February 14, 2018
Ariel Quartet: Brahms String Quartet No. 2, Op. 51/2, Bartók String Quartet No. 1, Sz. 40
Ariel Quartet: Brahms String Quartet No. 2, Op. 51/2, Bartók String Quartet No. 1, Sz. 40
AVIE Records

The musical virtuosity, intensely artistic drive, and romantic spirit of violinists Alexandra Kazovsky and Gershon Gerchikov, violist Jan Grüning, and cellist Amit Even-Tov, the musicians comprising the Ariel Quartet, is the impetus behind their debut recording on Avie Records (AV2384; available March 16, 2018). “For this record we have decided to pair two giants of the string-quartet world, arguably the two major successors of Beethoven in this genre: Béla Bartók and Johannes Brahms. Both composers stand as significant pillars on our two-decade-long journey as a quartet, and pairing them here has been an emotional and rewarding process,” states the Ariel.

“The two composers communicate in a distinctly personal style and language, yet in many ways they are kindred spirits. Having approached the string quartet formation with profound admiration and knowledge of its German roots - Beethoven's quartet oeuvre in particular - both composers also found enormous inspiration in the folk music of Hungary and its surroundings. What was native heritage for Bartók was also seen in Brahms' deep affection for Hungary, which found inspiration during his late teen years, and both works on this CD are infused with these indigenous flavors.”

The singular voices and striking musical idioms of Brahms and Bartók are reflective of the deepening characteristic vitality the Ariel Quartet has developed since its inception nearly twenty years ago. Formed while its members were still middle school students, the Ariel Quartet has perpetuated a glowing international reputation, with The New York Times noting its “gift for filling the pristine structures of Classicism with fire.”

“The Ariel Quartet's understanding and presentation of this complex and nuanced piece were outstanding, and the extended techniques were exceedingly well played....the Ariel's performance showed that when the minutiae of quartet playing are thoughtfully considered and perfectly executed, the sum of a quartet is indeed greater than its parts...overall the players' sound as the quartet was phenomenal.” -The Strad

“At a time when there are many excellent professional quartets, this one is outstanding for its perfect ensemble, vigor and range of musical interpretation. The playing of a challenging program on this occasion was brilliant and it was heard in a rapt silence by the audience.” - Hampshire Gazette

“Hundreds of local chamber music lovers have gone on the journey with these players – violinists Alexandra Kazovsky and Gershon Gerchikov; violist Jan Grüning and cellist Amit Even-Tov – who form the ensemble in residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Each is a virtuoso in his or her own right, yet together they speak as one.” - Cincinnati.com

A video of the Ariel Quartet performing Brahms String Quartet No. 2, Op. 51/2, I. Allegro non troppo, can be viewed here.  

Track Listing:
1-4 String Quartet No. 2, Op. 51/2 - Johannes Brahms
5-7 String Quartet No. 1, Sz. 40 - Béla Bartók

The Quartet was recently awarded the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award and has served as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) since 2012, where its members direct the chamber music program for strings and perform their own annual concert series.

Recent seasons featured their sold-out debut at Carnegie Hall, and have included multiple Beethoven-cycle performances in the U.S. and Europe as well as frequent collaborations with artists such as Alisa Weilerstein, Jeremy Denk, and Menahem Pressler. Additionally, the Ariel was quartet-in-residence for the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and for the Perlman Music Program, and was the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-In-Residence at the Caramoor Festival.

The Ariel Quartet has been mentored extensively by Itzhak Perlman, Paul Katz, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, and Kim Kashkashian, among others, and spent a pivotal year in Basel, Switzerland, for in-depth studies with Walter Levin, the founding first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.

The Ariel has won numerous international prizes including the Cleveland Quartet Award, the First Prize at the International Competition Franz Schubert and Modern Music, the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and the overall Third Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition as well as the Székely Prize for their performance of Bartók.

Artist Website: Ariel Quartet 

Media Contacts:
Kirshbaum Associates Inc.
Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Senior Public Relations Associate (212) 222-4843

AVIE Records
Melanne Mueller
(917) 907-2785 or +44 (0) 7788 662 461


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