Reviews

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Philadelphia Inquirer: “‘Sophia’s Forest’: A Refugee Opera Where the Trees are Wired”

David Patrick Stearns: September 6, 2017 

http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/arts/sophias-forest-a-refugee-opera-where-the-trees-are-wired-20170906.html

“The Aizuri Quartet […] has proved itself a group that seems ready for anything.” 

The Washington Post: “In Aizuri Quartet, a natural bond and a captivating performance”

Grace Jean: April 10, 2016
https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/in-aizuri-quartet-a-natural-bond-and-a-captivating-performance/2016/04/10/11c991aa-ff2f-11e5-8bb1-f124a43f84dc_story.html

“It can take years for string quartets to perfect the musical rapport that binds them and draws a following. For the budding Aizuri Quartet, however, that bond has fused naturally and quickly. At the Barns at Wolf Trap […] Aizuri’s captivating performance drew from that meld of intellect, technique and emotions.

“Formed in 2012, Aizuri creates myriad sounds and textures with little to no variances from player to player. Comprising violinists Miho Saegusa and Ariana Kim, violist Ayane Kozasa and cellist Karen Ouzounian, this string sisterhood of Juilliard and Curtis graduates — each one a magnificent musician in her own right — performs with an unhurried, in-the-moment approach. Every note the quartet produces is lovingly crafted and savored, as it demonstrated with full-bodied tones and expression in Schumann’s String Quartet No. 3 in A , Op. 41.”

“In Aizuri’s hands, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 6 in B-flat, Op. 18, became a study in contrasts. A wispy motif that alternated with dramatic moments anchored the mirthful but mercurial opening movement. Aizuri tidily braided the melodies in the Adagio yet allowed the passages to remain lithe. In the Scherzo, Aizuri’s syncopations were playful yet meticulous while, in the finale, the quartet bided its time, allowing the icy melancholy to melt into radiant sunbeams.”

“Commissioned by Wolf Trap Foundation, [Caroline Shaw’s “Blueprint”] was written for Aizuri, whose lively performance brought out its raw edginess and cinematic appeal.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: “A Dynamic Night with Aizuri Quartet”

Peter Dobrin: June 5, 2015
http://articles.philly.com/2015-06-05/news/63050711_1_string-quartet-langsamer-satz-webern

“In terms of choosing a calling card to send out into the world, the Curtis Institute of Music could hardly do better than the Aizuri Quartet.”

“What was clear in a tough program of Haydn, Webern, Brahms, and a new work by recent Curtis alumna Gabriella Smith is that the Aizuri […] is in full possession of that most elusive of string quartet qualities: the balance between charisma of the individual and cohesion of the collective.”

“The bigger ideas took shape all night in moments like this: an absolutely seamless back-and-forth dialogue between violinists Miho Saegusa and Zoë Martin-Doike in Haydn’s String Quartet in B Minor, Hob. III:37; a beautifully liquid sound character in Webern’s Langsamer Satz; solo moments in the Brahms from violist Ayane Kozasa that were smooth as glass while still projecting; the gorgeously shaped and placed pizzicato notes of cellist Karen Ouzounian, also in the Brahms.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune: “Aizuri Quartet performs new work with bravado and power”

Christian Hertzog: March 20, 2016
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/mar/20/aizuri-quartet-review/

“Only two weeks after its premiere, the Aizuri performed [Yevgeniy Sharlat’s “RIPEFG”] Monday with a technical bravado and an emotional power that sounded as if they’ve worked on it for a year.”

“They are well disciplined, very secure in tuning […], rhythmically tight, with a finely measured sense of ensemble dynamics and balances.”

The Aizuri played flawlessly here [in Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet], a well-gauged, charming account of a work whose every note must be exactly in place.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: “Aizuri Quartet, Soprano, Illuminate Higdon Work”

Peter Dobrin: November 25, 2015
http://articles.philly.com/2015-11-25/entertainment/68539590_1_jennifer-higdon-sirius-b-flat-major

“Berg’s String Quartet, Op. 3 is a bear. But the players followed its intricate game plan with great skill, emphasizing alternating steel and Straussian melodic warmth. […] This is an ensemble of varied sounds and temperaments, a quality that they sometimes underlined, sometimes downplayed, but always used to great advantage in telling us who they are.”

