First Prize winners of "The Provincie Limburg Prijs" along with the “EMCY Artprize” at the Charles Hennen 26th International Chamber Music Competition for Strings in The Netherlands, Excelsa Quartet is now the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.
Excelsa Quartet was formed in January of 2009 at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. They continued their studies at the Konservatorium Dreilinden in Luzern, Switzerland, and in the Professional Quartet Training Program under the tutelage of the Alban Berg Quartet at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln in Germany. In 2011, Excelsa Quartet won the ‘Prix du Jury “Jeunes Musiciens” et du Public’ at the Illzach 17th International Chamber Music Competition in France. As regular participants in the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme (Aldeburgh, UK) since 2009, the Quartet has worked with Isabel Charisius (Alban Berg Quartet), Ilan Gronich (Israel Quartet), Sebastian Hamann, the Pavel Haas Quartet, and Quatuor Mosaiques.. They have also participated in the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar in Stanford, CA (2014) the McGill International String Quartet Academy in Montreal, QC (2014), and most recently the Shouse Institute at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Michigan (2015), where they worked closely with the Emerson Quartet.
The Quartet has had the honor of working with members of the Guarneri Quartet, Left Bank Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Cleveland Quartet, Emerson Quartet, James Stern, André Roy, Roger Tapping (Juilliard Quartet), David Takeno, Lucy Chapman, and world renowned conductor Benjamin Zander. They have also collaborated with the Miami String Quartet, Axelrod String Quartet, and composers Wolfgang Rihm and John Heiss. In 2015, Excelsa Quartet commissioned and premiered John Heiss’s first ever work for string quartet, titled Microcosms.
Highlights of the 2015-16 Season include performances at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on the Smithsonian Institute’s collection of Stradivarius instruments, a collaboration with the St. Lawrence String Quartet in a performance of Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet, Op. 11 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, MD, and performances at the Arts Club of Washington, DC. Excelsa Quartet has also been selected as one of five Finalist ensembles to perform in the 2016 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition this coming April.
Excelsa Quartet takes its name from “Picea excelsa”, a distinct species of Northern European spruce trees used to make the top panel of fine string instruments.
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