By Vivien Schweitzer
April 10, 2007
The Borromeo String Quartet, violinist Yura Lee and double bassist DaXun Zhang have been named winners of the 2007 Avery Fisher Career Grants, worth $25,000 each.
The honorees will receive their prizes at a ceremony tonight (April 10) at Lincoln Center's Kaplan Penthouse. At the same event, violinist Joshua Bell (himself a 1986 Career Grant recipient) will be presented with the 2007 Avery Fisher Prize, which was announced last month.
The ceremony, which includes performances by all the prizewinners, is being recorded by WQXR-FM for radio broadcast on April 17, from 7-8 p.m.; the program, hosted by Jeff Spurgeon, will also be nationally syndicated (for the first time) by the WFMT Radio Network. This year marks the 31st time WQXR has broadcast these festivities.
In addition, the Avery Fisher Artist program, with the aid of PBS Live from Lincoln Center executive producer John Goberman, provides recipients with a DVD of their performances at the reception.
The Borromeo String Quartet -- violinists Nicholas Kitchen and Kristopher Tong, violist Mai Motobuchi and cellist Yeesun Kim -- was formed in 1989 in Stressa, Italy and is now based at the New England Conservatory, where they are faculty quartet-in-residence.
Highlights of the group's 2007-08 season include performing the complete Shostakovich quartet cycle at Boston's Gardner Museum, artist residencies in Israel at the Jerusalem Music Academy and in France for ProQuartet, the premiere of a concerto by Lera Auerbach for String Quartet and Orchestra with the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra in Ohio, a series of educational projects with the Library of Congress and studio recordings of music by composer Steven Mackey.
Born in South Korea in 1985, violinist/violist Yura Lee moved to the U.S. in 1994. In recent seasons she has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Tokyo Philharmonic. She made her Carnegie Hall debut during the 1999-2000 season with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra.
From 1994 to 2001, Lee studied at the Juilliard School under the late Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang; she then studied with Miriam Fried and Paul Biss at Indiana University and the New England Conservatory. She plays a 1778 Gagliano violin, on loan from the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival.
DaXun Zhang was born in Harbin, China in 1981 into a family of double bassists. In 2003 he became the first double bass player to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions; in April 2006 he performed Bizet's Carmen Fantasy in YCA's annual Irene Diamond Concert, with Keith Lockhart conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke's.
Zhang studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, then in the U.S. at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He received his Artist Diploma from Indiana University School of Music, where he worked with Lawrence Hurst. He is currently on the double bass faculty at Northwestern University.
Since the first Avery Fisher Career Grants were given in 1976, 105 have been awarded; former recipients include Leila Josefowicz, Edgar Meyer, Tai Murray, Christopher O'Riley, Gil Shaham and David Shifrin. Up to five Career Grants are given each year to U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.