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IU Jacobs School of Music student quartets win grand prize and two medals at Fischoff Competition

May 11, 2015 

The Zora String Quartet

The Zorá String Quartet

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Two student quartets from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music won three coveted awards from the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the largest chamber music competition in the world, in Notre Dame, Ind., this past weekend.

The Zorá String Quartet, coached by the Pacifica Quartet, the Jacobs School’s quartet-in-residence, won the competition’s Grand Prize as well as the Gold Medal in the Senior String Division. Members include Dechopol Kowintaweewat and Seula Lee, violin; Pablo Muñoz Salido, viola; and Zizai Ning, cello.

“The Pacifica is so proud of our chamber groups and of how much they have grown and how hard they work,” said Sibbi Bernhardsson, Pacifica Quartet member and professor of violin.

The Kenari Quartet, coached by Otis Murphy, brought home the Silver Medal in the Senior Wind Division. Kenari members are Bob Eason, soprano saxophone; Kyle Baldwin, alto saxophone; Corey Dundee, tenor saxophone; and Steven Banks, baritone saxophone.

“I awoke at 2 a.m. here in Japan to watch Kenari’s live-streamed performance, and I was so excited with how they played,” said Murphy, professor of saxophone. “Kenari also won the Silver Medal at Fischoff in 2013. I am so proud of them to be able to return to the competition again this year and to deliver excellent performances.”

In addition to prize money for both ensembles, the Zorá Quartet will participate in a winner's tour of the Midwestern United States this fall and perform several concerts in the Emilia Romagna Festival in Italy in 2016.

The Kenari Quartet

The Kenari Quartet

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Forty-nine ensembles from across the nation and around the world competed in Fischoff this year. The annual competition, which features wind and string categories of three to six performers, is the only national chamber music competition with both senior divisions (ages 18-35) and a junior division (age 18 and younger). Since its founding, more than 6,600 musicians have participated, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in music performance and education.

About the Zorá String Quartet

The Zorá String Quartet was formed in 2012 at the Jacobs School of Music and collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Caroline Shaw to perform her works with NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble in fall 2013. In spring 2014, the quartet won an audition for a one-week residency to perform and study Beethoven’s manuscripts at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany. The group participated at the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies of the Aspen Music Festival in summer 2014 and worked intensively with Earl Carlyss, former second violinist of the Juilliard, Takacs, Pacifica and American String quartets. Last month, Zorá won the Coleman-Barstrow Prize for Strings at the 69th Annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. Learn more about the Zorá String Quartet.

About the Kenari Quartet

The Kenari Quartet aims to use the versatility of the saxophone to present music from a wide range of genres. The members of the group come from varied musical backgrounds, which allows the ensemble to have a unique voice that is well informed by all periods of classical music as well as jazz, soul and other genres. The quartet formed in fall 2012 at the Jacobs School of Music, where all four members study with Murphy. While at IU, the Kenari Quartet has also earned top prizes in the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition, Plowman Chamber Music Competition, Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition and the Coleman Chamber Music Competition. Learn more about the Kenari Quartet.