Annual Competition

Chamber Music Yellow Springs 34th Annual Competition for Emerging Professional Ensembles

Congratulations to the winner of this year’s competition,
the icarus Quartet!

Chamber Music in Yellow Springs’ Annual Competition for Emerging Professional Ensembles has been an integral part of our series since its foundation in 1985. Our unique competition offers ensembles the opportunity to choose their own repertoire to perform for in live concert as one of two finalists.

We are pleased and excited to announce the finalists for this year’s competition,
the Icarus Quartet and the Viano String Quartet:


Icarus Quartet

Like the mythological figure from which it draws its name, the half piano, half percussion icarus Quartet dares to fly towards the sun, aspiring to new heights of artistry. Following their Carnegie Hall debut, composer Paul Lansky simply remarked, “This is music making of the highest order.”

While pursuing their graduate degrees at the Yale School of Music, the members of iQ were brought together to represent the school in its prestigious concert series, Yale in New York, with the Yale Percussion Group under the guidance of Robert van Sice. Composition chair Martin Bresnick regarded an appearance of the Quartet as “one of the best student performances of any work I have ever heard… They played with great energy, sensitivity and precision.” They have since performed throughout the northeast as well as in a recent set at the 2017 New Music Gathering in Bowling Green, Ohio. In the 2017-18 season, icarus served as Ensemble-in-Residence for Music at St. David’s in Baltimore, and was also featured on the Queens New Music Festival and Yale’s distinguished Horowitz Piano Series.

Larry Weng, Yevgeny Yontov, Matt Keown, and Jeff Stern are all celebrated soloists in their own rights, and together they have found a special chemistry and inimitable joy playing chamber music. They are dedicated to the discovery, creation, and performance of new music, but what distinguishes their approach to contemporary music is a strong training and background in the classical genre. icarus Quartet is committed to performing new works with a studied and convincing interpretation that mirrors the validity of works with performance practices developed over centuries.


Viano String Quartet

Praised for their “huge range of dynamics, massive sound and spontaneity” (American Record Guide), the Viano String Quartet is a superior emerging quartet. The quartet won Third Prize at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition along with the Sidney Griller award for best performance of the compulsory work, “The Four Quarters” by Thomas Adès, and the Haydn Prize for the best performance of a Haydn string quartet.    During the 2018‐19 season, the Viano String Quartet makes their debut at the SOKA Performing Arts Center as well as a return engagement at the Cerritos Center with NPR host Rob Kapilow on his “What Makes It Great?” series.  The Viano also serves as Quartet in Residence at the Santa Monica Conservatory of Music. Formed in 2015 at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, the quartet has performed at the South Bay Chamber Music Society and the Colburn Chamber Music Society, with world class musicians such as Emanuel Ax, Paul Coletti and Martin Beaver.

The quartet has received coachings from artists such as David Finckel, Gary Hoffman, Arnold Steinhardt, Jean‐Yves Thibaudet, Martin Beaver, Clive Greensmith, Paul Coletti and Fabio Bidini, and members of the Emerson, Brentano, St. Lawrence and Calidore String Quartets. The Viano String Quartet won the Silver Medal at the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Third Prize at the 9th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2017.

The 34th annual competition was held April 28, 2019, 4 pm., at the First Presbyterian Church in Yellow Springs.

This year’s judges will be Dr. Chin-Chun Lai, visiting professor/interim orchestra conductor at The Ohio State University; Matt Landry, executive director and member of the Akropolis Reed Quintet; and Marna Street, former principal viola of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.