The 9th Biennial Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition for Young Professionals will be held on April 4, 2020 at 1 p.m. at The Avalon Theatre in Easton, Maryland. Five ensembles will compete for the $10,000 Lerman Gold Prize and the $5,000 Silver Prize. Prizes are announced following the final performance after 9:00 pm. This year’s finalist ensembles include AYA Piano Trio of Philadelphia, PA; Colores Trio of Zurich, Switzerland; Dior Quartet of Bloomington, IN; Iceberg String Quartet of Montreal, Canada; and Soma Quartet of Bloomington, IN. The average age of an ensemble must be under 31, and some include members as young as 21. The ensembles represent a wide range of instrumental combinations including winds, strings, and mixed instruments, including percussion.
Based in Philadelphia, the AYA Piano Trio was formed in 2013 by three students at the Curtis Institute of Music. The trio has performed extensively across the United States, and in 2018 they were semifinalists in both the M Prize Chamber Arts Competition and the Fischoff Competition. They were also winners of the 2018 Young Chamber Musicians Competition in North Carolina, where they were invited for a residency of recordings and concerts and made their New York City debut in 2019 at the Mannes New School Concert Series. Follow them on Facebook @AYAPianoTrio.
After meeting at Zurich University of the Arts, Colores Trio (colorestrio.ch) formed in 2017 to explore a rich and varied repertoire of both contemporary compositions and new arrangements of classical works, played with enthusiasm and joy. The musicians, who are from Switzerland and Austria, study under Klaus Schwaerzler (solo percussionist of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich), Benjamin Forster (solo timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic) and Raphael Christen (Yamaha marimba artist and soloist). They won the Jury and Audience Award at the 2019 Chamber Music Competition of the Migros-Kulturprozent in Zurich, received a Special Prize at the 2019 International Anton Rubinstein Competition in Dusseldorf, and were silver medal winners at the 3rd Berliner Competition in Berlin.
Hailing from Israel, Canada, Brazil, and the US, the members of Dior Quartet formed their ensemble at Indiana University in Fall 2018 and won the Bronze Medal at the 2019 Fischoff National Chamber Competition (Senior Division). They have also won first prize at the 9th Plowman Chamber Music Competition (Senior Strings), first prize at the 2019 Kuttner Quartet Competition, and runner-up at the Beethoven-Haus Competition at the Jacobs School of Music, as well as held the 2019 Fellowship String Quartet at Wintergreen Summer Music Festival in Virginia. They are currently the new Kuttner Quartet, the student string quartet-in-residence at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Follow them on Facebook @ diorquartet.
The Iceberg String Quartet (icebergstringquartet.com) was formed in September 2017 at the McGill University Schulich School of Music in Montreal, Quebec and won the grand prize at the McGill University Chamber Music Competition. They were invited to study and perform at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Netherlands in April 2018, where they worked closely with Asdis Valdimarsdottir of the Miami String Quartet. In July 2018 they were chosen for the “Evolution of the String Quartet” study and performance program at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada.
Based in Bloomington, IN, Soma Quartet (somaquartet.com) was formed at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the guidance of Otis Murphy. In addition to being the Grand Prize winners at the 2019 Plowman Chamber Music Competition, they were First Runner-Up in the 2018 Classic Alive Young Artist Competition; First Prize winners in the 2017 Chicago Woodwind Ensemble Competition; and were also finalists in the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition. The ensemble is committed to performing new works to expand quartet repertoire and has collaborated with several composers from Indiana University.
This year’s Competition judges include J. Lawrie Bloom, Ieva Jokubaviciute, and Michael Kannen. Bloom, founding artistic co-director of Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, plays clarinet and bass clarinet with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), is a senior lecturer in clarinet at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, and presents master classes all over the world. Lithuanian pianist Jokubaviciute’s performances have earned her critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and Europe on major stages around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and London’s Wigmore Hall. Her piano trio, Trio Cavatina, won the 2009 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition and made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2010. Cellist Kannen has appeared at chamber music festivals across the country and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He is currently a member of the Apollo Trio and is the Director of Chamber Music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he holds the Sidney Friedberg Chair in Chamber Music.
There will be Sunday afternoon concerts on April 5 following the Competition. Christ Church in Cambridge will feature Soma Quartet at 4:00 p.m.; Church of the Holy Trinity in Oxford will feature Iceberg String Quartet at 2:00 p.m.; St. Marks United Methodist Church in Easton will feature Colores Trio at 3:00 p.m.; Temple B’nai Israel in Easton will feature AYA Piano Trio at 1:00 p.m.; and Trinity Cathedral in Easton will feature Dior Quartet at 4:00 p.m.
The Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition, a program of Chesapeake Music, is underwritten by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, and private benefactors. The cost to attend the Competition on April 4 is $20 per person and it is free to students (with ID) and children. For further information about attending the Competition events, visit ChesapeakeMusic.org or call 410-819-0380.