The Auriga String Quartet
is comprised of violinists Erik Rohde and Hillary Kingsley, violist Jacob Tews, and cellist Isaac Pastor-Chermak. Dedicated to the promotion of new works alongside standard repertoire, the group is known for their innovative and diverse programming. The group is comprised of four artist-teachers, who individually teach in private studios and serve on University faculties in several states, and as a group have focused on educational performances in University settings.
Violinist Erik Rohde is the Director of String Activities and Orchestra at Indiana State University where he conducts the Indiana State University Symphony Orchestra and teaches violin. He is artistic director of the Salomon Chamber Orchestra, the newly-appointed music director of the Winona Symphony Orchestra (MN), performs in the Quad Cities, Illinois, and Terre Haute Symphony Orchestras, and is the violinist of the new-music duo sonic apricity. More: http://erikrohde.com/
Violinist Hillary Kingsley is a freelance musician and teacher of violin and viola based in Saint Paul MN. She began playing violin at the age of 11 in her hometown of Marietta GA. Kingsley earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Georgia, where she studied violin with Michael Heald and viola with Maggie Snyder. While at UGA, Kingsley was a Foundation Fellow, Presser Scholar, and winner of the UGA Concerto Competition. After undergraduate studies, Kingsley moved to the Twin Cities to study violin with Sally O'Reilly at the University of Minnesota, where she recently completed her master's degree. She began to collaborate with the Kingsley Chamber Players during this time, a string quartet formed as a student group under the mentorship of Bruce Coppock. Kingsley has performed in master classes taught by the Ebène, Talich, Parisii, Tokyo, Juilliard, and St. Lawrence String Quartets, as well as members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Arnold Steinhardt. Her love of music extends to orchestral performance, and she currently plays with the Quad City Symphony and Orchestra Iowa.
Violist Jacob Tews is Director-in-Residence of Orchestras and Strings at Wartburg College in Waverly IA. He earned a DMA in viola performance with a secondary emphasis in music theory from the University of Minnesota. As a violist and violinist, he regularly performs recitals mixing standard and new repertoire. As an educator and conductor, Tews has enjoyed opportunities to teach at Wartburg College, Southern Illinois University (SIU), and the University of Minnesota. As a composer, he has had his works played throughout the country; his new double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra was premiered by Kiril Laskarov, Eric Lenz, and the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra in June 2018. When not teaching, rehearsing, performing, or composing music, Tews enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, has recently completed his third marathon (his first under 4 hours!), plays tennis well and golf poorly, and continues his pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. He currently lives in Waverly IA with his wife, Leith, and their six wonderful young children: Eliana, Quinton, Micaiah, Milo, Orli, and Ida.
Cellist Isaac Pastor-Chermak leads a diverse and active musical life at home in Northern California and around the United States. A quintessential 21st-century artist, he engages deeply as a cellist, teacher, conductor, and administrator, motivated by an abiding love of sharing great music with friends and collaborators. Though he is active in nearly every facet of today’s classical music profession, Pastor-Chermak is a career orchestral player. In any given weekend of the season, he can be found performing as Principal Cellist of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony; Associate Principal Cellist of the Stockton Symphony; Assistant Principal Cellist of Opera San Jose; and as a member of the Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, and the Dayton Philharmonic. During the summer season, he is Assistant Principal Cellist at the Eisenstadt Classical Music Festival in Austria, and Principal Cellist of the Lake Tahoe Music Festival. Pastor-Chermak holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. with honors) and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (M.M. with honors). He concluded his formal education in Orchestral Conducting at the University of California, Davis. He makes his home in the North Berkeley hills, but is at home wherever the music takes him.
The Janáček Trio
Founded in 2001 by pianist Markéta Janáčková, the Janáček Trio made its first public appearance in the same year. Since then the Trio has been representing Czech music in successful concert performances both abroad and in its home country. The Trio is composed of violinist Irena Jakubcová (Czech Philharmonic 1st assistant concertmaster), cellist Jan Keller (Czech Philharmonic member), and Markéta Janáčková (the Trio’s pianist). The Trio assumed the name of the famous Czech composer in 2005 with the agreement of the Leoš Janáček Foundation.
The Janáček Trio’s most prestigious performances include their concert as part of the “Concerts autour de Janáček” in the Opera National-Studio Bastille in Paris; a concert of the Fundación Juan March in Madrid where the Trio was invited as the only Czech ensemble to perform in conclusion of a Czech Music series; the Trio’s appearances in the Prague Premieres series held by the Czech Philharmonic in the Prague’s Rudolfinum Concert Hall; a concert in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum as part of the Czech Chamber Music Society where the Trio performed the Piano Trio by Alfred Schnittke at a Czech premiere; participation in the Janáček’s May festival, in the Nocturna of Třeboň festival, the Ludwig van Beethoven’s Festival, to name a few.
The Janáček Trio has also been presented at the MIDEM Music Fair in Cannes, France, where it appeared in the Talent Only series. The Trio made concert tours in Canada, Germany, and Denmark. With the support of the Allianz Insurance Company, the Leoš Janáček Foundation and the Artist’s Life Foundation, the Janáček Trio held a series of chamber music concerts in Prague’s St Lawrence Church, a traditional Prague Spring venue, where it also performed complete works for violin, cello, and piano by Leoš Janáček.
The Trio’s repertoire spans musical styles from baroque to the 21st Century, focusing on the works of Czech composers, and also premiering contemporary Czech music. Thus in February 2007 the Trio premiered Trio Boemo by Zdeněk Lukáš in the Opera National, Paris. In 2008, new compositions were dedicated to the Trio, written by Jiří Gemrot, Ivo Bláha, and Milan Slavický respectively.
The Janáček Trio makes frequent recordings for the Czech Radio, and has cooperated with such orchestral bodies as the Prague Chamber Orchestra and the Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc. In 2006, with the support of the Allianz Insurance Company, the Trio made their first album of the works by Antonín Dvořák, Josef Suk, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This successful release paved the way to another recording, this time an album of Alfred Schnittke’s chamber works for Praga Digitals (Harmonia Mundi stores, the French label) which was made to mark the 10-year anniversary of the composer’s death. This album has received high critical acclaim in prestigious international music magazines such as Diapason, Ensemble, Strad, Opus Haute Definition, as well as in local publications such as Hudební rozhledy, and in the Czech Radio program Rondo. The Trio’s most recent album is a digital recording of complete piano trios by the Czech composer Josef Bohuslav Foerster which was released under the Supraphon label in 2012 to positive critical acclaim.
The Janáček Trio also appeared at a concert in the Prague Spring Festival and at a concert marking the 120th anniversary of the Czech Chamber Music Society in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague.
Irena Jakubcová (violin): The Czech Philharmonic 1st assistant concertmaster, Irena Jakubcova came from a musical family and performs as a chamber player at concert venues both in her native Czech Republic and abroad. She has been a member of Janáček Trio since 2011.
Jan Keller (violoncello): Czech Philharmonic member Jan Keller is also involved in jazz (Night Optics, Transitus Irregularis, Jana Koubková Quartet). Since 2016 he has also been a member of the chamber orchestra Haydn ensemble. He has been teaching at the Prague Conservatory of Jaroslav Ježek.
Markéta Janáčková (piano): As music director, Markéta Janáčková has been cooperating with the Czech Radio since 2009. As a pianist she performs at concerts and makes recordings for Czech Radio. Her teaching activities include piano instruction at the English International School of Prague.