Seen and Heard International: “Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet Crowns a Challenging Season with Consummate Quality”

Bernard Jacobson: June 2, 2016
http://seenandheard-international.com/2016/06/shostakovichs-piano-quintet-crowns-a-challenging-season-with-consummate-quality/

“Shostakovich’s masterly Piano Quintet brought the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society’s challenging season of varied repertoire and distinguished performers to a worthy conclusion. One of the composer’s most beguiling chamber works, it benefitted on this occasion from a performance that held the darker aspects of the slower movements and the almost Schubertian grace of the finale in ideal balance, while doing justice also to the aggressive devilry of the scherzo. … [Ignat Solzhenitsyn] was partnered with comparable artistry and skill by the Aizuri Quartet.”

“The quartet derives its name from “aizuri-e,” the Japanese art of indigo wood-block printing, and there is an appropriate sense of something graphic and elegant about the sonic and stylistic give-and-take that imbues the playing of these four young women […] with life and point.”

“[Anatoly Drozdov’s Piano Quintet] could hardly have had more committed champions than Solzhenitsyn and the Aizuris.”

“[Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 33 No. 1] is rich in quirky invention, frequently indulging in unexpected pauses and vivid juxtapositions, and the Aizuri Quartet rendered these touches, as well as the work’s more traditional moments of warmth and lyricism, with admirable conviction.”

Town Topics:Aizuri Quartet Thrills Princeton Audience In Summer Chamber Concert Series”

Nancy Plum: June 29, 2016
http://www.towntopics.com/wordpress/2016/06/29/aizuri-quartet-thrills-princeton-audience-in-summer-chamber-concert-series/

“Since its inception 49 years ago, Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts has presented many fine string quartets. All-female quartets have been few and far between, and ensembles which can mesmerize an audience as well as the Aizuri Quartet are even rarer. The Summer Chamber Concerts opening event last Thursday night featuring the Aizuri Quartet brought a nearly full house to Richardson Auditorium to hear excellence in chamber music performance.”

Beethoven FM, Santiago, Chile: “La explosiva fuerza del Aizuri Quartet

Álvaro Gallegos: June 18, 2015
English translation by José Luis Domínguez
http://www.beethovenfm.cl/la-explosiva-fuerza-del-aizuri-quartet/

“The individual talents of each player could be appreciated in the unified work that provided us with a beautifully sculpted Haydn, abundant in rich sonorities. Elegance, expression, every color, every atmosphere showed an ensemble whose approach and focus was totally mature.”

“Los talentos individuales de cada músico fueron apreciables en su aunado trabajo, que nos brindó un Haydn bien esculpido y abundante en riquezas sonoras. Garbo, expresión, cada matiz, cada impresión de matices mostraba a un grupo cuyo enfoque se sentía maduro.”

“After the expressive interpretation of Anton Webern’s “Langsamer Satz,” we knew without a doubt that we were experiencing an unforgettable evening.”

“De Anton Webern el Aizuri interpretó su temprano fragmento para cuarteto marcado simplemente como “Langsamer Satz” (Movimiento lento). Y expresiva fue la versión, muy en sintonía con esa obra maestra de similar lenguaje que es “Noche Trasnfigurada” de Schoenberg. Hasta acá ya no había dudas de que se estaba ante una velada irrepetible e inolvidable.”

“In the Brahms Quintet Op. 111 No. 2 the explosive power of the Aizuri Quartet was reinforced by the magnificent sound of Roberto Díaz. The piece unravelled brilliantly.”

“El contundente Quinteto No.2 Op.111 de Johannes Brahms fue la obra escogida para esta colaboración donde la fuerza explosiva del Aizuri se reforzó con el magnífico sonido de Díaz.  La obra se fue desenvolviendo brillantemente…”

The Boston Musical Intelligencer: “Aizuri Brings Vigor and Depth”

Leon Golub: March 15, 2015
http://www.classical-scene.com/2015/03/15/aizuri-gardner/

“Where some foursomes strive for perfect unity of voice, the Aizuri Quartet’s four individuals found each other through the music, bringing new life to well-known pieces.”

“The performance [of Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 64 No. 3] showed the Aizuri fully in command of Haydn’s restrained wit and humor, and completely aware of his importance for the future of the quartet form. Throughout, the quartet controlled the ebb and flow of the dynamics masterfully, with clear cadences and perfect tempi.”

“As though deeply conversant with Tolstoy’s story, the quartet played [Janáček’s “Kreutzer Sonata”] with a clear awareness of the terror of uncontrollable passions.”