Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Greetings

So as Hurricane Sandy and possibly the end of the world approaches, I find myself in a reflective mood. I believe it was while standing in a line a mile long at the grocery store, trying to buy some laundry detergent, hemmed in by panicked shoppers stockpiling flashlights and dry goods, that I first considered I may not be taking this storm seriously enough. Having just returned from a glorious week of concerts and educational performances at middle and high schools in the Tacoma/Seattle area, my jetlagged and outreach-oriented mind has not yet switched to hurricane survival mode. We played for over 1500 students during our stay in Washington, generally at shockingly early times in the morning (who knew that high school started at 7:15am?!) Check out this clip, generously filmed by Brian Fox of the Puyallup School District, to get an idea of early morning Aeolus and our awesome audiences -

But outreach isn't all we've been up to in the past few weeks. We also took a quick jaunt to Germany, where we had delicious food and beer and got to play in the Laeiszhalle at Johannes-Brahms-Platz (pictured below).

And back in DC, we had one of our more surreal experiences as we found ourselves taking the stage directly after a speech by Joe Biden. We got the picture pretty quickly upon the realization that the entire backstage area was surrounded by Secret Service. Here's Greg musing over the speech in the wings -

But anyway I've just been informed that it may be prudent to fill up the tub in the event of manual toilet flushing. Manual toilet flushing??? Oh man. Stay safe east coast loved ones!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Tiny Video from the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar

And also this picture, because it is amazing. Lesley Robertson of the SLSQ generously gave us a mini private screening of old string quartet videos, and we were delighted to catch this shot of our hero, Joel Krosnick!!!

I also find it necessary to add this photo of us with another hero, Professor Parker of the Gryphon Trio! Please check out his critically acclaimed series of instructional videos on Facebook, particularly if you are a violist :)

I know I said this was just going to be a video, but the kids participating in Stanford University's Educational Programs for Gifted Youth were so awesome. We feel honored to have been given the opportunity to get to know these guys - performing for them, discussing music with them, or just hanging out. At our last session with the EPGY guys, they each wrote their own short string quartet -and we read through all 2.5 hours of them :) here we are with Alan squared:

A huge thank you to the St. Lawrence Quartet for putting together an incredibly inspiring seminar, to Heidi Lee for organizing absolutely everything and taking us to all the best places to eat in the Bay Area, and Anna Wittstruck and the EPGY kids for being awesome.

aaaaaand the video:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Spring Adventures

Where do I even begin. Imagine my horror upon realizing that the last post on our beloved blog is from 2011!?!? Somehow amidst travels to Mexico and London, several memorable trips to New York, the creation of the Ultra-Trone (a programmed metronome device that deserves explanation in its own blog post), and the constant refinement of our tuning system (please refer to blog video #1) Aeolus' Spring 2012 has not yet been documented here! Let's start with this past week-

We returned to the incredibly inspiring Juilliard String Quartet Seminar for a week of coachings with first violinist Joseph Lin and violist Samuel Rhodes, culminating in performances in Juilliard's Paul Recital Hall by all participating groups. Our first time at the Seminar was in 2010, and it proved to be a pivotal experience in the development of our quartet. The 2010 Seminar also marked the first (and last) time all four of us stayed together in one hotel room for an entire week - thankfully, we have left those days far behind.
We are so grateful for the mentorship and inspiration provided by the Juilliard String Quartet!

Greg and Alan discussing the finer points of Beethoven's Op. 95 with Juilliard Quartet second violinist Ronald Copes.

Finding ourselves with just a little too much free time between our dress rehearsal and concert at Juilliard yesterday, we filmed a brief clip that I feel really captures the essence of Aeolus Quartet violist,  Greg Luce. Please enjoy.

Another highlight of our spring has been some unique opportunities afforded us in our position as graduate quartet in residence at the University of Maryland. Professor Ken Slowik, extraordinary academic and curator of the rare instrument collection at the Smithsonian Institute, recently ushered us into the museum after hours and, to our amazement, unlocked the display cases and allowed us to play on an assortment of priceless Stradivarius and Amati instruments! This was a dream come true, made even more dream-like by the fact that we were alone in the Smithsonian at 11:30pm.
Professor Slowik removing instruments from their display case as Nick marvels at a Strad.

Greg holding possibly the world's most coveted viola - 1663 Nicolo Amati "Professor Wirth".

Thank you for keeping up with us, more to come soon! I promise!