Distinguished by its virtuosity, probing musical insight, and impassioned, fiery performances, the Ariel Quartet has garnered critical praise worldwide over the span of nearly two decades. Formed in Israel as teenagers at the Jerusalem Academy Middle School of Music and Dance and celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2020-21, the Ariel was named recipient of the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, granted by Chamber Music America in recognition of artistic achievement and career support. The ensemble serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the chamber-music program and present a concert series in addition to maintaining a busy touring schedule in the United States and abroad.
During the 2019-20 season, the Ariel Quartet will perform in New York, San Antonio, and La Jolla, where they will continue their multi-season Beethoven cycle. The Quartet will spend a week each at the Northwest Bach Festival in Spokane and at the Sitka Music Festival in Alaska, and will close out the season with a performance at the National Gallery of Art with Alexander Fiterstein, with whom they also premiered a major new work by Christopher Theofanidis at the Manchester Music Festival in the summer of 2019. Other recent engagements include concerts for Calgary Pro Musica, at the Mannes School of Music in New York, for Music Toronto, and at the Shriver Hall Concert Series at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. At the Linton Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati the Ariel gave the U.S. premiere of the Quintet for Piano and Strings by Daniil Trifonov, with the composer as pianist.
The ensemble has dedicated much of its artistic energy and musical prowess to the groundbreaking Beethoven quartets, and has performed the complete Beethoven cycle on five occasions throughout the United States and Europe. The Quartet has written a powerful and comprehensive series of program notes on the sixteen quartets, open to the public on their website. The Ariel Quartet regularly collaborates with today’s eminent and rising young musicians and ensembles, including pianist Orion Weiss, violist Roger Tapping, cellist Paul Katz, and the American, Pacifica, and Jerusalem String Quartets. The Quartet has toured with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and performed frequently with pianists Jeremy Denk and Menahem Pressler. In addition, the Ariel served as Quartet-in-Residence for the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and the Perlman Music Program, as well as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Festival.
Formerly the resident ensemble of the Professional String Quartet Training Program at the New England Conservatory, from which the players obtained their undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Ariel was mentored extensively by acclaimed string quartet giants Walter Levin and Paul Katz. It has won numerous international prizes in addition to the Cleveland Quartet Award: Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Székely Prize for the performance of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4, and Third Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. About its performances at the Banff competition, the American Record Guide described the group as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power” and noted, in particular, their playing of Beethoven’s monumental Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, as “the pinnacle of the competition.”
The Ariel Quartet has received significant support for its studies in the United States from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, Dov and Rachel Gottesman, the Legacy Heritage Fund and the A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Family Foundation. The members of the Ariel Quartet are graduates of the Young Musician’s unit of the Jerusalem Music Centre.