"Passion, precision, warmth, a gold blend: these are the trademarks of this excellent Israeli string quartet." Such was theNew York Times' impression of the Jerusalem Quartet. Since the ensemble's founding in 1993 and subsequent 1996 debut, the four Israeli musicians have embarked on a journey of growth and maturation. This journey has resulted in a wide repertoire and stunning depth of expression, which carries on the string quartet tradition in a unique manner.
The ensemble has found its core in a warm, full, human sound and an egalitarian balance between high and low voices. This approach allows the quartet to maintain a healthy relationship between individual expression and a transparent and respectful presentation of the composer's work. It is also the drive and motivation for the continuing refinement of its interpretations of the classical repertoire as well as exploration of new epochs.
The Jerusalem Quartet is a regular and beloved guest on the world's great concert stages. With regular bi-annual visits to North America, the quartet has performed in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, and Cleveland as well as in the Ravinia Festival. In Europes, the quartet enjoys an enthusiastic reception with regular appearances in London's Wigmore hall, Tonhalle Zürich, Munich Herkulessaal, Theatre des Champs-Elysées, as well as special guest performances at the Auditorium du Louvre Paris, the Laeiszhalle Hamburg and festivals such as Salzburg, Verbier, Schleswig-Holstein, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Rheingau, Saint Petersburg white Nights and many others.
The Jerusalem Quartet records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi. The quartet's recordings, particularly the albums featuring Haydn's string quartets and Schubert's "Death and the Maiden", have been honored with numerous awards such as the Diapason d'Or, the BBC Music Magazine Award for chamber music, and the ECHO Classic. In 2018, the quartet will release two albums, the first will be released in February and feature Dvorak's String Quintet Op.97 and Sextet Op.48, and the second will include the celebrated quartets of Ravel and Debussy. In the 2017/18 season, alongside its regular programs, the ensemble will present a celebration of Dvorak's chamber music in collaboration with artists such as Gary Hoffman and Yura Lee.
The season's European tours will bring them to cities including Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Florence, Madrid, and Munich. After touring Asia in January, the quartet will visit North America with concerts in Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, and Montreal, among others.
New Zealand String Quartet
Celebrating its 30th season in 2017, the New Zealand String Quartet (NZSQ) has been the Quartet in Residence for all nine Adam Festivals.
The NZSQ has an international reputation for its insightful interpretations, compelling communication and dynamic performing style; along with its imaginative programming and powerful connection with audiences of all kinds.
Over the decades the Quartet has cultivated a rich repertoire, including a wide variety of New Zealand music, composers' cycles from Beethoven to Bartok, Mozart to Berg, in addition to theatrical presentations on musical topics ranging from Haydn’s Seven Last Words to Janacek's Kreutzer Sonata.
The group's extensive discography includes all the quartets by Mendelssohn, Bartok and Berg, many New Zealand compositions, works by Ravel, Debussy, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak, Wolf, and the premiere recording of the remarkable Zoltan Szekely quartet.
In 2011 the Atoll Records’ release Notes from a Journey, a collection of works by New Zealand composers, won Classical Recording of the Year at the NZ Music Awards. The NZSQ’s most recent recordings on the Naxos label include Asian Music for String Quartet and a disc featuring the complete chamber works for strings by Douglas Lilburn. Their current project, also for Naxos, includes all the Brahms string quartets as well as his string and clarinet quintets.
Acclaimed performances in London's Wigmore Hall and the City of London Festival, in New York at the Frick Collection, and in Washington's Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium have led to regular touring in the UK, Europe and North America. The Quartet has also toured in Mexico, Curaçao, Japan, Korea, and China. They formed a ground-breaking collaboration with the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra, China's foremost traditional instrument ensemble, touring a programme of seven new works by Chinese and New Zealand composers in both China and New Zealand.
The NZSQ is committed to the development of young musicians and composers through its work as Quartet in Residence at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University, where three of the members are Associate Professors. They also enjoy giving master classes worldwide and run the annual Adam Summer School for Chamber Music in Nelson.
