording, which features the Brahms String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2, and Bartók’s String Quartet No. 1. About the recording, Gramophone enthuses, “Here, on their debut recording, the precision and tonal polish they’ve honed over two decades is on proud display…elucidating the often meaty textures of Brahms’ A-minor Quartet without sacrificing any of its warm luxuriance. And in Bartók’s First, they negotiate the rhythmic intricacies of the finale with such deftness that I had the distinct (and delightful) sense of the composer glancing back across the 19th century to Haydn.”
The Ariel Quartet has received significant support for its studies in the United States from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, Dov and Rachel Gottesman, and the Legacy Heritage Fund. Most recently, they were awarded a grant from the A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Family Foundation.