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Berofsky Piano Quartet

The Berofsky Quartet is made up of violinist Aaron Berofsky, violinist/violist Kathryn Votapek, pianist Charles Berofsky and cellist Sebastian Berofsky. Aaron and Kathryn met as students at the Juilliard School in New York. A few years later they had both accepted positions in the Chester String Quartet, then in residence at Indiana University South Bend. It was in this ensemble that they discovered how much they loved being together and making music together. They married in 1996 and welcomed their first son Charles in 2000. In 2002 the family moved to Ann Arbor, where Aaron and Kathryn are members of the string faculty at the University of Michigan. Shortly after their move, the family was complete with the arrival of Sebastian. It was only natural that the children should take music lessons, and with the help of excellent teachers, the boys have developed and grown, becoming accomplished musicians in their own right. Fortuitously, the family instrumentation is perfect for a piano quartet. The joy of playing this wonderful repertoire is augmented by the joy of making music as a family.

Aaron Berofsky

Violinist Aaron Berofsky has toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad, gaining wide recognition as a soloist and chamber musician. As soloist, he has performed with orchestras in the United States, Germany, Italy, Spain and Canada. He has performed the complete cycle of Mozart violin sonatas at the International Festival Deia in Spain and all of the Beethoven sonatas at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall.  His 2011 recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas with Phillip Bush has been met with great acclaim.

France’s Le Figaro calls his playing “Beautiful, the kind of music-making that gives one true pleasure”.  He has appeared in such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Corcoran Gallery, Het Doelen, L’Octogone, Seoul National University, the Teatro San Jose and the Museo de Bellas Artes. Mr. Berofsky has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and on the Canadian Broadcasting Company. His acclaimed recordings can be found on the Sony, Naxos, New Albion, ECM, Audio Ideas, Blue Griffin and Chesky labels.  Recent recital tours have taken him to Germany, Italy and Korea, and he was featured soloist on the 2009 NAXOS recording of music by Paul Fetler, performed by the Ann Arbor Symphony, including the debut recording of his Concerto No. 2.  His recording of the complete chamber music of Franz Xavier Mozart was released in 2013 on Equilibrium.

Mr. Berofsky was the first violinist of the Chester String Quartet for fifteen years. The quartet has been acclaimed as “one of the country’s best young string quartets” by the Boston Globe. Tours have taken them throughout the Americas and Europe and the quartet members have collaborated with such artists as Robert Mann, Arnold Steinhardt, Franco Gulli, members of the Alban Berg quartet, Andres Diaz, Eugene Istomin and Ruth Laredo. Some notable projects over the years have included the complete cycles of the quartets by Beethoven and Dvorak, and numerous recordings by such composers as Mozart, Haydn, Barber, Porter, Piston, Kernis and Tenenbom. The Chester Quartet has served as resident quartet at the University of Michigan and at Indiana University South Bend.

An alumnus of the Juilliard School, Mr. Berofsky was a scholarship student of Dorothy DeLay. Other important teachers have included Robert Mann, Felix Galimir, Glenn Dicterow, Lorand Fenyves and Elaine Richey. Mr. Berofsky is known for his commitment to teaching and is Professor of Violin at the University of Michigan and served as visiting Professor at the Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold, Germany. He taught at the Meadowmount School of Music for many summers and is currently on the violin faculty of the Chautauqua Institution.  He has also given masterclasses throughout the world, including a 2013 tour of Korea which included classes at Seoul National University, Ewha Women’s University, Seoul Arts High School and many others.  He has also given class at the Cleveland Institute, Oberlin, Eastman, the Peter de Grote festival in the Netherlands, Domaine Forget in Quebec, Interlochen, the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival and the Conservatorio Palma Mallorca.

Mr. Berofsky’s interest in early music led him to perform with the acclaimed chamber orchestra Tafelmusik on period instruments, also makingseveral recordings with them for the Sony label.  He co-runs University of Michigan’s Baroque Chamber Orchestra with harpsichordist Joseph Gascho.  With a strong dedication to new music as well, he has worked extensively with many leading composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, performing, commissioning and recording music by John Cage, William Bolcom, Zhou Long, Michael Daugherty, Aaron Jay Kernis, Susan Botti, Morton Subotnick, Paul Fetler and Bright Sheng.

Aaron Berofsky has been concertmaster of the Ann Arbor Symphony since 2003.   He has also served as guest concertmaster for many orchestras throughout the US and Europe.

