ABOUT THE QUARTET
Lauded for their "intelligence" and “immensely satisfying” playing by the New York Times, the Amernet String Quartet has garnered
worldwide praise and recognition as one of today's exceptional string quartets. Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University since 2004, the group was formed in 1991, while its founding members were students at the Juilliard School. Amernet rose to international attention after their first season, winning the Gold Medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition in 1992. In 1995, the group was the First Prize winner of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Their busy performance schedule has taken the group across the United States, as well as to Japan, Korea, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Romania, Switzerland, and Mexico. They have collaborated with numerous artists and ensembles including the Tokyo, St. Lawrence, and Ying string quartets as well as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Andres Diaz, Roberto Diaz, Miriam Fried, Yehuda Hanani, Gary Hoffman, Toby Hoffman, Ida Kavafian, Paul Katz, Anton Kuerti, Ruth Laredo, Seymour Lipkin, Anthony McGill, Rainer Moog, Shauna Rolston, Nathaniel Rosen, Barry Snyder, Eric Shumsky, James Tocco, Dame Gillian Weir, Kyung Wha-Chung, and Zvi Zeitlin.
Prior to their appointment at Florida International University, the Amernet was, from 2000-2004, Corbett String Quartet in Residence at Northern Kentucky University, where they directed the Patricia A. Corbett String Program. From 1996-2000, the ensemble held a residency at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where they taught chamber music. Additionally, from 2004-2005 they served as the Ernst Stiefel Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for the Arts. Among the Amernet's engagements have been appearances at Ravinia, Lincoln Center, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Harvard Musical Association, and at major festivals around the world, including San Miguel de Allende, Great Lakes, Morelia, and Bowdoin.
The Amernet Quartet has conducted workshops and master classes in Buffalo (NY), Memphis (TN), Erie (PA), Los Angeles (CA), and Logan (UT), among other cities, as well as at Penn State and Columbia universities and at Antioch College. They founded the Norse Festival, a summer chamber music workshop at Northern Kentucky University, which provides an opportunity for young musicians from the region to work intensively in chamber groups. Currently the quartet hosts an annual summer chamber music camp in Miami called Animato.
The Amernet String Quartet has received grants from the Corbett Foundation, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the LaSalle Foundation, the Fine Arts Fund, the Cincinnati Chamber Music Society, and the Amernet Society for school outreach projects, commissions of new chamber music works, and for their unique concert and conversation series. The group was the recipient of a Chamber Music Rural Residency Award in 1995. During that year they divided their time among the communities of Johnstown, Somerset and Indiana, Pennsylvania.
The Amernet has always been committed to the music of our time and has commissioned works from many of today's leading composers, working closely with composers including Anthony Brandt, John Corigliano, Stephen Dankner, David Epstein, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Gerhard Samuel, and Morton Subotnick. Additionally, the group has made many recordings, among which are the Concerto for Clarinet, Oboe, String Quartet and Bass by John Harbison with Sara Lambert Bloom and Charles Neidich as soloists; The Butterflies began to Sing, a work for string quartet, bass, MIDI keyboard and computer, by Morton Subotnick; an album of quartets by the American composer Stephen Dankner; and a pairing of the Debussy String Quartet and the Chausson Concerto for Piano, Violin and String Quartet, with James Tocco and Yehonatan Berick. The Amernet also actively advocates for neglected works of the past and aims to enliven the concert experience through its innovative programming.
Misha Vitenson, Violin
Misha Vitenson, violinist, began violin studies with his father, Yuri Vitenson, in his native city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In 1990, Misha immigrated to Israel and continued his studies with Chaim Taub. During his time in Israel, Mr. Vitenson won numerous prizes and awards, including annual America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarships and the prestigious Braun Zingel Award as winner of a competition held at the Rubin Music Academy in Jerusalem.
