Praised by Strad Magazine for their “high-octane” performance, the Aeolus Quartet is among the finest young string quartets performing today. Violinists Nicholas Tavani
and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson formed the
Aeolus Quartet in 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since its inception, the
all-American quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the
United States and performed across the globe with showings "worthy of a major-league
quartet" (Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News). Luke Quinton of the Austin-American
Statesman writes, “The Aeolus Quartet is a powerful and thoughtful group of young
musicians who are plotting an ascending course…this vibrant group shows great
promise.” They are currently the Graduate Quartet in Residence at the Juilliard School.
The Aeolus Quartet are Grand Prizewinners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They were awarded First Prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, a Silver Medal at the 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and a Bronze Medal at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The 16th Annual Austin Critics' Table named the Aeolus Quartet their 2010-2011 "Best Ensemble." The Aeolus Quartet has released two critically acclaimed albums of classical and contemporary works through the Longhorn/Naxos label which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide.
The Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia in venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, Merkin Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.
Dedicated to bringing music into the community, the Aeolus Quartet has been widely recognized for their highly innovative and engaging outreach programs. The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association awarded the Aeolus their 2013 Educator Award in acknowledgment of the positive impact their educational efforts have had in diverse communities. Additionally, they were awarded the 2012 Lad Prize which culminated in large-scale community engagement work, performing in the Stanford area, and a masterclass residency at Stanford University. The Aeolus Quartet has also served as teaching faculty at Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY), the Austin Chamber Music Workshop, and Da Camera of Houston's Music Encounters Program. Working in collaboration with the University of Texas through the Rural Chamber Music Outreach Initiative, the Quartet has presented educational programs and performances in communities throughout the state of Texas.
The Aeolus Quartet has studied extensively with the Miró, Guarneri, and Juilliard Quartets. Other mentors include artists such as William Preucil, Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, Itzhak Perlman, Gerhard Schulz, and Mark Steinberg. Members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin, where they served as the first Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence.
The Quartet's 2013-2014 season includes multiple performances on the Smithsonian Institute’s rare instrument collection, an educational tour of the Midwest in conjunction with the Fischoff Competition, concert touring throughout the United States, and residencies in North Carolina and at the Austin Chamber Music Center’s Summer Festival.
The Quartet is named for the Greek god Aeolus, who governed the four winds. This idea of a single spirit uniting four individual forces serves as an inspiration to the members of the Aeolus Quartet as they pursue their art.
Lauded by the Washington Post for his “brilliant musicianship,” violinist Nicholas Tavani debuted in Washington, D.C.’s Gaston Hall at the age of eight. As a chamber musician, recitalist, and concerto soloist, Mr. Tavani has performed extensively to critical acclaim in the United States and around the world. As first violinist of the Aeolus Quartet, he was a winner of the 2011 Plowman International Chamber Music Competition, the 2011 Yellow Springs Chamber Music competition, and the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Music Competition. He is also a laureate of the Postacchini and Kingsville International Violin Competitions.
A passionate advocate of new music, Mr. Tavani has premiered and recorded several works by living composers, including Samuel Adler, Alexandra Bryant, Christopher Theofanidis, and Dan Visconti. His discography includes two albums with the Aeolus Quartet in wide release on the Longhorn/Naxos label. Performances with orchestra include the Aspen Festival Orchestra, Prince William Symphony, Little River Symphony, Masterworks Festival Orchestra, Austin Chamber Music Festival Orchestra, CIM Chamber Orchestra, and many others. Collaborations include Peter Salaff, Ieva Jokubaviciute, Daxun Zhang, and Michael Tree.
Mr. Tavani’s current season includes sonata performances at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC and WCR Concert Hall in New York, concertos in Virginia and Massachusetts, extensive touring across the US and Canada with the Aeolus Quartet, and serving as teaching assistant to the Juilliard Quartet at the Juilliard School, where the Aeolus Quartet is currently Graduate Quartet in Residence. An alumnus of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Nicholas studied violin with William Preucil and chamber music with Peter Salaff and the Cavani Quartet. In addition to a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from CIM, Nicholas also studied mathematical physics at Case Western Reserve University.
Rachel Kitagawa Shapiro
Rachel Kitagawa Shapiro, born in Reading, PA, has been a member of the Aeolus Quartet since its inception in 2006. Presently pursuing a Master of Music degree as part of the graduate quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin, Ms. Shapiro studies with Sandy Yamamoto and Daniel Ching of the Miro Quartet. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2009 under the tutelage of Linda Cerone and David Russell.
