Cézanne Quartet Named First Winner of New Peak Fellowship Ensemble-In-Residence at SMU Meadows School of the Arts

Group will present free public concerts October 19, 2015, and April 23, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium


The Cézanne Quartet, a Dallas-based chamber music ensemble, has been named the inaugural winner of the new Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. The group will be in residence at SMU from August 2015 through May 2017 and will present two free concerts at the Meadows School in the 2015-16 season:  Monday, October 19 and Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus.

Formed in 2014, the Cézanne Quartet enjoys an active performing career in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.  The group includes four Meadows music students and alumni: senior Eleanor Dunbar, violin; Mai Ke, who studied at the National Music Academy of Ukraine and earned a Performer’s Diploma at Meadows in 2014, violin; Steven Juarez, who studied at the Peabody Conservatory and SMU, viola; and Elizabeth White, who earned her bachelor’s degree in May, cello. At SMU, the group members have studied with Emanuel Borok, Ellen Rose, Christopher Adkins and Andrés Díaz.  They have appeared in master classes with such renowned ensembles as the Escher Quartet, the Miró Quartet and the American String Quartet. This March, the group won second place in the senior division of the national Coltman Chamber Music Competition in Austin. Other appearances in 2015 include the Bridge the Gap Chamber Series, the Meadows Virtuosi Players, the Texas Christian University CelloFest, the Open Classical Artist Series and Ensemble 75.

Launched this past winter, the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence is a two-year fellowship open to chamber music groups internationally. It is open to ensembles of any instrumental combination with three or more members, whose average age must be no more than 30; the group must also reside in or relocate to Dallas-Fort Worth while serving as fellows. The fellowship includes a $40,000 annual stipend for two years; support for a self-directed, career-advancing project in the second year (e.g. a commission, recording, concert tour etc.); a rehearsal studio on the SMU campus; opportunities to perform in Meadows’ concert series; and more. Each year between 2015 and 2018, one winning ensemble will be appointed as a Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence.

The fellowship was made possible by a generous gift from a graduate of SMU. “We are very grateful with this support to be able to provide an outstanding opportunity for talented chamber ensembles to further their careers while contributing to the musical life of SMU and Dallas,” said Sam Holland, dean of the Meadows School.

Each winning group will work closely with coordinator Matt Albert, artist-in-residence and director of chamber music at SMU Meadows, to plan artistic and pedagogical goals to place the group on a sustainable, differentiated career path after the completion of the fellowship.

“The early years of a chamber music group’s career can be very challenging,” says Albert, a three-time Grammy winner for music recorded with the new music ensemble eighth blackbird. “Early on, there is little guaranteed income, high expenses for travel to gigs, auditions and conferences and the need to spend valuable time and infrastructure on self-promotion and publicity. The Peak Fellowship is intended to provide a cushion that will allow a young group to dedicate more of their time to these endeavors while providing them a home in a large, growing metropolitan area with exciting opportunities for chamber music groups.”

For more information about the Peak Fellowship, visit here.