With “rhythmic and expressive vitality” (The Baltimore Sun), the Bryant Park Quartet (Anna Elashvili and Ben Russell, violins; Nathan Schram, viola; Tomoko Fujita, cello) is quickly establishing itself as an accomplished string quartet through imaginative, spirited concerts. The BPQ’s “rEvolving Ear” series creates diverse programs that pair contemporary works with historical masterpieces, shedding light on both composers’ creative processes. These programs also feature BPQ originals – from arrangements of bluegrass tunes to art songs.
Emphasizing outreach wherever they perform, the BPQ has established residencies in New York, California, Iowa, Maryland, and Vermont. They are the first Ensemble- in-Residence at the Stony Brook University Community Music Programs, where they also run a weeklong Summer Chamber Music Camp (a documentary video of the most recent camp can be found on the quartet’s website). As teaching artists, they have given masterclasses and chamber music seminars at Azusa Pacific, Biola, and Cornell universities. A past recipient of the Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Program grant, they have made an impact in the communities they visit by giving interactive presentations at colleges, schools, music programs, community centers, and even some unconventional settings like local bars and art galleries.
They have recently collaborated with renowned artists Colin Carr, Jonathan Carney, and Lura Johnson, and were prizewinners in the 2010 Hugo Kauder International Music Competition. Formed in 2006 and based in New York City, the Bryant Park Quartet has been coached by members of the Brentano, Borromeo, Cavani, Cleveland, Emerson, and Juilliard String Quartets as well as Itzhak Perlman, Heidi Castleman, Kathy Murdock, and Roger Tapping. They have also participated in the Chamber Music Workshop at the Perlman Music Program, Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, and Mannes Beethoven Institute.
Along with their devotion to music, the BPQ members have been spotted pursuing other activities such as: painting, tango dancing, gourmet cooking, bluegrass fiddling, singer songwriting, marathon running, camping, hiking, biking, and bearding…yes bearding.