In 1996, Mr. Vitenson continued his studies with Sergiu Schwartz at the Harid Conservatory. He was subsequently awarded top prizes in international violin competitions, including Premio Paganini (Italy, 1998) and Pablo de Sarasate (Spain, 1997) and First Prize in the 1998 Città d'Andria International Violin Competition (Italy). Mr. Vitenson was the winner of the 1999 Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition and First Prizewinner at the 2000 National Society of Arts and Letters Violin Competition and is also both a two-time winner of the Harid Conservatory Concerto Competition and a two-time recipient of the Harid Conservatory's Joseph Gingold Award for Excellence (1998 & 2000). Mr. Vitenson's recent engagements have included appearances as soloist with all the major orchestras in Israel, including the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, and the Israel Chamber Orchestra as well as with the Padova e Venetto Orchestra on tour in Brazil, the National Uzbekistan Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival Symphonia Orchestra, the Harid Philharmonia, and the Harid Chamber Strings. Mr. Vitenson has given recitals and chamber music concerts throughout Israel, the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe. As a member of the Kinneret Piano Trio, he participated in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall in 1995.
After receiving the Bachelor of Music from Harid Conservatory School of Music at Lynn University, Mr. Vitenson became a student of Joel Smirnoff at the Juilliard School, where he earned the Master of Music Degree. There he appeared as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall under the baton of Hugh Wolff. In the fall of 2002, Mr. Vitenson joined the Amernet String Quartet and the faculty at Northern Kentucky University as an Artist-in-Residence, teaching violin and chamber music. Currently, he is Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University.
Marcia Littley, Violin
Marcia Littley, violinist and founding member of the quartet, received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Juilliard School as a student of Naoko Tanaka and Dorothy DeLay.
As a member of the Amernet String Quartet, she was the winner of the First Prize in the Fifth Banff International String Quartet Competition; First Prize in the 1992 Tokyo International Music Competition, with the Special Asahi Award; Grand Prize winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; and First Prize winner of the Yellow Springs National Chamber Music Competition. She holds the Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ms. Littley's other teachers have included James Ceasar, Jerrie Lucktenberg and Sally O'Reilly. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States and in Mexico, and has participated in music festivals including Aspen, Ravinia, Interlochen, Tanglewood, and the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall.
From 1996 to 2000, Ms. Littley taught chamber music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and from 2000-2004 she was Artist–in-Residence at Northern Kentucky University. Currently, she is Artist-in Residence at Florida International University, where she teaches violin and chamber music.
Michael Klotz, Viola
Born in 1978 in Rochester, NY, Michael Klotz made his solo debut with the Rochester Philharmonic at the age of 17. He has also appeared as soloist with the Miami Symphony, Eastman Philharmonia, Mannes Bach Festival Orchestra, Bowdoin Festival Orchestra, and the World Youth Symphony in London, England. Of a recent performance of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with violist Roberto Diaz, the Portland Press-Herald proclaimed, "this concert squelched all viola jokes, now and forever, due to the talents of Diaz and Klotz."
Michael Klotz joined the Amernet String Quartet in 2002. In addition, Klotz has performed at some of New York's most important venues, among which are Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, MoMA, Bargemusic, and the Kosciuzsko Foundation. His festival appearances have included Newport, Caramoor, Great Lakes, Skaneateles, Beverly Hills, Music Mountain, Bowdoin, Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, and Miami Mainly Mozart.
Mr. Klotz has collaborated with many of today's leading artists, including the Ying Quartet, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Andres Diaz, Roberto Diaz, James Tocco, David Jolley, Joel Smirnoff, Clive Greensmith, Todd Palmer, Zvi Zeitlin, Fred Sherry, Toby Appel, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Sergiu Schwartz, and Anthony McGill, as well as with principal players of the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In 2002, he was was invited by Maestro Jaime Laredo to perform with distinguished alumni at the 30th anniversary concert of the New York String Orchestra Seminar in Carnegie Hall.
