The Jupiter String Quartet, formed in 2001, is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Megan Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (older sister of Meg), and cellist Daniel McDonough (husband of Meg, brother-in-law of Liz). As they enter their 12th year of making music together, this tightly knit ensemble has firmly established itself as an important voice in the world of chamber music. The Jupiters were thrilled to join the faculty of the University of Illinois as string quartet-in-residence last year.
The Jupiters have been fortunate to receive several chamber music honors over the course of their career. In 2008 they were awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant and, in 2007, they were given the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America. Previously, the Jupiters were awarded first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition (where they also received the Szekely Prize for best performance of a Beethoven quartet), and grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The quartet’s career began to take off after being selected in the Young Concert Artists International auditions in 2005. From 2007 to 2010, the quartet was a member of Chamber Music Society Two and, in 2009, they received a grant from the Fromm Foundation to commission a new quartet from Dan Visconti for a CMS performance at Alice Tully Hall.
This past spring, the Jupiters’ relationship with CMS continued with a series of performances alongside vocalist Thomas Hampson that included a new commission for quartet and voice by Mark Adamo. They also helped to commission a new quartet by the composer Hannah Lash, which they premiered at the Great Lakes and Aspen Music Festivals (both of which sponsored the commission) over the summer. Upcoming projects include a second Beethoven cycle, this time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a new CD release centered around the music of Ravel. The Jupiters will also continue their multi-year visiting residency at the Oberlin Conservatory, as well as their regular series of concerts at the beautiful Krannert Performing Arts Center in Champaign-Urbana.
The quartet has recorded works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Britten for Marquis Records. American works by Barber, Seeger, and Gershwin were also recorded for iTunes in conjunction with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Deutsche Grammophon.
The quartet chose its name because Jupiter was the most prominent planet in the night sky at the time of its formation and the astrological symbol for Jupiter resembles the number four. The Jupiter Quartet is managed by Bill Capone of the Arts Management Group.