An Update on the Careers of Our Award Winning Finalists

With eight memorable competitions to look back on, the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition has seen many talented musicians who have gone on to achieve great things.  Here is a brief recap of their accomplishments:


Formed in 2012, BLOCK4 is a London-based recorder quartet featuring Emily Bannister, Lucy Carr, Katie Cowling and Rosie Land. Studying at the Royal College of Music, BLOCK4 presents a dynamic approach to contemporary consort music, as well as offering a captivating interpretation of music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The quartet’s innovative style has resulted in their being the 2014 winners of the Royal Overseas League Ensemble competition, the first recorder consort to receive this accolade in the competition’s 62-year history.  Most recently they were awarded 1st Runner Up at the NonClassical Record label’s Battle of the Bands 2016. They were also awarded a Donemus award for the performance of contemporary music at the Open Recorder Days Amsterdam in 2015. They received a high commendation at the RCM’s Senior Woodwind Prize in 2013, and were awarded the June Emerson Launchpad prize at the competition in 2014. BLOCK4 is the 2015-16 Ensemble in Residence for Handel and Hendrix House Museum – a role which included a concert series in 2016.

Formed at Juilliard in 2010, the Olympus Piano Trio performs a repertoire of classical masterpieces and champions the music of native Greek and diaspora composers. Violinist Regi Papa made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 with the Sibelius Violin Concerto and has been a featured soloist with orchestras in the United States as well as abroad.  A “young cello phenomenon” with “dazzling technique” (Holland Times), “most appealing” (New York Times), and “cello playing of the very highest standard” (Epoch Times) is how critics describe cellist Ben Capps.  Pianist Konstantine Valianatos is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards throughout the world. Dedicated to reaching out to non-traditional and underprivileged members of the community, the Olympus Piano Trio has participated in a wide variety of outreach programs, including an outreach program in spring 2016 at St. Basil’s Academy, a program for disadvantaged children in upstate New York. The members of the Olympus Piano Trio have taught at Juilliard, SUNY Stony Brook, and Hunter College, and have recorded for Sony, Innova, LP Classics and Tzadik labels. The Olympus Piano Trio’s debut album is scheduled for release in 2017 on the LP Classics label.


Gold Medalists, The Wasmuth String Quartet (now known as the Verona Quartet), won the grand prize at the 2014 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, first prize at the Kuttner String Quartet Competition in Bloomington, IN, a silver medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Compeition, and a bronze at the 2014 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. In 2015 they were winners of the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and were quartet-in-residence at the Abu Dhabi Chamber Music Festival. They have appeared at the Kennedy Center, “Music in the Loft” in Chicago, and were the string quartet-in-residence at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany. They were the graduate string quartet-in-residence at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and now hold the same distinction at The Juilliard School, which will host the quartet’s Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall.

Silver Medalists, The Kenari Quartet, have earned top prizes at the Fischoff, J.C. Arriaga, Plowman, and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions. They study under world-renowned saxophonist Dr. Otis Murphy at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Both of these award winning ensembles were top prize winners at the University of Michigan’s inaugural international competition, the M-Prize.  (See below for details)


Gold Medalists, The Calidore String Quartet, went on to win several grand prizes at the Fischoff, Coleman, and Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competitions. In 2012, they captured top prizes at the ARD Munich International String Quartet Competition and the Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition. In 2014, they performed at Lincoln Center, Shriver Hall (Baltimore), Phillips Collection (Washington DC) and the National Arts Center (Ottawa). They are currently the Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University, and were appointed to the prestigious roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two for the 2016 – 2019 seasons. A highlight of their 2015 – 2016 season includes their debut at Carnegie Hall.

Our Silver Medalists and Audience Choice Award winners, Russian Trio, went on to win at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition in 2013. They toured throughout the United States, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Norway, Mexico and Poland. Sadly, cellist Dmitry Volkov died in May at age 26.


2010 was a very big year for Red Line Saxophone Quartet, who in addition to winning our Gold Medal, also won first prize at the 2010 Plowman Chamber Competition and first prize at the NASA Sax Quartet Competition. They toured Asia for a month with appearances at the World Sax Congress in Thailand, and several venues in China and Hong Kong.

