Enso it goes: Young Americans have a date in Hamilton

Melissa Reardon (viola), Maureen Nelson (violin), Richard Belcher (cello) and Ken Hamao (violin) are the Enso String ...
Juergen Frank

Melissa Reardon (viola), Maureen Nelson (violin), Richard Belcher (cello) and Ken Hamao (violin) are the Enso String Quartet, who hail from Yale University in the United States and are performing in Hamilton on Thursday, May 26.

They hail from Yale and you can soon experience Enso at Waikato.

Founded at Yale University in 1999, the Enso String Quartet has, in a decade and a half, risen to the front rank of string ensembles.

The group will be performing at Waikato University's Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts as part of a 10-date New Zealand tour.

The works the group will be performing will include Beethoven's Harp, Dutilleux's Ainsi La Nuit (Vision of the Night) and Sibelius' Voces Intimae.

A highlight of the concert will be the performance of Auckland-based composer Alex Taylor's A Coincidence of Surfaces I.

The six-minute piece is one of two "miniatures" Taylor was commissioned to write by Chamber Music New Zealand for the Enso String Quartet tour.

It was, he said, a very different experience to write music for musicians he had never met.

"It's been very stimulating to write for a visiting group of the quality of Enso String Quartet. I've listened to some of their recordings online and they are absolutely immaculate, but play with real energy and musicality.

"This must be one of the first times I've been commissioned on reputation alone rather than knowing the performers directly, so it will be fascinating to see how it comes together in rehearsal."

Based in New York City since 2007, the Enso String Quartet was previously in residence at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois.

The ensemble's name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things including perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void, the endless circle of life, and the fullness of the spirit.

The quartet will perform in Hamilton on Thursday, May 26.

Tickets are available at waikato.ac.nz/academy or phone (07) 858 5105.

For more details go to chambermusic.co.nz/enso.

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