Aizuri Quartet: Verve With Attention to Detail

Feb 12, 2016

The Aizuri Quartet will be appearing in Honolulu February 13th, 2016, at Orvis Auditorium. They've performed concerts recently in Chile, Mexico, Europe and all through the United States.
Credit Suzuran Photography


The Aizuri Quartet (l-r): Ayane Kozasa, Zoe Martin-Doike, Miho Saegusa, and Karen Ouzounian.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

   Subtleties of color, images with detail and refinement, those are the qualities of aizuri-e,  the Prussian blue Japanese wood block prints.  The four young players in the Aizuri Quartet say they identify with those qualities, and try to embody them in their music.  The Aizuri Quartet has been hailed for that most elusive of qualities, the perfect balance between virtuosity and the sound of the whole, and they're bringing their brand of exuberance and meticulousness to Honolulu.

The Honolulu Chamber Music Series continues with the Aizuri Quartet at Orvis Auditorium this Saturday, 7:30pm.  

Violinist Zoe Martin-Doike was born in Honolulu and home schooled here before moving to further violin studies in Indiana.  She soloed with the Honolulu Symphony and was featured on From the Top while she lived here in Hawai‘I.  She says she remembers the hours of practicing very well, and figures it was worth it because her diligence was rewarded by acceptance to the Curtis Institute of Music In Pennsylvania.

Violinist Zoe Martin-Doike was born in Hawai'i and spent her early years here.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Young musicians, if you’re really serious, homeschool so you can practice the required hours per day and  shoot for this:  the Curtis institute, with only 170 tuition subsidized students.  The members of the Aizuri Quartet all attended Curtis, Yale and/or Juilliard.  They’ve been together three years, and they are now the Quartet-in-Residence at Curtis Institute.

Great quartets have their own voice, and sharp ears at Curtis, at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London, and elsewhere attest to the Aizuri Quartet’s award winning sound.   

Cellist, Karen Ouzounian says there’s a lot of passion and a lot of attention to detail involved, going to the heart of the composer and the score, then refining that

Violist Ayane Kozasa says they can easily spend  two hours on just half a page of music.  Violinist Miho Saegusa says they call it a laboratory because they try everything—then those options become part of the repertoire.  It’s kind of like running plays.  Ouzounian says they don’t just figure, “Oh, it’s fine.”

That’s good news for audiences.  Composers wrote some of their most personal works for quartet.  

And coming up Saturday, Beethoven, Schumann, and a new piece composed for the Aizuri quartet by Gabriella Smith.

Smith wanted to take the string quartet form, which is over 200 years old and put a new spin on it.  It’s titled Carrot Revolution, recalling painter Paul Cezanne’s remark, “The day will come when a freshly observed carrot will start a revolution.”  As the harbinger of cubism, he was right.  In the 21st century, people are realizing what’s called classical music, interpreted today, is today’s music.  Martin-Doike says it’s time for millennials to own the art that’s being made in this time, by people of this generation.

These four musicians could be soloing---and they have---but they’re committed to the personal, very intimate music making quartets are all about.  At least for now.    

The Honolulu Chamber Music Series is launched every year by a steady core of volunteer music lovers.  Find out more about their mission and events.  Sarah Chang and Julio Elizalde are coming next, Tuesday, March 8th.

Find tickets through Outreach College at UH Mānoa.