Kathryn Votapek

A member of the Chester String Quartet for 15 years, violinist/violist Kathryn Votapek now maintains an active career as a soloist and guest artist at chamber music festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. She has participated in numerous commissioning projects and premieres and can be heard with the Chester Quartet on the Koch International Classics and New Albion labels. Along with pianist Ralph Votapek and clarinetist Paul Votapek, she performs as violinist and violist with the Votapek Trio. She has also given numerous duo performances with her husband, violinist Aaron Berofsky.

Votapek has been on the faculty of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Meadowmount School of Music, the Interlochen Arts Camp, the Madeline Island Music Camp, the Quartet Program, the Banff International Festival, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Italy), the Peter de Grote Summer Academy (Holland), and Music & More Summerfest (Bosnia and Herzegovina), as well as performing at the Klosterkammerfest (Germany), Speedside Festival (Canada), the International Deia Festival (Spain), the Garth Newel Festival, the Fontana Festival, and with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings.

Votapek is currently on the faculty at the University of Michigan. She serves as the Chair of Chamber Music at the Chautauqua Institution, and is the associate concertmaster of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. Previously she was associate professor of violin and artist-in-residence at Indiana University South Bend.

Votapek received her bachelor of music degree at Indiana University and master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Her teachers were Robert Mann, Franco Gulli, and Angel Reyes.

Charles Berofsky

Charles Berofsky is a multi-faceted, 21-year old musician currently pursuing a double major in piano performance and composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Born in South Bend, Indiana and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Charles began piano lessons when he was six years old; his primary piano teachers in Ann Arbor were Logan Skelton and John Ellis. He currently studies piano with Alan Chow at Eastman, and he has studied composition with Robert Morris, David Liptak, and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, as well as harpsichord with William Porter and organ with Scott Van Ornum.

In January 2020 Charles became one of the youngest students to win a concerto competition at Eastman, performing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra in February during his sophomore year. He has received three composition prizes from his school as well as a recent commission from the American Guild of Organists, which resulted in the work The Storm Approaches for solo organ. Charles was recently awarded second prize at the 2021 Chautauqua piano competition, subsequently getting the chance to perform at the Chautauqua Amphitheater during the music festival season. Other awards include honorable mention in the New York MTNA competition (Young Artist Division), first prize in the Chicago College of Performing Arts Young Composer Competition, first prizes in the Dearborn and Dexter Youth Artist Concerto Competitions in southeastern Michigan, and first prize in the Rosalie Edwards Youth Artists Competition in Ann Arbor.

Charles has attended various summer music festivals in past years, including Chautauqua, Orford, Bowdoin, Brevard, and Interlochen, and has performed in Italy and Canada. He has also given several recitals at Glacier Hills Senior Living Community in Ann Arbor and composed an original score to a short film, Midwestern, directed and produced by students at the University of Michigan. While a student at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Charles actively participated in the school’s Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, and Jazz Band. He performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Huron ensembles and he composed a piece for the Huron string orchestra, Repose, which was performed on the school’s 50th anniversary concert in January 2018. During the 2017-2018 school year he served as one of the regular organists for St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor and was the main accompanist for the church choir.

Charles enjoys playing collaboratively with other musicians, especially members of his family, and has frequently accompanied peers at Eastman.

Sebastian Berofsky

Sebastian Berofsky has been playing the cello for twelve years. He is a first-year undergraduate student at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where he studies with Professor Desmond Hoebig. He previously studied with University of Michigan professor Richard Aaron. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Sebastian recently graduated from Huron High School, where he was principal cello of the Huron Symphony Orchestra. He was also principal of the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra. Winner of the MASTA chamber music, Rosalie Edwards, MTNA Senior String Division State, and Michigan Pops Concerto competitions, he has attended Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, the Indiana University Summer String Academy, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Center Stage Strings. In 2018 he performed the Mendelssohn A-Major String Quintet with faculty after winning the summer chamber music competition. He was principal cello of the Michigan All-State High School Orchestra in 2019 and 2020 and of the All-State Middle School in 2016 and 2017. He was recently a guest artist with the Pressenda Chamber Players in Washington, D.C. With the Berofsky Piano Quartet in 2020, he has played on the Chautauqua Chamber Music series and University of Delaware Master Players.

Anthony Beer Anthony Beer, Artistic Director

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