Praised by the Baltimore Sun for combining “smoothly meshed technique with a sense of spontaneity and discovery,” the Aeolus Quartet is committed to presenting time-seasoned masterworks and new cutting-edge works to widely diverse audiences with equal freshness, dedication, and fervor. Formed in 2008, the Quartet is comprised of violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Caitlin Lynch, and cellist Alan Richardson. The all-American Aeolus Quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and performed across the globe with showings "worthy of a major-league quartet" (Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News). Mark Satola of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes, “The quartet has a rich and warm tone combined with precise ensemble playing (that managed also to come across as fluid and natural), and an impressive musical intelligence guided every technical and dramatic turn.” They were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, and they currently make their home in New York City.
The Aeolus Quartet are Grand Prizewinners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They were awarded First Prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, a Silver Medal at the 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and a Bronze Medal at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The Austin Critics' Table named the Aeolus Quartet their 2016-17 "Best Touring Performance” for Rambunctious, a collaboration with Spectrum Dance Theater. The Aeolus Quartet has released two critically acclaimed albums of classical and contemporary works through the Longhorn/Naxos label which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide.
The Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia in venues such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, Merkin Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.
Dedicated to bringing music into the community, the Aeolus Quartet has been widely recognized for their highly innovative and engaging outreach programs. For the 2015-2016 season, the Quartet was the recipient of a CMA Residency Partnership Grant. Named the 2015-2016 Guarneri Quartet Residency in recognition of Aeolus' artistic achievement, the project involved extensive outreach and performance at Duke Ellington School for the Arts, the Sitar Arts Center, and George Washington University. The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association awarded the Aeolus their 2013 Educator Award in acknowledgment of the positive impact their educational efforts have had in diverse communities. Additionally, they were awarded the 2012 Lad Prize which culminated in large-scale community engagement work, performing in the Stanford area, and a masterclass residency at Stanford University. The Aeolus Quartet has also served as teaching faculty at Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY), the Austin Chamber Music Workshop, and Da Camera of Houston's Music Encounters Program. Working in collaboration with the University of Texas through the Rural Chamber Music Outreach Initiative, the Quartet has presented educational programs and performances in communities throughout the state of Texas.
The Aeolus Quartet has collaborated with many leading artists, including Renee Fleming, Ida Kavafian, Joel Krosnick, and Paul Neubauer. They studied extensively with the Juilliard, Guarneri, St. Lawrence, and Miró Quartets. Other mentors include artists such as William Preucil, Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, Itzhak Perlman, Gerhard Schulz, and Mark Steinberg. Members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Maryland, and the University of Texas at Austin, where they served as Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence.
The Quartet’s 2017-18 includes a residency at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, multiple appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, a recital on the Lincoln Center's Great Performers series, and extensive touring throughout the United States. In addition, the Quartet is partnering with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit and NYU’s MUSED Lab to create an entirely new app-based educational music residency experience for schools.
Aeolus is the ensemble in residence at Musica Viva of NY on the Upper East Side. Thanks to the generosity of the Five Partners Foundation, the four members play on a set of instruments by famed Brooklyn luthier Samuel Zygmuntowicz. The Quartet is named for the Greek god Aeolus, who governed the four winds. This idea of a single spirit uniting four individual forces serves as an inspiration to the members of the Aeolus Quartet as they pursue their art.