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Escher String Quartet

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The Escher String Quartet, based in New York, is a leading chamber ensemble that has fulfilled the promise implied by its high-profile backers in its first years. The quartet is named for artist M.C. Escher, asserting that it was "inspired by Escher's method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole." The Escher String Quartet was formed in 2005 in New York. Its members are violinists Adam Barnett-Hart and Brendan Speltz, violist Pierre Lapointe, and cellist Brook Speltz. The group's talents were promoted by the Emerson String Quartet, and the quartet was soon invited to festival appearances and residencies by such heavyweights as Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman. Later collaborators in performance have included not only classical musicians but also jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and saxophonist Joshua Redman. A major boost to the quartet's career was the Avery Fisher Career Grant, awarded in 2013. In its home country, the Escher String Quartet performed at Chamber Music San Francisco, Alice Tully Hall in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It has also appeared at the Ravinia and Music@Menlo festivals. The quartet's reputation was broadened in Europe by appearances at the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Auditorium du Louvre, among other prestigious venues. After making several recordings for Naxos, including a pair covering the complete string quartets of Alexander von Zemlinsky, the Escher String Quartet was signed to the BIS label, becoming one of the few American ensembles on the label's roster and releasing a cycle of Mendelssohn's string quartets in 2015. In 2018, an album appeared on BIS featuring string quartets by Dvořák, Borodin, and Tchaikovsky. The Escher String Quartet joined guitarist Jason Vieaux for the album Dance on the Azica label in 2019, and a BIS recording of the Barber and Ives string quartets followed in 2021. As of that year, the group was quartet-in-residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and at the Tuesday Musical chamber series in Akron, Ohio. Devoted to the education of aspiring chamber players, the group has offered master classes at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Campos do Jordão Music Festival in Brazil.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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