Bio

Since their explosive debut in 1989, the critically acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet have become one of the most sought after strings quartets in the world, performing over 100 concerts of classical and contemporary literature across three continents each season. Audiences and critics alike champion their revealing explorations of Beethoven, Bartok, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, and Golijov, and their affinity for making even the most challenging contemporary repertoire approachable and enlightening. The Borromeo Quartet’s long-standing and celebrated residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been called “one of the defining experiences of civilization in Boston” [Boston Globe] and their ongoing concert series at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York has been hailed as “one of New York’s best kept secrets” [New York Sun].

As Quartet-in-Residence at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music for seventeen years, the Borromeo have made opening the doors of perception to chamber music their principle mission. Their informal public masterclass series at NEC, “Early Evenings with the Borromeo,” regularly attracts standing-room-only crowds. The ensemble is also an artist-in-residence at Dai-Ichi Semei Hall in Tokyo, and return to New Mexico this Summer for a fourth season of mentoring emerging musicians at the famed Taos School of Music.

The Chicago Tribune calls the Borromeo “a remarkably accomplished string quartet, not simply for its high technical polish and refined tone, but more importantly for the searching musical insights it brings.” The San Diego Reader calls their performances “a musical experience of luminous beauty,” and the Boston Globe says "Each of the greatest string quartets has redefined what the possibilities of the medium are: through the perfection of its ensemble and intonation, through its poise and its passion, the Borromeos are recreating the medium anew and we are lucky to be here to hear it.”

Since their explosive debut in 1989, the Borromeo have been regularly heard in the world’s most illustrious concert halls, including the Philharmonie, Casals Halls, the Concertgebouw, Opera Bastille, and Wigmore Hall. In the United States, the group is a favorite at Weill Recital Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, and the National Gallery. The quartet is regularly invited to perform in distinguished chamber music series across the United States and abroad and has participated in the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Orlando Festival in the Netherlands, the Stavanger Festival in Norway, Music Isle Festival in Korea, and in North America at the Ravinia, Tanglewood, Caramoor, Santa Fe, Rockport, Cape Cod, and Vancouver chamber music festivals, among others. First violinist Nicholas Kitchen recently completed a six-year tenure as Artistic Director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music.

In April 2007 the Borromeo Quartet was the recipient of prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2006 the Aaron Copland House honored the Borromeo's commitment to contemporary music by creating the Borromeo Quartet Award, an annual initiative that will premiere the work of important young composers to audiences internationally. It has enjoyed collaborations with John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Mackey, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Gunther Schuller, Jennifer Higdon, Derek Bermel, Lior Navok, and Lera Auerbach.

The Borromeos were commissioned by the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society in 2005 to conduct a five-month long series of outreach concerts throughout the city focused on the music of Béla Bartók, including Bartók Night, a one act play for solo actor and string quartet by playwright Lynne Conner. In addition, the ensemble serves as an advisor to Community MusicWorks of Providence, Rhode Island, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of inner city youths and families through classical music.

In 2003 the Borromeo made classical music history with its pioneering record label, the Living Archive Recorded Performance Series, making it is possible to order on-demand DVDs and CDs of most of its concerts around the world. The series allows listeners the chance to revisit in greater depth the music they have just heard in concert, as well as explore new and rarely performed works. Gramophone Magazine hailed the “great clarity and beauty” and “ravishing fury” of the BSQ’s studio recording of masterworks by Beethoven, and their CD featuring works of Maurice Ravel was honored with the Chamber Music America/WQXR Award for Recording Excellence in 2001.

In 2000 the Borromeo String Quartet completed two seasons as a member of Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society Two and served as Ensemble-in-Residence for the 1998-99 season of National Public Radio's Performance Today. They are a regular guest on Rob Kapilow’s program What Makes It Great, and can frequently be heard on NPR, NHK Radio and Television in Japan, and KBS Radio and Television in Korea. Awards include Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award in 2001, Chamber Music America's Cleveland Quartet Award in 1998 and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1991, as well as top prizes at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France in 1990. www.borromeoquartet.com.

The four members of the Borromeo Quartet are among the most accomplished musicians of their generation.

Nicholas Kitchen, violin
A recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Medallion for Artistry, and the Presidential Scholar in the Arts award, first violinist Nicholas Kitchen been performing professionally since the age of 12. He created seven seasons of innovative programming as Artistic Director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and performs as a member of the Music From the Copland House ensemble.

Kristopher Tong, violin
Praised for his depth of insight and creative flair second violinist Kristopher Tong began his career as concertmaster of the Utah Youth Symphony at age 14. He has served on the faculty at the Yellow Barn Festival’s Young Artists Program, and as principal second violin with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, touring with them throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Mr. Tong has also performed with Mizayaki festival Orchestra in Japan, the New York String Orchestra, and was a member of the original cast of Classical Savion, a collaborative project with tap dancer Savion Glover.

Mai Motobuchi, viola
Born in Tokyo, Japan, violist Mai Motobuchi started playing violin at age five and gained recognition in Asia as first prize winner in the 1989 All Japan MBS Youth Music Competition, and in the All Japan Ensemble Competitions in 1990 and 1991. She has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and Seiji Ozawa, and is in demand as a teacher on two continents, serving on the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the Tenrikyo Institute of Music in Tenri, Japan.

Yeesun Kim, cello
Hailed by the New York Times for her “focused intensity,” cellist Yeesun Kim made her orchestral debut at age 13 with the Korean Broadcasting Service Symphony, and has since performed in over 20 countries. She has collaborated with Rudolph Serkin, Joshua Bell, Christophe Eschenbach, and Leon Fleisher, among others. The Borromeo Quartet takes its name from the area in Northern Italy, by Lago Maggiore, where it played its first concerts together. Additional information may be found on its website at www.borromeoquartet.com.

Winner of the 2007 Avery Fisher Career Grant

Winner of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award (2001)

Winner of the Cleveland Quartet Award (1998)

Ensemble-in-Residence for National Public Radio's Performance Today (1998-99)

Top Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France (1990)


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