Considered one of the country’s “most accomplished young ensembles,” the Enso String Quartet is known for its dynamic and challenging repertoire and thrilling performance style. Dedicated to furthering the boundaries of chamber music, the quartet has, since its inception, embraced both the classics of the string quartet tradition and broken new musical ground by commissioning and showcasing new works by contemporary composers.
Consistently receiving high praise for their performances, the Enso Quartet’s recordings have established the ensemble as a one-to-watch. Raking in rave reviews for their “jaw-dropping prowess” and “edge-of-your-seat vitality,” the quartet was recently nominated for a GRAMMY Award in the “Best Chamber Music Performance” category for their collection of the quartets of Ginastera.
Formed at Yale University in 1999, the quartet members (Maureen Nelson, violin; John Marcus, violin; Melissa Reardon, viola; Richard Belcher, cello) are all sought-after teachers and chamber music mentors who have studied and held residencies at prestigious institutions around the world including Julliard, Rice University, Boston University and the New England Conservatory. Their passion for music and music education is expressed through the guidance and inspiration that they provide through a variety of outreach programs aimed at introducing young musicians and audiences to string music.
Taking its name from a Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things to them, from perfection and creation, to imperfection, the void, chaos and the cycles of life, the Enso String Quartet is a juxtaposition of grace and abandon, beauty and death. It embraces challenging pieces that bring to light “incredibly heavy themes” including war, the struggles of humanity and the Holocaust with a keen focus and vast intellectual capacity, and also provides audiences with a counterweight of accessible string compositions that audiences of all ages and levels of exposure can enjoy.
The Enso String Quartet performs at Montalvo’s Historic Villa on Sunday, April 10.