Postponed from April 2020 due to the global pandemic, this year’s rescheduled Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition for Young Professionals will be held on-line on April 10, 2021, due to continued performance restrictions. Four ensembles will compete for the $10,000 Lerman Gold Prize and the $5,000 Silver Prize. The average age of an ensemble must be under 31, and some include members as young as 21. The ensembles represent a wide range of instrumental combinations including winds, strings, and mixed instruments, including percussion. The Competition finalist ensembles include Aya Piano Trio of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Dior Quartet of Bloomington, Indiana; Soma Quartet of Bloomington, Indiana; and Zelter String Quartet of Los Angeles, California.
Based in Philadelphia, the Aya Piano Trio was formed in 2013 by three students at the Curtis Institute of Music. The trio has performed extensively across the United States, and in 2018 they were semifinalists in both the M Prize Chamber Arts Competition and the Fischoff Competition. They were also winners of the 2018 Young Chamber Musicians Competition in North Carolina, where they were invited for a residency of recordings and concerts and made their New York City debut in 2019 at the Mannes New School Concert Series.
Hailing from Israel, Canada, St. Lucia, and the US, the members of Dior Quartet formed their ensemble at Indiana University in 2018 and won the Bronze Medal at the 2019 Fischoff National Chamber Competition (Senior Division). They have also won first prize at the 9th Plowman Chamber Music Competition (Senior Strings), first prize at the 2019 Kuttner Quartet Competition, and runner-up at the Beethoven-Haus Competition at the Jacobs School of Music, as well as held the 2019 Fellowship String Quartet at Wintergreen Summer Music Festival in Virginia. They are currently the new Kuttner Quartet, the student string quartet-in-residence at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Based in Bloomington, Indiana, Soma Quartet was formed at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the guidance of Otis Murphy. In addition to being the Grand Prize winners at the 2019 Plowman Chamber Music Competition, they were First Runner-Up in the 2018 Classic Alive Young Artist Competition; First Prize winners in the 2017 Chicago Woodwind Ensemble Competition; and were also finalists in the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition. The ensemble is committed to performing new works to expand quartet repertoire and has collaborated with several composers from Indiana University.
The Zelter String Quartet, comprised of violinists Kyle Gilner and Gallia Kastner, violist Nao Kubota, and cellist Allan Hon, formed in Los Angeles in 2018. In 2019, they were awarded a full scholarship to participate in the St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar, culminating in a performance at the Campbell Recital Hall at Stanford University. The quartet has collaborated with the Verona String Quartet, Mixtape Series, tenor Drake Dantzler, and has future collaborations set with pianist Lucinda Carver. In addition, they were recently invited to participate in the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, and in August 2021, the quartet is scheduled to participate in the Rencontres Franco-Américaines de Musique de Chambre, as winners of the USC Ofiesh Chamber Music Competition.
This year’s competition judges include J. Lawrie Bloom, Ieva Jokubaviciute, and Michael Kannen. Bloom, founding artistic co-director of Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, recently retired as a bass clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). Lithuanian pianist Jokubaviciute’s performances have earned her critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and Europe on major stages around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and London’s Wigmore Hall. Cellist Kannen has appeared at chamber music festivals across the country and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
The Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition, a program of Chesapeake Music, is underwritten by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, and private benefactors. For further information about the Competition events, visit ChesapeakeMusic.org or call 410-819-0380. The Competition will be aired free of charge and timing and links to the event are posted on the Chesapeake Music website, www.chesapeakemusic.org.