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Pacifica Quartet, in residence at U. of I., honored as 'Ensemble of the Year'


Pacifica Quartet
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Pacifica Quartet

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Pacifica Quartet, the faculty quartet in residence at the University of Illinois, has been recognized as Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.

The annual directory and online site – regarded as the bible of the performing arts industry – hailed Pacifica as “a model string quartet of the 21st century.”

Musical America also applauded the ensemble for its “open-minded approach to repertory” that “embraces both venerable and modern masters, overlooked gems and brand-new works.”

“The Pacifica Quartet is not only one of the premiere touring string quartets in the world, but is also one of the finest teaching ensembles in the world,” said U. of I. School of Music director Karl Kramer. “The School of Music is privileged to have them as both performers and professors.”

The members of the quartet are Sibbi Bernhardsson and Simin Ganatra, violin; Masumi Per Rostad, viola; and Brandon Vamos, cello.

The ensemble’s 2008-2009 touring schedule covers four continents. Last month, the quartet performed an all-Beethoven recital at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first of six in the museum’s Concert & Lecture series focusing on the composer. Pacifica returns to New York on Nov. 21 to perform in a program presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, before embarking on a short European tour that concludes at the end of the month in London’s Wigmore Hall.

Earlier this year, the ensemble celebrated the centenary of composer Elliott Carter with its release, on the Naxos label, of his quartets No. 1 and No. 5. The New York Times called the recording “a stunning disc” that demonstrates the group’s “confirmed mastery.”