Violist Brian Hong and cellist Caleb van der Swaagh join the ensemble in time for its upcoming season

Aizuri 2024-25 - Courtesy of the Artist

The Aizuri Quartet (l-r) Emma Frucht, Brian Hong, Caleb van der Swaagh and Miho Saegusa

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Following the departure of Karen Ouzounian and Ayane Kozasa earlier this year, the Aizuri Quartet has named Brian Hong and Caleb van der Swaagh as its new violist and cellist respectively, joining current members Emma Frucht and Miho Saegusa.

’We are thrilled to join forces with Brian and Caleb,’ shared the Aizuri Quartet. ’Their experiences as dynamic performers, passionate teachers, and creative thinkers will be great assets in this next chapter for Aizuri. We are honoured to welcome such thoughtful artists and beautiful humans into the quartet family. We look forward to powerful performances together, and we can’t wait to share our new dreams and vision with you all.’

Hong is a faculty member at Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he teaches viola and chamber music. For the past five years, he has served as co-artistic director of NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago. A Carnegie Hall Ensemble Connect alum and a Kovner Fellowship recipient, Hong studied violin with Laurie Smukler and Catherine Cho at Juilliard. He is the programming director of Project: Music Heals Us, a nonprofit providing musical education, access, and healing to isolated and marginalized communities.

Also an alumnus of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect fellowship programme, van der Swaagh has performed with ensembles including The Knights, A Far Cry and Orchestra of St. Lukes. A champion of contemporary music, he is a member of counter)induction and Ensemble Échappé. Additionally, he has performed with top New York City-based new music groups including Talea Ensemble, Argento New Music Project, and Hotel Elefant. He is currently a professor of cello at SUNY Purchase.

The announcement comes as the quartet prepares to embark on its upcoming 2023/24 performance season, which includes Community, a programme exploring human bonds and shared experiences; the premiere Jennifer Higdon’s Azure Waves, a piece composed for the quartet in partnership with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society; as well as residencies at University of Iowa and the New York Youth Symphony’s Crescendo programme. The quartet will also collaborate with Seth Parker Woods and Kirsten Docter at Chamber Music Detroit, Kim Kashkashian and Marcy Rosen at Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh at Chamber Music Concerts in Ashland, Oregon.

Aizuri Quartet violinist Emma Frucht will feature in an upcoming episode of The Strad Podcast.

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