The Pacifica Quartet, touring since 1994, announced its first member change in seventeen years. Violinist Austin Hartman and violist Guy Ben-Ziony will replace violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson and violist Masumi Per Rostad at the end of the 2016-17 season, respectively. Mr. Bernhardsson, who joined the Pacifica Quartet in 2000, will leave the group to join the Oberlin Conservatory School of Music faculty. Mr. Rostad, who joined the group in 2001, will join the faculty of the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. Founding members Brandon Vamos and Simin Ganatra jointly commented : "Over the past 17 years, the Pacifica Quartet has played nearly 1,500 concerts all over the world from the monumental cycles of Beethoven and Carter to numerous premieres. We have traveled together, laughed together, learned together. The special bond we all share has greatly influenced us as musicians, artists and human beings. Our respect and admiration for all that Sibbi and Masumi have contributed to the quartet is boundless. As we see them off and wish them well on their next adventures, we are thrilled to welcome both Guy and Austin to the ensemble at the start of the Quartet's 23rd season. Both share a strong passion and dedication to performing at the highest level. They are the perfect fit for the ensemble as we look to the future and prepare to embark on new, exciting projects ahead."
The Pacifica Quartet joins forces with legendary pianist Menahem Pressler for Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34, a pillar of German Romanticism that opens with one of the most recognizable melodies in classical music. This noteworthy generation-crossing collaboration — a half-century separates the pianist, who is in his 90s, from the quartet members — yields a spacious, sweeping traversal of the Brahms Quintet that sets its own pace to build suspense and drama. While Pressler has performed the Brahms Quintet with marquee string quartets of the past 50 years, this is his first recording of it.
The Pacifica Quartet and cellist Johannes Moser premiere a new work this fall by composer Julia Wolfe, recently named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow. The cello quintet, "Splendid Hopes," was commissioned by Duke Performances at Duke University, the Schubert Club, Portland Friends of Chamber Music, and by Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
On its 20th anniversary tour in Canada, Europe, and Japan this past season, the Pacifica performed a new quartet by Shulamit Ran, a longtime collaborator and colleague from their residency at the University of Chicago. Titled "Glitter, Doom, Shards, Memory," the commission was funded by Music Accord, a consortium of presenters from the US, as well as Suntory Hall and Wigmore Hall.
The Pacifica Quartet and pianist Marc-André Hamelin recently embarked on a successful international tour. The artists were invited to record Leo Ornstein's 1927 Piano Quintet for Hyperion. The much anticipated release is now available. Purchase it here.
The Pacifica Quartet made its long-awaited debut at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on December 9, 2015. The unique program, entitled "Last Words," showcased the versatility of the ensemble and featured the final quartets by three composers spanning 200 years. Works included Carter's Fragments and his String Quartet No. 5, Janáček's Intimate Letters, and Beethoven's String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135.
The Pacifica's monumental survey of Dmitri Shostakovich's complete string quartets, The Soviet Experience, has just been released by Cedille Records as a box set featuring all four volumes. The Soviet Experience is unique among Shostakovich quartet cycles for including quartets by some the composer's most significant Soviet-era contemporaries: Nikolai Miaskovsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Mieczyslaw Weinberg, and Alfred Schnittke. Download the box set or order the individual discs at
The Quartet launches a new blog titled, “Conversations with the Pacifica Quartet” as an interactive and intimate platform to post compelling dialogue relevant to the work they do as string quartet musicians and teachers. There are plans to invite a colorful line up of guest interviewers to chat with members of the ensemble. To add depth and breadth to the conversation, the Quartet will also interview people who are influential in their world, including mentors, colleagues, collaborators, and friends. The blog is hosted by Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where the ensemble has been the quartet-in-residence since March 2012.
