Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often–daring repertory choices, the Pacifica Quartet—Simin Ganatra and Sibbi Bernhardsson, violins; Masumi Per Rostad, viola; Brandon Vamos, cello—has gained international stature as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. The Pacifica recently became quartet–in–residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—a position held for 43 years by the Guarneri String Quartet. In 2009, the group was named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America and received a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.
Formed in 1994, the Pacifica Quartet quickly won chamber music's top competitions, including the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 2002, the ensemble was honored with Chamber Music America's Cleveland Quartet Award and the appointment to Lincoln Center's CMS Two. In 2006, the Pacifica was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, becoming only the second chamber ensemble honored in the Grant's long history. Also in 2006, the Quartet was featured on the cover of Gramophone and heralded as one of "five new quartets you should know about," the only American quartet to make the list.
The Pacifica Quartet tours extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and performs in the world's major concert halls. Having given highly acclaimed performances of the complete Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Carter string quartets in recent seasons, the Quartet presented the monumental Shostakovich cycle in Chicago, New York, and Champaign, Illinois, during the 2010–2011 season. In summer 2011, the Quartet presented the complete Beethoven cycle at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, in an unprecedented presentation of five concerts over three days. In 2011–2012, the Quartet plays the Shostakovich cycle in London's Wigmore Hall and performs the complete Beethoven quartets at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
An ardent advocate of contemporary music, the Pacifica Quartet regularly commissions and performs new works. It has been widely praised for its single–concert performances of Elliott Carter's five–quartet cycle in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and abroad. Critics have called these groundbreaking concerts "brilliant," "astonishing," and "breathtaking." In 2008, the Quartet released its Grammy Award–winning recording of Carter's quartets Nos. 1 and 5 on the Naxos label; the 2009 release of quartets Nos. 2, 3, and 4 completed the two–CD set. The Quartet's other recordings, including Mendelssohn's complete works for string quartet and Declarations: Music Between the Wars, both on Cedille Records, have also attracted international acclaim.
The members of the Pacifica Quartet were appointed to the faculty of the University of Illinois, Champaign–Urbana, in 2003, and the ensemble serves as quartet–in–residence there. In addition to their recent appointment as quartet–in–residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pacifica Quartet also serves as resident performing artist at the University of Chicago.
For more information, please visit www.pacificaquartet.com.