The Culver Academies string orchestra had the opportunity to learn from some of the best young musicians in the Midwest when the 2018 grand prize winners of the Fischoff Competition visited campus Thursday.
The Callisto Quartet, winners of the Fischoff grand prize and senior string division last spring, conducted a master class with orchestra members Thursday afternoon before their public performance in the Legion Memorial Building that evening.
Paul Aguilar, violin, Rachel Stenzel, violin, Eva Kennedy, viola, and Hannah Moses, cello, are students or graduate students at the Cleveland Institute of Music. They formed the Callisto Quartet in 2016 to share their love of chamber music.
During their question-and-answer session, the four members talked about the number of hours they practice individually and as a group (up to 10 hours a day), preparing for a competition (playing a new piece 20 times or more), and walking on stage to visualize how a performance will go later that evening.
The winning Fischoff groups traditionally do a fall tour of communities surrounding South Bend and the University of Notre Dame, where the competition is held. The quartet’s other performances included Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., the Chicago Cultural Center, the Young Artists Conservatory in Highwood, Ill., and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame.
The quartet’s achievements include taking the top prize at the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition where they were the only North American quartet selected to compete. They also were prize winners at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition.
Founded in 1973, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition is conducted at the University of Notre Dame and has grown to become the largest chamber music competition in the world. Culver Academies has hosted a master class and concert by the winning group since the regional tour was established.