The Pacifica Quartet will premiere a new work by Shulamit Ran titled Glitter, Doom, Shards, Memory at Tokyo's Suntory Hall in June of 2014. This commission is funded and presented by Music Accord, a consortium of concert presenters across the US, as well as Suntory Hall and Wigmore Hall in London. Ms. Ran, a longtime colleague of the Quartet's at the University of Chicago, drew inspiration for this work from the art of Felix Nussbaum (1904-1944), a German-Jewish painter who perished in the Holocaust. Planned North American performances include the Canadian premiere at Toronto's 21C Music Festival in the spring 2014 and the US premiere at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in November 2014. Wigmore Hall will host the European premiere in March 2015.
Following the Grammy Award-winning Quartet’s wildly popular collaboration last season with the extraordinary clarinetist Anthony McGill, Cedille Records invited the artists to record the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets. Widely considered among the greatest chamber works for clarinet and strings, these quintets are both mature pieces that are captured with virtuosic mastery in this recording. The album is available for digital download and CD. Purchase your copy now at Watch a video of the Quartet and Anthony McGill discussing their recording project at
During the 2013-14 season, the Quartet tours Europe on three occasions with concerts across Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Spain, France, and Belgium. January takes them to Paris for the Cité de la musique's String Quartet Biennial, a gathering of premier ensembles from around the globe. In March and April, they will return to London's Wigmore Hall for two performances and a debut appearance at the deSingel in Antwerp, Belgium.
On November 19, 2013, the Pacifica returns to Carnegie Hall, presenting Leo Ornstein's Piano Quintet with Marc-André Hamelin and Beethoven's op. 130 Quartet with the original Groβe Fuge finale. This concert marks the culmination of the Quartet's fall tour with Hamelin.
The Pacifica Quartet completes its traversal of Dmitri Shostakovich's complete string quartets on Cedille Records with the highly anticipated fourth and final volume in the set. This album, titled The Soviet Experience Volume IV: String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries, features Shostakovich's String Quartets nos. 13-15 and Schnittke's Quartet no. 3. The album was released worldwide in November 2013. "The playing is nothing short of phenomenal, bringing new dimensions of interpretative depth and a subtle fusion of intensity and clarity to a corpus of music that might now be familiar but which continues to yield up its secrets only guardedly." - The Telegraph (UK)
Beginning November 2013, the Pacifica Quartet teams up with pianist Marc-André Hamelin for a coast-to-coast tour. One focus of their collaboration will be Leo Ornstein's 1927 Piano Quintet, op. 92, which they will go on to record together this winter in London for Hyperion. The Pacifica will also present Hamelin's 2002 Passacaglia for Piano Quintet and Dvořák's A major Quintet, op. 81. Abroad, the musicians are scheduled to appear together in Italy, Belgium and Great Britain.
The Pacifica Quartet will head down under in April 2013 for a four-concert and teaching residency at the Musica Viva Festival in Sydney, Australia. At the festival, the Pacifica will perform works by Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, and Mozart and conduct chamber music master classes.
Masumi has been blogging for the Huffington Post about his search for a new viola. In his accounts, Masumi shares details of the process, and the mental and physical intricacies involved in the search for the perfect instrument.
“Once again revelations abounded, both in the music itself and in the ensemble’s brilliantly calibrated, risk-taking performances." - The Chicago Tribune. This album is the third installment in the Pacifica Quartet’s highly anticipated and already highly acclaimed four-volume CD survey of the complete Shostakovich string quartets. The Soviet Experience is the first Shostakovich quartet cycle to include works by other important composers of the Soviet era, adding variety and perspective to the listening experience. This series of recordings is produced and engineered by Grammy Award winner Judith Sherman.

The Soviet Experience Volume III features Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 9–12 from the 1960s. These quartets are paired with Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s adventurous, symphonic-scaled String Quartet No. 6 of 1946, an inventive work once banned in the Soviet Union for being ahead of its time. Weinberg was a close friend and colleague of Shostakovich.

The Pacifica’s previous installment, The Soviet Experience Volume II, received an extraordinary reception from critics. The Telegraph of London said, “The playing is nothing short of phenomenal, bringing new dimensions of interpretative depth and a subtle fusion of intensity and clarity. When the series is complete, it looks set to be the one to own."