At the age of 15, Ms. Shapiro performed with the Reading Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sidney Rothstein as a winner of the Reading Symphony Orchestra League's Annual Concerto Competition. She has also performed as soloist with the Lower Merion Symphony. The first prize recipient of the 2005 Atonement Bach Scholarship Competition, Ms. Shapiro was also awarded the Samuel L. Correnti Scholarship by the Reading Musical Foundation. Ms. Shapiro has been a member of the Pennsylvania All State Orchestra, in addition to serving as concertmistress of the Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra. She is an alumna of the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, where she was awarded an Advanced Study Scholarship for String Quartet. Having held the position of concertmistress of the Settlement Chamber Orchestra, Ms. Shapiro appeared with this ensemble on a broadcast of NPR's "From the Top" radio show in 2005.
She has spent summers at the Aspen Music Festival and School, International Music Academy of Pilsen, Czech Republic, ENCORE School for Strings, Meadowmount School of Music, and Interlochen Arts Camp. Ms. Shapiro's past teachers include Yumi Ninomiya Scott and Yayoi Numazawa of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has performed in masterclasses for such distinguished artists as Joel Smirnoff, Charles Castleman and Sherry Kloss.
Gregory Luce is currently a doctoral fellowship student studying with Katherine Murdock (formerly of the Mendelssohn Quartet) at the University of Maryland at College Park. Mr. Luce has performed in the Akron and Mansfield Symphonies, the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, and as the associate principal violist of the Erie Philharmonic from 2007-2009. He has performed at festivals in Austria, England, Hungary, Germany, Canada, and the United States, and has premiered dozens of pieces in varied ensembles across the United States, with concert venues including the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Severance Hall and the Meyerhoff Concert Hall in Baltimore. As an educator he is also in demand, having been invited to coach, teach privately, and perform at numerous festivals such as the Interlochen Summer Arts Academy and the Austin Chamber Music Center’s Summer Workshop.
Mr. Luce has enjoyed an ongoing working relationship with the Conspirare Symphonic Choir of Austin, TX since 2011. Following a performance alongside them in January of 2011, the concert was hailed by National Public Radio as being “dreamlike…uncanny.” The same concert was reviewed by Brett Campbell of the Wall Street Journal, who called the performance “a powerful new achievement in American music that vividly traces a journey from despair to transcendence.
Mr. Luce graduated from the Peabody Conservatory initially (B.M.), where he studied with Stephen Wyrczynski of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Victoria Chiang, and afterwards graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music (M.M.), where he studied with Mark Jackobs of the Cleveland Orchestra. As a member of the Aeolus Quartet, Mr. Luce was honored to be in the first graduate string quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Artist Diploma with high honors while studying with John Largess of the Miró Quartet. Before entering Peabody, he was principal violist of the Memphis Youth Symphony for three years, in which he won the concerto competition in 2000. Mr. Luce was awarded the first two Viola Assistant Fellowships to attend the MasterWorks Festival in 2007 and 2008, and was invited by the same festival to attend Recreatio, a week-long arts summit in Winchester, England.
Since 2008 he has been violist of the Aeolus Quartet, top strings prize winners of the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, First Prize winners of the 2011 Plowman and Yellow Springs Competitions, and silver medalist of the Fischoff Competition’s Senior String division, as well as bronze medalists at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall. Following their performance in Trondheim’s International Chamber Music Competition of 2009, they were praised by Strad magazine for their “high-octane performance,” with Mr. Luce receiving particular note as being “especially enjoyable.”
A founding member of the Aeolus Quartet, Alan Richardson is a student in the Masters of Music program at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies with Joshua Gindele of the Miró Quartet. Mr. Richardson is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree and studied with Melissa Kraut and Richard Aaron.
At the age of 16, Mr. Richardson performed as principal cellist of the Virginia All State Orchestra. He also served as principal cellist of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra for three years, and performed with the National High School Honors Orchestra in 2005. As a winner of the 2005 Richmond Symphony Concerto Competition, Mr. Richardson performed as soloist with the Richmond Symphony. Mr. Richardson is an alumnus of the Arcato School of Chamber Music in Richmond, VA, where he studied with James Wilson, formerly of the Shanghai Quartet. Additionally, he coached with members of the Shanghai Quartet and pianist Joanne Kong at the University of Richmond.
As a member of the Aeolus Quartet, Mr. Richardson has premiered works by Evan Premo, Alexandra Bryant, and Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin. He has also performed new works by San Francisco based composer Gabriela Lena Frank for the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia.
Festivals in which Mr. Richardson has participated include the Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland International Chamber Music Course, Aspen Music Festival and School, ENCORE School for Strings, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Meadowmount Music Festival, and Eastern Music Festival. Mr. Richardson has also performed in master classes for cellists David Hardy, Sharon Robinson, Alisa Weilerstein, Clancy Newman, Zuill Bailey, and many others. His past teachers include Neal Cary, James Wilson, Hannah Holman, and Joseph Wargo.