Joel Link : violin
Bryan Lee : violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt : viola
Camden Shaw : cello
Brook Speltz : cello (guest)
About the Performers
Curtis on Tour is the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music. Grounded in the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy, it offers students real-world, professional touring experience alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. In addition to performing, musicians offer master classes, interactive programs, and community engagement activities while on tour. Curtis on Tour also facilitates solo performances of Curtis students and alumni with professional orchestras and recital series. Since the program was established in 2008, students, faculty, and alumni have performed more than 300 concerts in over 90 cities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Hailed as “the next Guarneri Quartet” (Chicago Tribune) and “the young American string quartet of the moment,” (New Yorker), the Dover Quartet catapulted to international stardom in 2013, following a stunning sweep of all prizes at the Banff Competition and has since become one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world. In addition to its faculty role as the inaugural Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Dover Quartet holds residencies with the Kennedy Center, Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Artosphere, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in New York. Among the group’s honors are the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award. The Dover Quartet has also won top prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.
In the 2020–21 season, the Dover Quartet debuts with Berkeley’s Cal Performances and New York’s 92nd Street Y, performs in venues in London and Copenhagen, and embarks on its first-ever tour of Latin America, which will be conducted using virtual technology. Upcoming tour performances include collaborations with the Escher Quartet, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, and harpist Bridget Kibbey. The quartet’s first volume of the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle, which focuses on the composer’s Op. 18 quartets, is set to release from Cedille Records in September 2020.
The ensemble is recording the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle for Cedille Records. The label previously released the quartet’s Voices of Defiance: 1943, 1944, 1945 in October 2017; and an all-Mozart debut recording in the 2016–17 season, featuring the late Michael Tree, violist of the Guarneri Quartet. Voices of Defiance, which explores works written during World War II by Viktor Ullman, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Simon Laks, was lauded upon its release as “undoubtedly one of the most compelling discs released this year,” (Wall Street Journal).
The Dover Quartet draws from the lineage of the distinguished Guarneri, Cleveland, and Vermeer quartets. Its members studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where they were mentored extensively by Shmuel Ashkenasi, James Dunham, Norman Fischer, Kenneth Goldsmith, Joseph Silverstein, Arnold Steinhardt, Michael Tree, and Peter Wiley. It was at Curtis that the Dover Quartet formed, and its name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber.
Brook Speltz, cello
Praised for his “fluid virtuosity” and “soulful melodies,” Los Angeles native Brook Speltz has been inspired since childhood by the long tradition of deep musical mastery of artists such as Jascha Heifetz, Pierre Fournier, and the Guarneri String Quartet. Mr. Speltz is the cellist of the internationally renowned Escher String Quartet—Quartet-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas–and an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
An extremely versatile cellist, Mr. Speltz has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and recitalist throughout the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. First Prize winner of the prestigious Ima Hogg Competition, he has performed as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and International Contemporary Ensemble, among others, and is a regular performer at England’s IMS Prussia Cove and on tour with Musicians from Marlboro. An avid and sought after chamber musician, Mr. Speltz has been personally invited by musical giants such as Itzhak Perlman and Richard Goode to collaborate in chamber music recitals and tours throughout the country. As a result of these collaborations, he has been nominated for the inaugural Warner Music Prize, a newly established prize presented by Warner Music and Carnegie Hall.
A lover of all facets of the music world, Mr. Speltz has enjoyed performing on extensive tours with the cello rock band Break of Reality, whose online video of the Game of Thrones cover immediately went viral and has already received over 8.5 million views. Their recent U.S. tour raised funds and awareness for music programs in public schools all around the country. Mr. Speltz studied at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music with Peter Wiley and at the Juilliard School with Joel Krosnick, after his formative years of study with Eleanor Schoenfeld in Los Angeles. He performs on a 1756 J.C. Gigli on loan from his father, a cellist and his first inspiration in a family of professional musicians.