Michael Klotz is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the Performer's Certificate. In 2002 he became one of the few individuals to be awarded a double Master's Degree in violin and viola from the Juilliard School. Also a dedicated teacher, Mr. Klotz is Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University, where he teaches viola and chamber music. He has also been a member of the artist faculty of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Beverly Hills International Music Festival, and the Killington Music Festival. His former students currently attend prestigious conservatories, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music and are already achieving leading roles in the music world. Michael Klotz is currently Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University.
Jason Calloway, Cello
Cellist Jason Calloway has performed to acclaim throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East as soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared at festivals including Lucerne, Spoleto USA, Darmstadt, Klangspuren (Austria), Acanthes (France), Perpignan, Valencia, Citta' della Pieve (Italy), Jerash (Jordan), Casals (Puerto Rico), Blossom, Brevard, Great Lakes, Kingston, Rockport, Sedona, Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, the New York String Seminar, and Encore. Currently cellist of the Amernet String Quartet, Artists-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami, Mr. Calloway was previously a member of the Naumburg award-winning Biava Quartet, formerly in residence at the Juilliard School.
He has collaborated in chamber music with members of the Cleveland, Curtis, Juilliard, and Miami quartets and with principal players of most of the world's leading orchestras, as well as with artists including Shmuel Ashkenasi, Roberto Diaz, Gary Hoffman, Ida Kavafian, Kim Kashkashian, Ricardo Morales, and the Penderecki and Tokyo quartets. Mr. Calloway gave his Carnegie Hall recital debut under the auspices of Artists International and has also been heard in New York at Alice Tully Hall, Steinway Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the 92nd Street Y, and the Polish Consulate; in Los Angeles at Disney Hall, the Bing Theatre, the Skirball Center and Pepperdine University; in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center and at Strathmore; in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music, the Ethical Society, and the Kimmel Center; and live on NPR, WFMT (Chicago), KMZT (Los Angeles), WQXR (NYC), WFLN (Philadelphia), and on RAI television (Italy).
A devoted advocate of new music, Mr. Calloway has performed with leading ensembles around the world as well as alongside members of Ensemble Modern and the Arditti and JACK quartets, and with the New Juilliard Ensemble both in New York and abroad, in addition to frequent appearances in Philadelphia with Bowerbird, Soundfield, and Network for New Music. Among the hundreds of premieres he has presented are solo and ensemble works of Berio, Knussen, Lachenmann, and Pintscher, and he has collaborated intensively with some of today's most important composers including Birtwistle, Carter, Davidovsky, Dusapin, Henze, Hosokawa, Husa, Franke, Rihm, and Yannay. As a dedicated supporter of young composers, he has for several seasons presented a series of concerts of solo cello works newly composed for him, most recently at Harvard and Temple universities, and at Spoleto USA gave the public premiere of Yanov-Yanovsky's Hearing Solutions for cello and ensemble, in addition to recent appearances at Bowdoin College, the College of Charleston, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Mr. Calloway prizes his work with Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble InterContemporain, both at the Lucerne Festival and at the Zug (Switzerland) Kunsthaus in Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire and Serenade as part of a major Kandinsky/Gerstl exhibit, in addition to his collaborations with the violinist Gilles Apap and with tap dancer Savion Glover. He is also artistic director of Shir Ami (www.shiramimusic.com), an ensemble dedicated to the preservation and performance of Jewish art music suppressed by the Nazis and Soviets, and with which he appears frequently across the US and in the ensemble's varied performances in Austria and Hungary; and In Flux, an ensemble committed to performing vocal chamber music by the leading composers of today and the recent past. A native of Philadelphia, Jason Calloway is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California. His teachers have included Ronald Leonard, Orlando Cole, Rohan de Saram, Lynn Harrell, Fred Sherry, Robert Cafaro, Joel Sachs, Felix Galimir, Luis Biava, and Seymour Lipkin. Mr. Calloway is grateful for the assistance of the Maestro Foundation.