Praised by Strad Magazine for their “high-octane” performance, the Aeolus Quartet is among the finest young string quartets performing today. Violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson formed the Aeolus Quartet in 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since its inception, the all-American quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States, and performed across the globe with showings "worthy of a major-league quartet" (Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News). Luke Quinton of the Austin-American Statesman writes, “The Aeolus Quartet is a powerful and thoughtful group of young musicians who are plotting an ascending course…this vibrant group shows great promise.”
The Aeolus Quartet are Grand Prize winners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition. They were also awarded First Prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Music Competition, a Silver Medal at the 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and a Bronze Medal at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The 16th Annual Austin Critics' Table also named the Aeolus Quartet their 2010-2011 "Best Ensemble." The Quartet's 2010-2011 season highlights include a two-week tour of China, a summer residency at the Austin Chamber Music Center, and concerts featuring the music of American composers across the United States made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Quartet has collaborated on stage with such artists as Eugenia Zukerman, Brian Lewis, DaXun Zhang, Zuill Bailey, Peter Salaff, and the Miró Quartet.
In the summer of 2010, the Aeolus Quartet was the Young Quartet-in-Residence at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in Vail, CO. Summer 2010 also included performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Perlman Music Program, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, and the Sunflower Music Festival. The Quartet has also participated in the Aspen Music Festival’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, the Banff Centre's Residency for Pre-formed Chamber Ensembles, the McGill International String Quartet Academy, and the Jeunesses Musicales International Chamber Course in Weikersheim, Germany.
Dedicated to bringing music into the community, the Aeolus Quartet designed and performed a program for elementary students in the Cleveland Public School system in an April 2009 project made possible by the Frances E. Sykora Outreach Performance Fund. The significant impact of this program has led to its becoming an ongoing project in the Cleveland Public School system. Working in collaboration with the University of Texas through the Rural Chamber Music Outreach Initiative, the Quartet has presented educational programs and performances in communities throughout the state of Texas.
The Aeolus Quartet has studied extensively with the Miró, Juilliard, Takács, and Artemis Quartets. The Quartet’s other mentors include artists such as Peter Salaff, William Preucil, Donald Weilerstein, James Dunham, Itzhak Perlman, Gerhard Schulz, Heime Müller, and Roger Tapping. The members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin, where they served as the first Graduate String Quartet in Residence. The Aeolus Quartet is currently the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet at the University of Maryland, where they are pursuing Doctoral degrees.
The Quartet is named for the Greek god Aeolus, the keeper of the four winds. He is known for welcoming Odysseus and his crew with music during their journey back to Ithaca in Homer’s Odyssey.