June 21, 2016
Violinist Yura Lee to Join the Enso String Quartet

The Ensō String Quartet will welcome celebrated violinist/violist Yura Lee in the 2016-17 season. Ms. Lee is replacing first violinist, and founding member, Maureen Nelson, who has accepted a coveted position with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. The transition will take place over the entire season, with Ms. Lee’s first concert with the group in August as part of the Maverick Concerts series in Woodstock, NY.

Yura Lee is an Avery Fisher Career Grant winner and an active collaborator and chamber musician, having appeared regularly at the Marlboro Festival, Salzburg Festival, Verbier Festival, Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival, among others; and as a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She has also performed as a soloist with leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and many more.

“We are thrilled to announce that the incomparable Yura Lee will be joining the Ensō String Quartet,” says violist Melissa Reardon. “For us, she brings not only incredible violin playing and musicianship, but also an openness, inquisitive musical nature, and humor that immediately made our time together feel special. So much of quartet playing is about the relationship between the players, and from the moment we sat down for the first reading, there was an instant, ineffable spark of chemistry.”

And Ms. Lee states:

“I am so excited to be joining the Ensō String Quartet. String quartet repertoire is some of the most emotionally moving, and most satisfying music to play and hear. I feel very lucky that I get to spend time with, and explore this music with Ken, Melissa, and Richard. They are some of the most amazing musicians and people that I have been fortunate enough to know; each of them is unique and awe-inspiring. We look forward to sharing our music with you.”

The quartet was founded 17 years ago at Yale University. “We’ve had quite a journey with Maureen from our first concerts at Yale to our residencies at Northern Illinois and Rice Universities,” says cellist Richard Belcher. “We really lived quartet life fully, through our competition days and Concert Artists Guild to multiple recordings and countless concerts with a vast, varied repertoire. All the while Maureen has been a dedicated friend and colleague, and an inspiring musical beacon for us all.”

About her time in the group, Ms. Nelson says, “This quartet is my family, and I’ve put my heart and soul into it. Making music at this level has been a dream come true. Being in a quartet is among the most challenging, frustrating, but ultimately most rewarding ways to make a living as a musician. After 17 years, the opportunity in Saint Paul is a new and exciting chapter for me. But I’m truly thrilled to see and hear where the quartet is headed with Yura this season and beyond!”

The quartet makes this announcement from Australia where they are in the midst of a 25-city, 30-concert international tour that started in the US with concerts at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center in May before leaving for New Zealand and Australia. This week they travel to Brazil for the International Festival of Chamber Music in Rio de Janeiro. The coming season will be one of transition but also one of continued exceptional music making and artistic growth.

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