Winners of the 14th Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2022, the New York City-based Isidore String Quartet was formed in 2019 with a vision to revisit, rediscover, and reinvigorate the repertory. The quartet is heavily influenced by the Juilliard String Quartet and the idea of ‘approaching the established as if it were new, and the new as if it were firmly established.’
The members of the quartet are violinists Adrian Steele and Phoenix Avalon, violist Devin Moore, and cellist Joshua McClendon. The four began as an ensemble at the Juilliard School, and following a break during the global pandemic reconvened at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in the summer of 2021 under the tutelage of Joel Krosnick. In addition to Mr. Krosnick, the ISQ has coached with Joseph Lin, Astrid Schween, Laurie Smukler, Joseph Kalichstein, Roger Tapping, Timothy Eddy, Donald Weilerstein, Atar Arad, Bob McDonald, Christoph Richter, Miriam Fried, and Paul Biss, while performing in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Ravinia Festival.
Their Banff triumph brings extensive tours of North America and Europe, a two-year appointment as the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, performances at Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt and the Lucerne Festival, plus a two-week residency at Banff Centre including a professionally produced recording, along with extensive ongoing coaching, career guidance, and mentorship.
The Isidore Quartet’s 2022-2023 season will feature debut appearances in Pittsburgh, PA; Durham, NC; Burlington, VT; Kalamazoo, MI; Evanston, IL; San Antonio, TX; Laguna Beach, CA (with pianist Jeremy Denk and violinist Stefan Jackiw); and Seattle, WA (with violinist James Ehnes). The quartet will return to Washington’s Kennedy Center as part of the Fortas Chamber Music Concert Series, and will also perform for Schneider Concerts at the Mannes School of Music. In Europe, they will perform at Esterhazy Palace in Austria and will spend time at the Britten Pears Arts Institute.
The quartet will be working as a resident ensemble with PROJECT: MUSIC HEALS US providing encouragement, education, and healing to marginalized communities – including elderly, disabled, rehabilitating incarcerated and homeless populations – who otherwise have limited access to high-quality live music performance. An ensemble actively dedicated to pushing the boundaries of music-making, the ISQ is the resident ensemble for the Contemporary Alexander School/Alexander Alliance International. In conjunction with those well-versed in the world of Alexander Technique, as well as other performers, the ISQ explores the vast landscape of body awareness, mental preparation, and performance practice.
The name Isidore recognizes the ensemble’s musical connection to the Juilliard Quartet: one of that group’s early members was legendary violinist Isidore Cohen. Additionally, it acknowledges a shared affection for a certain libation – legend has it a Greek monk named Isidore concocted the first genuine vodka recipe for the Grand Duchy of Moscow!