Applauded for their “flat-out amazing” performances and “stunning virtuosity” (Cleveland Classical), the highly acclaimed Kenari Quartet delivers inspiring performances that transform the perception of the saxophone. The quartet aims to highlight the instrument’s remarkable versatility by presenting meticulously crafted repertoire from all periods of classical and contemporary music.
The Kenari Quartet has found a home performing on many of the premier chamber music series in the United States. Recent engagements include appearances at Chamber Music Northwest, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and Chamber Music Tulsa, among others. For many chamber music institutions, the Kenari Quartet has been proud to serve as the first ensemble of its kind to be presented.
In addition to cultivating the highest level of performance, the Kenari Quartet has a deep passion for collaboration and innovation. Most recently, the quartet premiered J.P. Redmond’s 9×9: Nine Pieces for Nonet alongside the inimitable Imani Winds. As a testament to the flexibility of the saxophone quartet, the Kenari Quartet was recently a featured artist in Baldwin Wallace Conservatory’s 86th Annual Bach Festival. Here, they collaborated with faculty, student musicians, and academics to present an unprecedented residency centering around the influence of J.S. Bach on the late composer David Maslanka, as well as improvisation throughout musical history.
The quartet advocates passionately for the music of living composers, and it has given world premieres of new works by Mischa Zupko, Joel Love, and David Salleras, among others. As a recipient of Chamber Music America’s 2016 Classical Commissioning Grant, the Kenari Quartet was awarded a generous grant that allowed them to commission a new work from Corey Dundee, the group’s own tenor saxophonist. This exciting project was made possible by the Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.
In 2016, the quartet released its debut album, French Saxophone Quartets, on the Naxos Records label. This recording project features early masterworks for saxophone quartet by French composers Eugéne Bozza, Alfred Desenclos, Pierre Max Dubois, Jean Françaix, Gabriel Pierné, and Florent Schmitt. The Kenari Quartet also appears on David Deboor Canfield’s 2018 album, Saxophone Music, Vol. II, with their performance of Canfield’s “Opus Pocus,” a delightful and witty work that depicts wondrous magicians and illusionists such as Merlin and Houdini.
Committed to giving back to their communities, the Kenari Quartet is regularly involved in community engagement opportunities and educational endeavors. As a part of their touring activities, they often perform and teach at youth centers and grade schools around the country. The quartet has also given performances, masterclasses, and lectures around the country at various universities, including the University of Michigan, Indiana University, the University of Southern California, the University of Houston, and the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.
Formed in 2012 at Indiana University, the quartet’s name is derived from the Malay word kenari, which may be translated as “songbird.” Expanding on the age-old idea that birds communicate through song, the Kenari Quartet seeks to exemplify this concept through concert hall performances. By connecting with their audiences not only via song, but also through physical movement, Kenari amplifies the standard concert experience with their striking visual communication and powerful stage presence. The Kenari Quartet is represented by Jean Schreiber Management.