Aizuri Quartet

Aizuri QuartetPraised by The Washington Post for “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the Aizuri Quartet was awarded the Grand Prize and the CAG Management Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, along with top prizes at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan, and the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London. The Quartet’s debut album, Blueprinting, featuring new works written for the Aizuri Quartet by five American composers, was released by New Amsterdam Records and nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY Award.

Through its engaging and thought-provoking programs, branded by The New York Times as “genuinely exciting” and “imaginative,” the Quartet has garnered critical acclaim for bringing “a technical bravado and emotional power” to bold new commissions, and for its “flawless” (San Diego Union-Tribune) performances of the great masterpieces of the past.

The Quartet has performed extensively throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Japan, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, and Abu Dhabi, and has commissioned and premiered new works by Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, Lembit Beecher, Paul Wiancko, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Gabriella Smith, Rene Orth, Michi Wiancko, and Alyssa Weinberg. Their 20-21 season highlights include performances at Lincoln Center, San Antonio Chamber Music Society, National Gallery, Dallas Chamber Music Society, the Kennedy Center and a special performance of John Adams’ “Absolute Jest” with the Milwaukee Symphony.

The quartet has been combining four distinctive musical personalities into a unique collective since 2012. Aizuri Quartet draws its name from “aizuri-e,” a style of predominantly blue Japanese woodblock printing that is noted for its vibrancy and incredible detail. They are currently based in New York City.

Kathryn Schulmeister

Kathryn SchulmeisterPraised for her “expressive and captivating performance” (GRAMMY.com), bassist Kathryn Schulmeister brings radiant energy to her creative musical practice ranging from classical to experimental.

Kathryn is one of the newest members of the renowned Australian ELISION Ensemble. She also currently performs as a guest with other adventurous contemporary ensembles such as Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Dal Niente, Fonema Consort, and various others.

Kathryn is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Contemporary Music Performance at the University of California, San Diego, studying with internationally acclaimed bassist/improviser/composer Mark Dresser. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and completed her Master of Music degree at McGill University in Montréal.

Press:

“As she slid, glided and scraped up and down her bass' neck, she moved the crowd with her expressive and captivating performance.” – NATE HERTWECK, GRAMMY.com

“Double bassist Kathryn Schulmeister gave a stunning account of two pieces by Catalonian composer Joan Arnau Pàmies...turning an ostensibly ungainly instrument into a writhing white-hot crucible” — SIMON CUMMINGS, 5:4 BLOG

Castle of Our Skins

Castle of Our Skins playing in a fancy roomBorn out of the desire to foster cultural curiosity, Castle of our Skins is a concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. From classrooms to concert halls, Castle of our Skins invites exploration into Black heritage and culture, spotlighting both unsung and celebrated figures of past and present.

Ashleigh Gordan

Described as a “charismatic and captivating performer,” Ashleigh Gordon has recorded with Switzerland's Ensemble Proton and Germany's Ensemble Modern; performed with Grammy-award winning BMOP and Grammy-nominated A Far Cry string ensemble; and appeared at the prestigious BBC Proms Festival with the Chineke! Orchestra. Comfortable on an international stage, Ashleigh has performed in the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls (London), Konzerthaus Berlin and Oper Frankfurt (Germany), Gare du Nord and Dampfzentrale Bern (Switzerland), Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Lee Hysan Concert Hall (Hong Kong), and throughout Sofia, Bulgaria as part of the multi-disciplinary 180 Degrees Festival.

Ashleigh is co-founder, Artistic/Executive Director and violist of Castle of our Skins, a Boston-based concert and educational series devoted to celebrating Black Artistry through music. In recognition of her work, she has presented at IDEAS UMass Boston Conference and 180 Degrees Festival in Bulgaria; has been featured in the International Musician and Improper Bostonian magazines as well as the Boston Globe; and was awarded the 2016 Charles Walton Diversity Advocate Award from the American Federation of Musicians. She is a 2015 St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award recipient, a 2019 Brother Thomas Fellow, a nominee for the 2020 "Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities,” and named one of WBUR’s “ARTery 25”, twenty-five millennials of color impacting Boston’s arts and culture scene.