This fall, the award-winning Verona Quartet enters New England Conservatory's Professional String Quartet Training Program. Quartet members are Jonathan Ong, violin, Dorothy Ro, violin, Abigail Rojansky, viola, and newly appointed cellist Jonathan Dormand '12 M.M., an NEC alumnus. They join an illustrious group of participants in the program, including the Kuss, Jupiter, Parker, Harlem, and Omer Quartets. The Conservatory offers a two-year residency to exceptional ensembles that show the talent and commitment necessary to pursue a concert career. The program includes regular coaching sessions and meetings with Paul Katz, the program’s director, additional study with NEC’s renowned string faculty, weekly individual studio instruction, and an annual recital in Jordan Hall. Said Katz:
“I am so delighted to welcome the Verona Quartet to NEC's Professional String Quartet Training Program. I have had the great pleasure of hearing them perform a number of times over the past four years, and their steady and consistent artistic growth has been impressive. They are wonderfully talented and devoted. My NEC string faculty colleagues and I look forward to working with them!”
The Verona Quartet’s members are from the United States, UK, Canada, and Singapore, and hold degrees from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, The Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Eastman School of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, and New England Conservatory.
Hailed by The New York Times as an "outstanding ensemble of young musicians", the Verona Quartet were winners in the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition. Over the last three years, the innovative quartet has earned a stellar reputation for delivering a “sensational, powerhouse performance” (Classical Voice America) every time they take the stage. In May 2016, Musical America selected the group as “New Artists of the Month,” further setting the Verona Quartet apart as one of the most compelling quartets in chamber music.
The Verona Quartet issued the following statement about their recent acceptance to NEC’s program.
“NEC's Professional String Quartet Training Program has a great history of successful string quartets, and we are excited to be spending the next two years working with the formidable faculty at the school. We look forward to putting ourselves at the heart of the NEC and Boston community, and can’t wait to perform in NEC’s beautiful Jordan Hall!”
The Verona Quartet members are strong proponents of community engagement and education. From 2013–2015, the quartet established a relationship with the city of Danville, Illinois, where they curated a concert series and gave outreach performances and masterclasses across elementary, middle, and high schools in the city, resulting in an increase in public school music class enrollment to almost double the average of the State of Illinois.
The Quartet’s 2016–17 season continued to be very busy with nearly fifty performances spread across fifteen States and Canada. Select highlights include: the Quartet’s Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall (CAG Presents series) and the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU; Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall; California concerts at La Jolla SummerFest, Pepperdine University Center for the Arts, and Chico Performances at CalState/Chico; Purdue Convocations (IN); Market Square Concerts (PA); and in Illinois at Rockford Coronado Concerts and the Dame Myra Hess Series (simulcast live on WFMT radio).
The group has played across four continents in venues such as Wigmore Hall (London, UK), Izumi Hall (Osaka, Japan), the National Theatre (Abu Dhabi, UAE), the Melbourne Recital Hall (Melbourne, Australia), Carnegie Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.). They have also appeared on National Public Radio, "The Weekly Special" on PBS, and Abu Dhabi Classical FM.
At the 2015 CAG Competition, the Verona Quartet was also awarded the BMI Commissioning Prize, resulting in a new work by American composer Michael Gilbertson being premiered at the ensemble’s Carnegie Hall debut in February 2017. In addition, the group has recently garnered top prizes at numerous prestigious competitions worldwide: abroad at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition (née London International String Quartet Competition), the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and the 8th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition; and in the US at the Coleman, Fischoff, and Chesapeake Chamber Music Competitions; and the M-Prize International Chamber Arts Competition.