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Maureen Nelson, 1st violin
John Marcus, 2nd violin
Melissa Reardon, viola
Richard Belcher, cello

Since its inception in 1999 the United States based Ensō String Quartet has been acclaimed for their performances in major concert halls throughout the Americas and Europe. It was “standing room only”, wrote the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and commenting on the dynamism of the group, the Ann Arbor News declared their playing “crisp, incisive…with just the right quotient of sass.” The Strad applauded them for their “lyricism, style and expression as well as sophistication” and the Washington Post noted their “glorious sonorities…thrillingly athletic performance.” In addition to audience appreciation and critical acclaim, the Ensō String Quartet has earned its place in the ensemble world claiming multiple honors at the 2004 Banff International String Quartet Competition, including the prize for Best Performance of the commissioned Piece-de-Concert, and victories at the 2003 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition.

The Ensō String Quartet’s members are sought after as teachers and performers of new music, and they have given world premiere performances of numerous works, including Joan Tower’s Piano Quintet with the composer at the piano.  The quartet has held residencies with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Houston-based new music ensemble, Musiqa, Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, the Interlochen Adult Amateur Chamber Music Camp, and Connecticut’s Music For Youth program.

The Ensō String Quartet has been featured in the American Ensembles column of Chamber Music magazine and their live performances have been broadcast on PBS, Chicago’s WFMT, Wisconsin Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio’s Saint Paul Sunday program, Houston’s KUHF, Australia’s ABC Classic FM, Radio New Zealand and Canada’s CBC radio.

The Ensō String Quartet formed in 1999 while students at Yale University and completed graduate residencies at Northern Illinois University with the Vermeer Quartet and at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

The ensemble’s name, ensō, is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle which represents many things; perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void, the endless circle of life, and the fullness of the spirit.

For further information please visit www.Ensōquartet.com.

Photo courtesy of Richie Hawley

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