Life in Wayang: III. The Chattering Strings - Su Lian Tan,
The family group is an established phenomenon in many genres, but in classical music such groups are rarer, the 5 Browns notwithstanding.
The Jupiter String Quartet almost fills the bill, with nearly all of its members related by blood or marriage. Together, the quartet has championed contemporary music in major American venues.
Second violinist Meg Freivogel McDonough, violist Liz Freivogel, and cellist Daniel McDonough (Meg's husband), and first violinist Nelson Lee came together in 2001, choosing the name Jupiter String Quartet because of the planet's prominence in the night sky at the time, and because the astrological symbol for Jupiter resembles the number four. All the members grew up in musical families where chamber music was played. The four went on together to the New England Conservatory of Music, entering the string quartet training program. Major prizes, plus a win at the Young Concert Artists International auditions in New York in 2005, led to bookings at the world's most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, London's Wigmore Hall, and both the Library of Congress and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The Jupiter String Quartet has appeared at major festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, the Seoul Spring Festival, and the Lanaudière Festival in Quebec. The group won the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America in 2007, and indeed they have been influenced by the playing of that great quartet from their home city, as well as by the Takacs Quartet. The quartet has held two important residencies: one at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two series (2007-2010), and the other, beginning in 2012, at the University of Illinois, where they have presented a complete cycle of Bartók's quartets in concert.
The Jupiter String Quartet began its recording career early, issuing Prague String Quartets, an album of obscure Czech works, in 2002. Since then, the group has recorded mostly for the Azica label and Marquis Records. In 2019, they released Alchemy with pianist Bernadette Harvey, on Marquis Records.