2018 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition Draws Musicians from Across the United States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2018
CONTACT: Don Buxton 410 819-0380
or Amy Steward 410-829-0436

District5 of Washington, DC (www.district5quintet.org) is a daring wind quintet that specializes in new music and new transcriptions.

 

Ajax Quartet of Denver, CO has thrilled audiences at home in Colorado, as well as in California and Washington as part of the Apollo Arts and Concerts in the Barn concert series.

 

Merz Trio of New York City, NY, a collaboration between a pianist, violinist, and cellist, promotes dialogue between seemingly disparate music, texts, and artifacts.

 

Sapphirus Quartet of Ann Arbor, MI pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a classical saxophone quartet through new music performances and premieres, while still remaining true to the saxophone’s 20th Century French and European roots.

 

Trio St. Bernard of Taos, NM was formed at the Taos School of Music, has gained acclaim for their creative and energized performances of the piano trio repertoire, as well as their visionary programming of original arrangements.

Five world-class ensembles will compete for one of the world’s largest chamber music prizes at the upcoming 2018 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, to be held at the historic Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD, on April 7, 2018 starting at 1 p.m. The applicant trios, quartets and quintets represent a wide range of instrumental combinations: winds, strings, brass, and mixed instruments, including percussion and some of the finest young professional chamber music performers in the world.

This year’s ensembles include District5 of Washington, DC; Merz Trio of New York City, NY; Sapphirus Quartet of Ann Arbor, MI; Ajax Quartet of Denver, CO; and Trio St. Bernard of Taos, NM. The average age of an ensemble must be under 31, and some have included members as young as 21. The finalists will compete for the Lerman Gold Prize of $10,000 and the Silver Prize of $5,000. This biennial Competition is sponsored by Chesapeake Music.

District5 of Washington, DC (www.district5quintet.org) is a daring wind quintet that specializes in new music and new transcriptions. They are recipients of a 2016 CMA Classical Commissioning Grant with composer Evis Sammoutis. District5 has recently performed at the U.S. Department of State, Library of Congress, Barns at Wolf Trap, DC Kosciusko Foundation, and the Washington Arts Club and frequently collaborate with composers and other ensembles.

Ajax Quartet of Denver, CO ( www.ajaxquartet.com) was founded in 2016 at the University of Colorado. As an emerging string quartet, its members have performed in various constellations at such institutions as the Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Moritzburg Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Dallas Chamber Symphony, University of Michigan, Schwob School of Music, and the Juilliard School. The Ajax Quartet has thrilled audiences at home in Colorado, as well as in California and Washington as part of the Apollo Arts and Concerts in the Barn concert series.

Merz Trio (www.merztrio.com) of New York City, NY is a collaboration between a pianist, violinist, and cellist. The trio was the recipient of the Judges’ Special Recognition Award at the 2017 Plowman Competition and was a finalist for a 2017 Tarisio Young Artists Grant for their show ​Macbeth. In 2018, Merz Trio travels to Melbourne, Australia as one of eight trios selected to compete in the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. Merz Trio’s projects promote dialogue between seemingly disparate musics, texts, and artifacts.

Sapphirus Quartet of Ann Arbor, MI was formed at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Prizewinners at the 2017 Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Competition, the Sapphirus Quartet increasingly aims to push the boundaries of what it means to be a classical saxophone quartet through new music performances and premieres, while still remaining true to the saxophone’s 20th Century French and European roots.

Trio St. Bernard (www.triostbernard.com) of Taos, NM was formed at the Taos School of Music, has gained acclaim for their creative and energized performances of the piano trio repertoire, as well as their visionary programming of original arrangements. Trio St. Bernard was ensemble-in-residence at the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival, where they performed with violist Hsin-Yun Huang. Trio St. Bernard is proudly named after the Hotel St. Bernard in the Taos Ski Valley where the Taos School of Music has been hosted every year since its inception in 1963.


A preliminary judges’ panel of eight notable musicians headed by J. Lawrie Bloom, founder and artistic director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, pared the field of applicants to five finalists in a blind review of applicant CD submissions. The five finalists will be judged by Marcy Rosen, founding member of the world-renowned Mendelssohn String Quartet and artistic director of Chesapeake Chamber Music; Tara Helen O’Connor, founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble and head of the wind department at Purchase College Conservatory of Music; and Thomas Sauer, pianist and founder and director of the Mannes Beethoven Institute at Mannes College and a faculty member of both Vassar College and Mannes College, as well as a prodigious performer.

The audience attending the Competition on April 7 will also have an opportunity to judge each ensemble at the end of each concert. The winner of that judging will receive the Audience Choice Award, announced along with the Gold and Silver Prizes at the end of the evening.

Free public concerts will be held on Sunday, April 8 and will include Ajax Quartet at 1:00 p.m. at Temple B’nai Israel in Easton; Sapphirus Quartet at 2:00 p.m. at Church of the Holy Trinity in Oxford; District 5 at 3 p.m. at St. Marks United Methodist Church in Easton; and Merz Trio at 4 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Cambridge.

Tickets to the Chamber Music Competition are $12 per person and free to students. Tickets will be sold at the door at the Avalon Theatre on April 7, 2018, beginning no later than 12:30 p.m. The program starts at 1:00 p.m. For further information, visit ChesapeakeChamberMusicCompetition.org or call the Chesapeake Music office at 410-819-0380. The Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition is underwritten by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, and private benefactors.

For further information about attending the Competition events, visit ChesapeakeMusic.org or call 410-819-0380.

Captions:

#1: Pictured is District5 of Washington, DC (www.district5quintet.org) is a daring wind quintet that specializes in new music and new transcriptions.

#2: Ajax Quartet of Denver, CO has thrilled audiences at home in Colorado, as well as in California and Washington as part of the Apollo Arts and Concerts in the Barn concert series.

#3: Merz Trio of New York City, NY, a collaboration between a pianist, violinist, and cellist, promotes dialogue between seemingly disparate music, texts, and artifacts.

#4: Sapphirus Quartet of Ann Arbor, MI pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a classical saxophone quartet through new music performances and premieres, while still remaining true to the saxophone’s 20th Century French and European roots.

#5: Trio St. Bernard of Taos, NM was formed at the Taos School of Music, has gained acclaim for their creative and energized performances of the piano trio repertoire, as well as their visionary programming of original arrangements.

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