ABOUT US

CASSATT STRING QUARTET
ensemble

 

 

Left to right: Gwen Krosnick, cello; Muneko Otani, violin; Jennifer Leshnower, violin; Rosemary Nelis, viola
Photo: Dario Acosta

 

Hailed for their “mighty rapport and relentless commitment” (Jay Harvey Upstage, 2021), the New York City-based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout the world, with appearances at Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; Tanglewood Music Center; the Kennedy Center; Théâtre des Champs-Élysées; Centro National de las Artes; Maeda Hall; and Beijing Central Conservatory. At the Library of Congress, the Cassatts performed on the Library’s matched quartet of Stradivarius instruments.

The Cassatt’s upcoming projects include premiere performances and recordings of works by Daniel S. Godfrey, Dylan Schneider, Gerald Cohen, and Shirish Korde; collaborations with Ursula Oppens, Eliot Fisk, Oskar Espina Ruíz, Colin Williams, and Narek Arutyunian; their annual residencies in Texas and Maine; hometown concerts in the New York City area; and appearances at Music Mountain, Treetops Chamber Music Society, Maverick Concerts, and Jordan Hall.

Alex Ross has named the Cassatt Quartet’s work three times in his “10 Best Classical Recordings” roundup in The New Yorker Magazine. The group’s prolific discography of over forty recordings includes new quartets by Steven Stucky, Daniel S. Godfrey, Sebastian Currier, and Samuel Adler. They have recorded for the Koch, Naxos, New World, Point, CRI, Tzadik, and Albany labels.

The quartet has been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today,” WGBH Boston, WQXR and WNYC of New York, Canada’s CBC Radio, and Radio France. They have appeared in numerous virtual concert series and performances across online platforms.

Formed in 1985 with the encouragement of the Juilliard Quartet, the Cassatt String Quartet served as the inaugural participants in Juilliard’s Graduate String Quartet Residency. They have received major awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the USArtists International, Chamber Music America, CMA/ASCAP, Banff International String Quartet Competition, Fischoff and Coleman Chamber Music Association, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Meet the Composer, and the Amphion, Copland, Fromm and Alice M. Ditson Music Foundations. Since 1995, the ensemble has been on the performing artist roster for the New York State Council on the Arts.

The CSQ has played nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. The New York Times praised their “bold and probing account” of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 (Anthony Tommasini, 2015). Concerto Net wrote: "Wherever one encounters the Cassatt Quartet...one is astonished both at their prowess and their unfailing inspiration” (2018). SoundWordSight praised their "wonderful performance, with a beautifully integrated sound” (Jeffrey James, 2017); and Jay Harvey said their “performance’s rapturous reception by the large audience was both predictable and well-deserved” (Jay Harvey Upstage, 2021).

The Cassatt Quartet is deeply committed to nurturing young musicians, and has given classes for composers and performers at the American Academy in Rome; the Toho School in Tokyo; the Bowdoin International Music Festival; Columbia, Cornell, Princeton and Syracuse Universities; and the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1995, the CSQ has been in residence at the Seal Bay Festival of Contemporary American Chamber Music in Maine; and, since 2005, at Cassatt in the Basin!, an annual educational residency in Odessa, Texas.

The Cassatt Quartet is noted for its brilliance in both contemporary and traditional repertoire, and has collaborated with members of the Tokyo, Cleveland and Vermeer Quartets; pianists Ursula Oppens and Marc-André Hamelin; clarinetist David Shifrin, flutist Ransom Wilson, jazz pianist Fred Hersch, and didgeridoo player Simon 7; the Trisha Brown Dance Company; and composers Louis Andriessen, Kaija Saariaho, Joan Tower, John Corigliano, Tania León, Shulamit Ran, and Augusta Read Thomas.

Named for the Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, the quartet consists of violinists Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower; violist Rosemary Nelis; and cellist Gwen Krosnick.