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.”
Winner of the 2019 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition and laureate of the 2017-18 American Prize, icarus has given new life to old masterpieces as well as the future of their instrumentation. What started as a graduate school project that Yale composition chair Martin Bresnick regarded as “one of the best student performances of any work I have ever heard, with great energy, sensitivity, and precision” has now toured professionally throughout the United States. Highlights include performances at the New Music Gathering (OH), the Queens New Music Festival (NY), Music in the Valley (MD), the Horowitz Piano Series (CT), and two performances at Music at St. David's in Baltimore as their 2017-18 Ensemble-in- Residence.
The 19-20 concert season includes performances at Princeton University, the St. Tim’s Discovers series, Peabody Conservatory’s Sylvia Adalman Chamber Series, the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music, Delaware County Community College’s New Music Concert Series, and more. Fostering the development of new works through commissioning and collaborating with composers is at the core of the iQ mission, and this season will also see the culmination of some of these endeavors with world premieres by Liliya Ugay and Ruby Fulton. Fulton’s work is inspired by the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, and this project will include a public round table discussion of the music’s potential for interface with the environment and its communities. The piece will be paired with a film by video artist Benjamin James with the audio recorded for future screenings.
Passionate about educating and engaging with the next generation of musicians, iQ often works in school and university settings. They have given classes and coachings on chamber music, as well as composition seminars on writing for their instruments at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Bridgeport University, Bowling Green State University, Yale College, and Wright State University, in addition to presentations for elementary and Pre-K students.
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.