Helene Pohl – first violin
In February 2017 Helene celebrates her 23d anniversary with the NZSQ as first violinist, and her ninth Adam Chamber Music Festival as co-artistic director. While she has always been a quartet fanatic at heart, she has not spurned other opportunities that came her way over the years, including concertmaster positions with the New World Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic and Nashua Symphony, and in recent years, concerto performances in various cities around New Zealand. In October 2016 she was honoured to be the dedicatee and first performer of the violin concerto by Louise Webster, In Hollowed Bone I Hear the Seas Roar. She has also twice been on the international jury of the Michael Hill Violin Competition.
Born in Ithaca, New York to German parents, Helene Pohl spent her childhood on both sides of the Atlantic. She began violin at age four with the Suzuki method. At 17 she began tertiary study at the Musikhochschule Cologne; continuing her studies with members of the Cleveland Quartet at the Eastman School of Music and at Indiana University with Josef Gingold.
As first violinist of the San Francisco based Fidelio String Quartet (1988-1993), Helene performed extensively in the USA, Germany, England, Italy and South America.
In 2014 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her outstanding services to music in New Zealand. Her extra-musical passions are family, tennis, Tai Chi, and surfing the web for recipes she never has time to make.
Monique Lapins – second violin
Monique Lapins began her violin studies at the age of six with the Suzuki method and continued her studies at the Australian National Academy of Music under William Hennessy, and at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music under Professor Qian Zhou.
As a chamber musician, she has twice been a finalist in the Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition and has participated in chamber music programmes and festivals in France, the Czech Republic, Holland, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia and at the prestigious Open Chamber Music Seminars in Prussia Cove in the UK.
A former Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Monique has toured extensively in collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed under the baton of Seiji Ozawa in Japan and under Philippe Herreweghe in France.
Monique took up her position in the New Zealand String Quartet in May 2016, replacing Doug Beilman who stepped down at the end of 2015. She plays a 1784 Storioni violin, generously loaned by David Duncan Craig and the Lily Duncan Trust.
Gillian Ansell - viola
Gillian Ansell was born in Auckland, New Zealand and began violin and piano lessons at an early age, making her concerto debut at 16 with the Auckland Symphonia (now the Auckland Philharmonia).
An Associated Board Scholarship to study violin, viola and piano took Gillian to the Royal College of Music in London where she won several prizes. She then took up a German Academic Exchange (DAAD) scholarship for further study in Germany at the Musikhochschule Cologne with Igor Ozim and the Amadeus Quartet.
After working professionally in London she returned to New Zealand in 1987 to become a founding member of the NZSQ. She was second violinist for two years before taking up the position of violist of the group. She has been co-artistic director of the Adam Festival since 2001.
In 2008, Gillian was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to music. In her spare time she enjoys movies, dinner parties, tramping and gardening.
Rolf Gjelsten - Cello
Rolf Gjelsten’s musical experiences began at the age of five in his native Victoria, Canada, performing folk songs from Norway taught to him by this Norwegian father, leader of a touring folk dance group. At the age of 10, Rolf began the accordion, joining his sisters playing Scandinavian music, and twice placed first in the U.S. Northwest Accordion Championships, playing classical repertoire. At the age of 13 he started cello with James Hunter and later Janos Starker, and made his concerto debut with the Victoria Symphony when he was 18.
At 22, he became the youngest member of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, returning a year later to North America to study intensively with Zara Nelsova. As a founding member of the Vermilion Quartet, he worked with the La Salle, Hungarian, Cleveland and Emerson String Quartets.
As a member of the Laurentian Quartet for almost a decade, he toured internationally, made numerous recordings, and taught cello at the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
From 1990 Rolf furthered his studies at Rutgers University with the great Casals protégé and Beaux-Arts Trio cellist Bernard Greenhouse, receiving his Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Rolf joined the New Zealand String Quartet in 1994 and was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2014. Rolf's is keen on running, tennis, getting tips from great soloists via Digital Concert Hall and repairing things around the house.
Rolf and Helene were married in 1995 and their son Peter is 13.