Silver Medalists, The Harlem Quartet, recently completed the Professional String Quartet Residency Program at New England Conservatory and participated in NEC’s string quartet exchange program in Paris. Their fourth CD, featuring works of Mozart and Schubert, was released in 2013. They have collaborated with many distinguished performers, including Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kevalian, Misha Dichter (with whom they made their Kennedy Center debut in 2013), and jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton. Their recording with Corea and Burton, “Mozart Goes Dancing”, won a Grammy Award in 2013 for Best Instrumental Composition.


Silver medal winners, The Attacca Quartet, went on to win the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2011, served as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet from 2011 – 2013, and were recently named the Quartet-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This season is their fifth in a special series called “The 68”, an ambitious project performing all sixty-eight of Haydn’s string quartets. They released their second album in April under the Azica Record label, Haydn’s “Seven Last Words of Christ”.


Our first international gold medal winners, the David Trio from Italy, also won First Prize at the International Festival for Chamber Music in Vienna and First Prize at Yellow Springs International Competition. They then toured in South America and Mexico, were resident chamber music professors in Santiago de Compostela, and recorded what is considered one of the best interpretations of Schubert trios for the Altara label. They have recently performed at the Festival “Concertando” in Rome and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.


Our gold medal winners for the first Competition were Exit 9 Percussion Group, with their fresh, unconventional sound incorporating music traditions from around the globe. They have played in South Korea, The Juilliard School, McCarther Theater, Western Washington University, George Street Playhouse, and Two Rivers Theater, and they are artists in residence at Rutgers University. The ensemble has performed hundreds of clinics in schools and community centers in the greater New York area.



May 20, 2016

ANN ARBOR—After two days of semifinals and finals concerts at the University of Michigan, the Calidore String Quartet has won the $100,000 M-Prize, a new chamber music competition hosted by the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance.  Announced last October, the M-Prize Competition was created to identify and showcase the highest caliber of chamber music ensembles in the world. It received a total of 172 applications from 17 states and 13 countries—officially making it the largest chamber music competition in the nation and world in terms of both prize money and number of applications. Twenty-nine ensembles, comprising 120 artists, participated in the semifinal and final rounds May 18 and 19 at U-M.

The Calidore String Quartet, an ensemble from New York City, is the 2016 Borletti-Butoni Trust Fellowship recipient, the first American ensemble in the foundation’s history to receive the prestigious career grant.

The quartet members—Jeff Myers and Ryan Meehan (violins), Jeremy Berry (viola) and Estelle Choi (cello)—are currently artists-in-residence and visiting faculty at Stony Brook University-New York. They were appointed to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two roster for the 2016-19 seasons.

The ensemble has also won grand prizes at the Fischoff, Coleman, Chesapeake and Yellow Springs competitions, and captured top prizes at the 2012 ARD Munich International String Quartet Competition and Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition.

As part of the prize package, the Calidore String Quartet will also be presented by U-M’s University Musical Society in their chamber arts concert series next season. In addition, they will be included in upcoming season programming for Center Stage Strings, Interlochen Presents, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Rockefeller University and University of Florida Performing Arts.

Including the grand prize, a total of $200K in prize money was distributed among the top three winners in three different categories—strings, woodwinds and “open”—in Junior (ages 18 and under) and Senior (ages 19-35) divisions. The “open” category can feature any instrumentation, including percussion, voice or technology, and music that contains a significant amount of improvisation such as jazz, bluegrass and world music.

M-Prize Finals winners:

Senior Strings

First prize, $20,000: Calidore String Quartet* [Grand Prize recipient]

Second prize, $7,000: Verona String Quartet

Senior Winds

First prize, $20,000: Kenari Quartet

Third prize, $3,000: Axiom Brass


In the Senior category, these four past Finalists of the Chesapeake Music Competition won two-thirds of the six major prizes for excellence in strings or winds.  It is a remarkable accomplishment and our congratulations go out to each of the artists in these ensembles.