Nina Bernat and the Isidore Quartet will both receive $25,000 to advance their musical careers

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Left: Nina Bernat © Masa Kuwajima

Right: Isidore Quartet © Charles Chessler

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On Tuesday 28 March, at 6 p.m. (ET), five 2023 Avery Fisher Career Grants will be announced by the Avery Fisher Artist Programme’s chair, Deborah Borda, and the Fisher family. The recipients being honoured at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR are Nina Bernat, double bassist; Bokyung Byun, guitarist; Emi Ferguson, flute player; Evren Ozel, pianist; and the Isidore Quartet. 

Avery Fisher Career Grants of the Avery Fisher Artist Programme are designed to give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists, as well as chamber ensembles, who demonstrate great potential for major careers in classical music. Each recipient receives an award of $25,000, to be used for specific needs in advancing a career.

Double bassist Nina Bernat is a first prize winner of the 2022 Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach String Competition, 2019 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition, and first and grand prize winner of the 2022 Minnesota Orchestra Young Artist Competition.  At age 19, she appeared as guest principal of the Israel Philharmonic under András Schiff and Osmo Vänskä, as well as with the New York Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel.  As a recipient of the 2019 Keston MAX Fellowship, she performed with the London Symphony Orchestra on a subscription series concert at the Barbican Centre and in a chamber music concert for LSO Discovery Day at LSO St. Luke’s. 

Bernat began studying under the instruction of her father and former member of the Israel Philharmonic, Mark Bernat.  She has continued her studies with double bassist Tim Cobb and cellist Astrid Schween at The Juilliard School and is a recipient of the Kovner Fellowship.

The Isidore Quartet, comprising violinists Adrian Steele and Phoenix Avalon, violist Devin Moore, and cellist Joshua McClendon, began as an ensemble at The Juilliard School in 2019.  Following a break during the global pandemic, the four reconvened at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in the summer of 2021 under the tutelage of Joel Krosnick.

The quartet won the 14th Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2022, resulting in extensive tours of North America and Europe, a two-year appointment as the Peak Fellowship ensemble-in-residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, performances at Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt and at Lucerne Festival, plus a two-week residency at Banff Centre, including a professionally produced recording, along with extensive ongoing coaching, career guidance, and mentorship.

Performances by all five Career Grant recipients for an invited audience will follow the announcement. Hosted by WQXR’s Elliott Forrest, the Career Grant performances will also be webcast live by WQXR, New York’s all-classical music station, and broadcast on Tuesday 11 April at 9 p.m. and Saturday 15 April at 7 p.m. on 105.9 FM. 

Since 1976, 171 Career Grants have been awarded (including this year’s grants), and all recipients are currently active musicians. Former Career Grant recipients in recent years include violinists Tessa Lark, Francisco Fullana, Rachell Ellen Wong, Stella Chen,Geneva Lewis, Kevin Zhu and Randall Goosby; cellists Zlatomir Fung, Sterling Elliott and Oliver Herbert; double bassist Xavier Foley; plus the Calidore and JACK Quartets.

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