ALTIUS QUARTET is an ensemble determined to further the art of chamber music through performance, education, and outreach. Deriving their name from the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin for Faster, Higher, Stronger); Altius strives to communicate art to a more diverse audience through community engagement and innovative repertoire. Hailed as “rich” and “captivating” by the renowned music blog, “I Care If You Listen,” the Altius Quartet is garnering an international reputation and enrapturing the hearts of audiences through their charisma and dynamism.
As grand prize winners in the Classics Alive Young Artists Competition, Altius Quartet was awarded management with Executive Director, Jean Schreiber. Altius has also been awarded prizes at many internationally respected competitions including: the 2016 Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition, the 2014 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the 2014 Coltman Chamber Music Competition, and the 2013 Plowman Chamber Music Competition.
Formed in 2011 at Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts, Altius has just completed their tenure as Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where they were mentored by the renowned Takács Quartet. The quartet has an active performance schedule including engagements at music festivals, series, and universities throughout the United States including: Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Cincinnati, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and the Fayetteville Chamber Music Festival.During their tenure at Southern Methodist University, Altius Quartet served as Ensemble-in- Residence working closely with Matt Albert, Emanuel Borok, and Andres Diaz. In addition, Altius has worked with and been guided by many of the foremost artists in chamber music including the Emerson String Quartet, Miró Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, and Kronos Quartet. In addition, Altius has collaborated with many celebrated artists including Håkan Rosengren, Anton Nel, Andres Diaz, Peter Nágy, and Geraldine Walther.
Altius Quartet is deeply committed to outreach, often performing concerts and teaching master classes in public schools and alternative performing venues including: jazz clubs, bars, and cafes. In 2014, the quartet partnered with the Aspen Music Festival and School for annual educational outreach residencies. In addition, the quartet served as the 2014 fellowship quartet at the Music in the Mountains Conservatory in Durango, CO, where they had the opportunity to coach several young string quartets.
When not recording or performing, Altius Quartet enjoys experiencing the great outdoors and friendly rivalry in their Fantasy Football league.
The string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich play directly to the heart strings through their emotional candor, extensive color palette, and thoughtful musical gesture. We chose to record the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth String Quartets due to the fact that these in particular behold this vast range of emotion, color, and passion. These quartets were very important to Shostakovich and were unofficially dubbed his “personal” quartets. They are known as such because each one was dedicated to a person with whom he had a close relationship. The Seventh was dedicated to his first wife, Nina Vasilyevna Varza, the Eighth the victims of fascism and the war, including himself as a victim, and the Ninth was dedicated to his third wife, Irina Antonovna Shostakovich. These quartets are also very personal to us in the fact that through studying these works, they have helped shape who we are as artists and as a string quartet.
We view these quartets as a triptych of vignettes into the life of Shostakovich. He wrote each of these works during a very tumultuous time in history -- directly after World War II when art was often oppressed. These works are transcendent in their ability to communicate and enrapture through their overarching scheme that leads one to believe that they are representative of something deeper. In our opinion, these works were meant to be performed together and fit into an arc of birth, death, and revival. The Seventh Quartet in F-sharp Minor is a tempestuous work that is manic in its emotional states. The Eighth Quartet in C Minor is a dark, brooding work that was written in response to the atrocities committed during World War II. The Ninth Quartet in E-flat Major is a work that begins in the bleak darkness and breaks free, triumphantly into the light. Even though these works revolve around a concentric idea of struggle and plight, the final thought is of hope and enlightenment.
We would like to give a special thank you to our dear friend, William Anzalone, for allowing us to use his wonderful piece
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