Dénes Varjon (Hungary)
His sensational technique, deep musicality, wide range of interest have made Dénes Várjon one of the most exciting and highly regarded participants of international musical life. He is a universal musician: excellent soloist, first-class chamber musician, artistic leader of festivals and highly sought after piano pedagogue.
Widely considered as one of the greatest chamber musicians, Dénes works regularly with pre-eminent partners such as Steven Isserlis, Tabea Zimmermann, Kim Kashkashian, Jörg Widmann, Leonidas Kavakos, András Schiff , Heinz Holliger, Miklós Perényi, Joshua Bell. As a soloist he is a guest at major concert series, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Konzerthaus and London’s Wigmore Hall.
He is frequently invited to work with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras (Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Russian National Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields). Among the conductors he has worked with are Sir Georg Solti, Sándor Végh, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, Heinz Holliger, Horst Stein, Leopold Hager, Zoltán Kocsis. Dénes appears regularly at leading international festivals from Marlboro to Salzburg and Edinburgh.
He also performs frequently with his wife Izabella Simon playing four hands and two pianos recitals together. In the past decade they organised and led several chamber music festivals, the most recent one being kamara.hu at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest.
Dénes has recorded for the Naxos, Capriccio and Hungaroton labels with critical acclaim. Teldec released his CD with Sándor Veress’s Hommage à Paul Klee (performed with András Schiff, Heinz Holliger and the Budapest Festival Orchestra). His recording Hommage à Géza Anda, (PAN-Classics Switzerland) made important international echoes. His solo CD with pieces of Berg, Janáček and Liszt was released in 2012 by ECM. In 2015 he recorded the Schumann piano concerto with the WDR Symphonieorchester and Heinz Holliger, and all five Beethoven piano concertos with Concerto Budapest and András Keller.
Dénes Várjon graduated from the Franz Liszt Music Academy in 1991, where his professors included Sándor Falvai, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. Parallel to his studies he was regular participant at international master classes with András Schiff. He won first prize at the Piano Competition of Hungarian Radio, at the Leó Weiner Chamber Music Competition in Budapest and at the Géza Anda Competition in Zurich.
He is professor at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest and was awarded with the Liszt and Sándor Veress Prize.
Anthony Marwood (UK)
British violinist Anthony Marwood is known worldwide as an artist of exceptional expressive force. His energetic and collaborative nature places him in great demand as soloist/director with orchestras worldwide. He is Principal Artistic Partner of the celebrated Canadian chamber orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, a post he took up in 2015. In the 16/17 season, he was Artist in Residence at the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. His eminence as a soloist has brought him to work with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Sir Andrew Davis, Thomas Søndergård, David Robertson, Gerard Korsten, Ilan Volkov, Jaime Martin, Bernard Labadie and Douglas Boyd.
In recent years, engagements have included the Boston Symphony, St Louis Symphony and Vienna Radio Symphony, as well as the New Zealand and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Last season included performances of Kurt Weill’s concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia, play/direct projects with the Aurora Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall and with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, a return to the Amsterdam Sinfonietta for a tour of the Netherlands, and a performance of Brahms’s Double Concerto with Alexander Rudin and Musica Viva Moscow.
Marwood is a renowned champion of contemporary music, alongside more traditional repertoire. Among those new works composed for him is Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto “Concentric Paths”. Marwood first performed the work in Berlin and at the BBC Proms with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe conducted by the composer, following these performances with many national premieres around the globe and a release on EMI in 2010; last season, he performed it with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Andrew Manze. Also composed for Marwood were Steven Mackey’s “Four Iconoclastic Episodes”, premiered in 2009 with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and Sally Beamish’s 1995 violin concerto, premiered by Marwood with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins. The most recent work written for Marwood is Samuel Adams’ Violin Concerto, premiered in 2014 by the Berkeley Symphony in California under Joana Carneiro to critical acclaim.
The 17/18 season includes a tour with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, play/direct engagements with the Sydney Symphony and Tapiola Sinfonietta in Helsinki, debuts with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra (Adès concerto) and Jacksonville Symphony (Berg) and two concerto appearances with the Chamber Orchestra of Paris (Beethoven and Berg).
