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Contrasts Quartet



Acclaimed for their exhilarating performances of old and new repertoire, the Contrasts Quartet is a group of four extraordinary virtuosi whose instruments include clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The group chose its name to describe the contrasting timbres of their instruments, as well as the variety of their repertoire. The ensemble performs a mix of duos, trios and quartets, presenting innovative and entertaining programming designed to appeal to a broad range of audiences. The Contrasts Quartet has worked with many living composers and has commissioned and premiered works of Aaron Jay Kernis, Michael Torke, Ned Rorem, Scott Johnson and Derek Bermel, among others.

The Quartet has been invited to perform in Europe and across the United States. Concert appearances have included performances at Carnegie's Weill Hall, Merkin Hall and live appearances on New York's WNYC Radio and the nationally syndicated St. Paul Sunday radio program. Their concert tours have taken them from San Francisco to Spain. The ensemble has also been invited to participate in many residencies, including Norfolk Summer Festival in Connecticut, the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, Music in the Park Series in St. Paul, Minnesota, Penn State/Erie, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Bowdoin College in Maine. This season, the Quartet won a prestigious Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Program Grant to give a series of lectures and concerts at Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg Public Library and the Fitchburg Public Schools in Massachusetts.

The group, on the Phoenix USA label, has recorded a CD of the works of Aaron Jay Kernis, which includes all premiere recordings. Two additional CDs, of the works of Aaron Jay Kernis and of Ned Rorem, are to be released on Arabesque Recordings. The Ensemble has been honored with awards and grants from the American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, the Fromm Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and Chamber Music America.

Pianist Evelyne Luest, wife of composer Aaron Jay Kernis, is an accomplished soloist and chamber musician and has performed and toured in Europe, South America, Asia and the U.S.A. She has won awards from the Artists International Competition in New York and the Coleman Chamber Music Competition in Los Angeles with the Bay Piano Trio. Ms. Luest has performed as soloist at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy and on the St. Paul Sunday National Radio Show. Her list of premieres includes compositions by Joan Tower, Virgil Thomson, Aaron Jay Kernis, Michael Torke, Ben Weber and Ralf Yttrehus. Ms. Luest's recent CD releases include solo and chamber works on CRI, Phoenix Records, North/South Recordings, and North Pacific Music. She studied with Gilbert Kalish at SUNY/Stony Brook, where she received an M.M. and D.M.A. in piano performance.

Violinist Monica Bauchwitz spent several years in Europe, performing and touring in such groups as l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland and the Esbjerg Ensemble - the national Danish chamber group. She also appeared as soloist with orchestras in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Upon returning to the United States, she became a founder of SONYC - the conductorless String Orchestra of New York City. As an avid chamber musician, Ms. Bauchwitz founded "Concerts in the Heights" - a chamber music series that brings world-class performers together for performance and educational projects. Ms. Bauchwitz has taught at the Conservatory of Western Denmark and presently at the French-American Conservatory. Later this season, she will be the featured soloist in the Mendelssohn d minor Violin Concerto in Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall.

Ariane Lallemand has given solo performances with the Jupiter Symphony, the Nevers Philharmonic and the La Follia Chamber Orchestra. An active chamber musician and new music enthusiast, she has appeared at Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie's Weill Hall in New York and has participated in festivals in France, the United States and the Czech Republic. She is a regular guest with the Ensemble Intercontemporain with Pierre Boulez and plays in New York with the St. Luke's Orchestra and the SEM Ensemble. Born in Besançon, France, she has studied at the Paris Conservatoire and the Freiburg Musikhochschule. Awards include the Lavoisier French Ministry of Culture Award and prizes in the UFAM, Mendelssohn, Cologna, Five Towns, Epernay and Mannes cello competitions. Since 2000, she has performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group. She is on the faculty of the French-American Conservatory.

Clarinetist Ayako Oshima has won numerous international competitions, including the Japan Music Competition in Tokyo, the Winds and Percussion Competition in Japan and the International Jeumesses Musicales Competition in Belgrade, where she also received the "Golden Harp" Award, given to the favorite of the audience and critics. She has performed as soloist with the Hiroshima and Osaka Symphonies and with the Jupiter Symphony in New York City. She has participated in the Sarasota Summer Music Festival in Florida, the Festival Consonances in France and the Kirishima Music Festival in Japan. Ms. Oshima received clarinet training in France, from the Toho School of music, and as a "special student" at the Eastman School of Music. She is on the faculties of The Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Purchase. With her husband, Charles Neidich, she has written a book on the basics of clarinet technique for the publisher, Toa Ongaku.