The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music announced the appointment of the Pacifica Quartet as its quartet-in-residence. The Quartet will join the School's full-time faculty, beginning fall 2012. Lawrence Hurst, Chair of the School's String Department said, "The Pacifica has everything one associates with great chamber music: artistry, passion, precision, communication and great style." Click on the headline for compete press release commentary.
Pacifica Quartet violist Masumi Per Rostad has produced a series of podcasts that takes one behind the scenes in conversations with fellow musicians and insiders from the world of classical music. Often recorded in the far-flung locales where chamber music is presented, Masumi invites you to listen and get a sense of what it is like to be on the road as a touring musician today. The headline will take you there!
Several important debut performances will be given by the Pacifica Quartet during its upcoming spring 2012 tour of Europe. Most notable of these will be concerts in Berlin, Luxembourg, and Italy's venerable city of Padua. Increasingly popular in Europe, Pacifica's tour schedule will include return performances in Florence, Basel, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and three concerts in London's famed Wigmore Hall to complete its Shostakovich cycle there.
The New York Times included Pacifica Quartet’s highly praised first volume CD of the string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich and his contemporaries in its list of the year's 25 finest classical recordings. Times music critic Vivien Schweitzer writes that the Pacifica Quartet “offers electrifying interpretations” and “conveys every shade of Shostakovich’s extreme emotional palatte…” The Chicago Tribune also named 'The Soviet Experience, Vol. 1' one of the top 10 classical recordings of 2011. Music critic John von Rhein writes, "Listeners who thrilled to the Pacifica's intensely felt concert performances...last season can relive the experience..." This audiophile-quality recording on the Cedille Records label is the first of a planned four-volume set of the complete Shostakovich quartets and selected works of his contemporaries.
In the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the Pacifica Quartet will perform the complete Beethoven cycle in 2012. The often sold out concert season presented by the Denver Friends of Chamber Music is one of the most popular series in the country. The cycle will begin in April and the last notes will be played in the Fall.
Following critically acclaimed performances of the complete Shostakovich string quartets in Chicago and New York during 2010-2011, the Pacifica Quartet was invited to perform the monumental Shostakovich cycle in a six-concert series at London's Wigmore Hall during the 2011-2012 season. London critics were unanimous in giving Pacifica's Wigmore cycle the highest praise -- "deeply moving...outstanding" (Guardian); "superb musicians...their subtleties of gesture, phrasing, and texture were immense" (London Times); "perhaps the best-ever heard in London" (Classical Source); "5-stars" (Telegraph).
In its role as Quartet-in-Residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Pacifica Quartet performed Beethoven’s complete string quartets during the 2011-2012 season, completing the series on March 10, 2012.
This June, the Pacifica Quartet was among the first international ensembles to return to Japan as the country slowly regains normalcy after the recent tsunami disaster. As part of a multi-city tour, the Pacifica presented the complete Beethoven string quartets in a three-day concert series at Suntory Hall, providing Japanese concert goers the unprecedented opportunity to hear the complete cycle in such a concise period.
In the height of summer, the West Cork town of Bantry becomes one of the most important Festival destinations in Ireland with the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. The Pacifica Quartet traveled there to take part in an eight-day residency.
In conjunction with the Pacifica Quartet's performances of Shostakovich's quartets at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts this past season, the quartet participated in an interdisciplinary, two-day symposium called "Shostakovich: The Quartets in Context". In February 2011, leading Shostakovich scholars from around the country served as speakers and panelists. The event was presented by the University of Illinois' Slavic Languages and Literatures department with co-sponsorship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities; the School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center; the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures (the Anne M. Vekich Endowment Fund); the European Union Center; the Department of German Languages and Literatures; the Program on Jewish Culture and Society; the Program in Comparative and World Literature; and the School of Music.