A few weeks ago, the Kenari Quartet had the honor of competing in the inaugural M-Prize Chamber Arts competition. Aside from seeing many good friends and making music (which is always a privilege), it was wonderful to be a part of a visionary event that is making a valiant effort to move forward with the world of chamber music. Dean Aaron Dworkin of the University Michigan and the entire administrative staff of the competition fostered an extremely communal environment for the duration of the event. This competition was also one of the first major opportunities for nontraditional ensembles to compete as equals with the staple ensembles of chamber music like string quartets and traditional wind groups. The time for such creative ensembles to sit at the table is long overdue, and this is and will continue to be a step in the right direction.
While we are very happy to have been awarded the first prize in the winds division of the competition, we know that competition wins are never the end goal for any true artist. Through this success, we just hope to create more opportunities to share our artistic visions with the world. It’s very humbling to see the amazing careers that our inaugural M-Prize semi-finalist colleagues have already created for themselves. We are very excited to work beside all of these amazing musicians and friends to further develop the art of chamber music into the years and decades to come!
A few thank you’s are definitely in order because we could not do what we do alone. Thank you to the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance for creating this wonderful chamber music experience for all of us. Thank you to Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery and the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music for generously housing us for our intensive rehearsal schedule before the competition. Thank you to Taimur Sullivan, Northwestern University saxophone professor, for lending us masterful ears as we prepared to compete. Thank you to Dr. Otis Murphy, for being our saxophone professor and always pushing us to strive for the utmost refinement in sound and artistry.