As a chamber musician, Marwood is a frequent participant at major chamber music festivals, with recent appearances including Vinterfest in Sweden, the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival and Bridgehampton Festival in New York. His recital partners include pianist Aleksandar Madžar, with whom he toured the US last season, and accordionist James Crabb, with whom he appeared at Wigmore Hall in 2015. Marwood returns to the Wigmore Hall in the current season to join musical colleagues for the octets of Mendelssohn and Enescu.
Anthony Marwood’s most recent release – his 50th on the Hyperion label – is a recording of Walton’s Violin Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins. The disc has received critical acclaim, including a 5-star review in The Guardian and Classical Source and a ‘Recommended Recording’ in The Strad Magazine, whilst the Sunday Times hailed Marwood as “a thrilling, virtuosic soloist”. Other recent releases for Hyperion include Schumann’s late works for violin and orchestra and Britten’s Violin and Double Concertos, both with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Marwood’s recording of Schumann’s violin sonatas, recorded with Aleksandar Madžar on the award-winning Wigmore Live label, was described by International Record Review as “exemplary in every way”, and followed on from the duo’s acclaimed recording of the Brahms violin sonatas on the same label.
Another facet of Marwood’s career is genre-bending presentations, such as the Academy of St Martin in the Fields’ fully-staged production of Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale”, in which Marwood acted the role of the Soldier and played the violin part. He also enjoyed a successful collaboration with award-winning Indian classical dancer Mayuri Boonham.
Born in London, Anthony Marwood studied with Emanuel Hurwitz at the Royal Academy of Music, David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music, and took lessons from Sándor Végh and Daniel Phillips at IMS Prussia Cove. He was named Instrumentalist of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2006 and was the violinist of the Florestan Trio for sixteen years. He is co-Artistic Director of the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival in East Sussex, performs annually at the Yellow Barn Festival in Vermont, and enjoys a close association with the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. Marwood was appointed a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music in 2013. He was appointed an MBE in the 2018 Queen's New Year's Honours List. He plays a 1736 Carlo Bergonzi violin, kindly bought by a syndicate of purchasers.
Nikki Chooi (Canada)
Canadian Violinist, Nikki Chooi has been described as “richly expressive and technically assured” (Calgary Herald) and “vigorous and colorful” (New York Times).
Nikki is a First Prize Winner of the 2013 Michael Hill Internationaly Violin Competition and the 2009 Klein International Competition, a Laureate of the 2012 Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition, and a winner of the 2013 Astral Artists' Auditions.
His Concerto Engagements in recent years have included performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Victoria Symphony, the Edmonton Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, the Peninsula Symphony, the Santa Cruz Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, the West Virginia Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, the Auckland Philharmonia, and the St.Petersburg State Symphony in Russia.
His Recital Engagements have included: the Vancouver Recital Series, Debut Atlantic Canada Recital Tour, Canadian National Arts Debut Series, Caramoor Rising Stars Series in New York, Chamber Music Tulsa, Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, La Monnai "Concertini" in Belgium, Chicago’s Harris Theatre, Australia's Musica Viva, and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.
Passionate in Chamber Music as well, Nikki has performed in many international festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the Dresden Music Festival in Germany, Montreal Chamber Fest, Chamber Music Northwest, Napa Valley’s Music from the Vineyards, and Music from Angel Fire. He has collaborated in performances with Pamela Frank, Gary Graffman, Kim Kashkashian and with members of the Guarneri String Quartet, Juilliard String Quartet, Vermeer String Quartet, Orion String Quartet. In 2009, Nikki was a core member of the Curtis on Tour to Europe ensemble performing with Roberto Diaz and Robert MacDonald and in 2014, he toured with Musicians from Marlboro. He frequently performs with his violinist brother, Timothy Chooi.
He has served as Concertmaster of New York's Metropolitan Opera Orchestra during the 2016/2017 season and has appeared as Guest Concertmaster with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Houston Symphony, and the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra.
During the 2015-2016 season, Nikki was a member of the genre-breaking ensemble, Time for Three, performing internationally with highlights in Barbados, Grand Teton, La Jolla SummerFest, and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
More guests will be announced on 1st September 2018