Praised by the Baltimore Sun for combining “smoothly meshed technique with a sense of spontaneity and discovery,” the Aeolus Quartet is committed to presenting both time-seasoned masterworks and new cutting-edge works to widely diverse audiences with equal freshness, dedication, and fervor. Formed in 2008, the Quartet is comprised of violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Caitlin Lynch, and cellist Alan Richardson. The Aeolus 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). Mark Satola of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes, “The quartet has a rich and warm tone combined with precise ensemble playing (that managed also to come across as fluid and natural), and an impressive musical intelligence guided every technical and dramatic turn.” They were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, and they currently make their home in New York City.
In addition to extensive touring throughout the United States, the Quartet’s 2018-19 season includes an innovative interdisciplinary collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and dancers from the Mark Morris Dance Group, the iconic Schubert Cello Quintet with former Guarneri Quartet cellist Peter Wiley, a performance of Steve Reich’s Different Trains at Dupont Underground, the subterranean streetcar station in DC’s Dupont Circle, and a return to the Chamber Music Society of Detroit for a residency and performances with former principal clarinet of the Cleveland Orchestra, Franklin Cohen. The quartet will also give performances or engage in interactive residencies at Boston Conservatory, Cornell University, Trinity College, Miami University, and the New York Youth Symphony Composition Program, among others. In summer 2019, the Quartet will be featured at the Artosphere Festival presented by the Walton Arts Center.
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. Part of an ongoing series entitled Many-Sided Music, these albums promote the diversity and breadth of works by American composers. The next album in the Many-Sided Music series is slated for release in Spring 2019.
The Aeolus Quartet’s numerous honors include Grand Prize at both the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, as well as First Prize at the Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition. They were also prizewinners at the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition and the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The Austin Critics' Table named the Aeolus Quartet their 2016-17 "Best Touring Performance” for Rambunctious, a collaboration with Spectrum Dance Theater.
The Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. In addition, the quartet was recently featured on the hit Netflix show The Defenders.
Dedicated to sharing the joy of chamber music with audiences new to classical music, the Aeolus Quartet has been widely recognized for their highly creative and engaging outreach programs. In the 2015-2016 season, the Quartet was the recipient of a CMA Residency Partnership Grant. In recognition of Aeolus' artistic achievement, CMA awarded the project with the title of “Guarneri Quartet Residency” for 2016. The residency promoted engagement with multiple interactive performances at Duke Ellington School for the Arts, the Sitar Arts Center, and George Washington University. The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association awarded the Quartet 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, Point CounterPoint, and the Chloe Trevor Music Academy. 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. Through their multiple residencies with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit alone, the Aeolus Quartet has reached over 18,000 students in the greater Detroit metro area.
The Aeolus Quartet has been fortunate to collaborate with many of today’s leading artists, including Renee Fleming, Ida Kavafian, Joel Krosnick, Peter Wiley, Michael Tree, and Paul Neubauer. They studied extensively with the Juilliard, Guarneri, St. Lawrence, Cavani, and Miró Quartets. Other mentors include Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, Itzhak Perlman, and Mark Steinberg. Members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Juilliard School, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Maryland, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Aeolus is the ensemble-in-residence with Musica Viva NY and the New Orchestra of Washington (DC). Thanks to the generosity of the Five Partners Foundation, the four members play on a set of instruments by famed Brooklyn luthier Samuel Zygmuntowicz. 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 craft.