The Amernet is joined this season by second violinist Tomas Cotik and forges ahead with a newly formed sound with the release of a new CD called Dissenting Voices on New Focus Recordings featuring rarely-heard works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Shostakovich, and Mieczysław Weinberg, one of the most important recent re-discoveries and considered by many the third of the great Soviet composers, alongside Prokofiev and Shostakovich.
At last season’s Soluna Festival, under the auspices of the Dallas Symphony, the following was said of the group: [Misha] “Vitenson is an aggressive violinist who generates a full sound and plays with laser focus, nearly perfect intonation and amazing accuracy. A natural born leader, he probably would chaff in the second violin chair. Klotz is probably the best violist you will ever hear. He has a huge sound that can match the cello or the violin, depending on the texture of the music. His solo passages are stunning. Calloway has his work cut out for him, playing in such an assertive quartet, but he always rises to the occasion. He offers a firm grounding, and is the underpinning for the remarkable intonation of the group. However, he can soar above the fray when the music requires it.” -Theater Jones
Their performance at the Kennedy Center’s Fortas Chamber Music Series at the Terrace Theater yielded the following comments from the Washington Post: [“The Amernet’s performance of Beethoven op. 95] was buoyed by the pull of irresistible momentum even in the second movement, in which cellist Jason Calloway’s beautifully weighted falling scale proceeded with stately majesty. You had a feeling that the four musicians had decided to throw care to the winds and just go for it. The Amernet…has a whole fistful of recently written pieces in its repertoire, many of which the quartet commissioned. But a concert of Haydn, Beethoven and Franck is not to be sneezed at…when played as well and with as much attention to style and proportion as this one was. The group adopted a warm, woody tone for their reading of Haydn’s Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5, and a richly lush, almost orchestral delivery for the Franck Piano Quintet. [with Pianist James Tocco]. Their Haydn maintained an intimate, Baroque-like balance and transparency while their Franck ebbed and flowed in the indulgence of that work’s romanticism, and the players seemed equally at home in both of these very different idioms.
The Amernet’s performance schedule has taken the quartet across the Americas and to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. They have collaborated with many of today’s most prominent artists and ensembles including the Tokyo and Ying quartets as well as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Robert deMaine, Roberto Diaz, Gary Hoffman, Ida Kavafian, Anthony McGill, Sherrill Milnes and Michael Tree.
Internationally, the quartet has appeared at major festivals around the world, including Cervantino, San Miguel de Allende, Aviv (Israel), and Colima (Mexico), while in Germany a critic commented that their playing was “fascinating, with flawless intonation, extraordinary beauty of sound, virtuosic brilliance and homogeneity of ensemble.” (Nürnberger Nachrichten). The Amernet’s U.S. engagements have included the Kennedy Center, the Tilles Center, Caramoor, the Great Lakes Festival, Newport, Friends of Chamber Music in Arizona and Friends of Chamber Music in Syracuse, LPR in New York City, Chamber Music Society of Louisville, Music on the Edge in Pittsburgh, the University of Maine – Collins Center, and Market Square Concerts. The Amernet has also appeared as quartet soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony and Alan Gilbert. Earlier in their career, the Amernet won the gold medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition before being named first prize winners of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Prior to their current position at Florida International University, the Amernet held posts as Corbett String Quartet-in-Residence at Northern Kentucky University and at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Additionally, the ensemble served as the Ernst Stiefel Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for the Arts.
In its frequent touring, the Amernet has conducted workshops and master classes in Buffalo, Los Angeles, Memphis, and New Orleans as well as visiting residencies at colleges and universities including Columbia, Gettysburg, Penn State, Princeton, Western Illinois, and Wiliams and abroad in Colombia, Israel, Mexico, and Serbia. The Amernet String Quartet has received grants from the Corbett Foundation, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the LaSalle Foundation, the Fine Arts Fund, the Cincinnati Chamber Music Society, and the Amernet Society for school outreach projects, the commissioning of new chamber music works, and their concert and conversation series. The group was the recipient of a Chamber Music Rural Residency Award during which they divided their time among the communities of Johnstown, Somerset, and Indiana, Pennsylvania.
The Amernet has always been committed to the music of our time, and now under the moniker AmerneXt, the Amernet is adopting some of the great works of the late 20th and 21st centuries in the context of earlier and traditional music. Working closely with some of today’s leading composers, such as John Corigliano, Orlando Garcia, John Harbison, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Fredrick Kaufman, Bernard Rands, Gerhard Samuel, Morton Subotnick, Dmitri Tymoczko, and Chinary Ung, the group has taken on a new attitude, with music by Kurtag, Gubaidulina, Michael Gordon, and some of the fresh new voices of composers under 40.
Amernet is back with a new sound, a fresh approach and an irresistible energy!
For more information on the Amernet String Quartet click, HERE.