Since its founding in 1965 by the renowned Italian violinist Giorgio Ciompi, the Ciompi Quartet of Duke University has delighted audiences and impressed critics around the world. All its members are professors at Duke, where they teach instrumental lessons, coordinate and coach chamber music, and perform across campus in concert halls, libraries, dormitories and classrooms. In a career that spans five continents and includes many hundreds of concerts, the Ciompi Quartet has developed a reputation for performances of real intelligence and musical sophistication, with a warm, unified sound that allows each player’s individual voice to emerge.
In recent years, the Ciompi Quartet has performed from Washington State to California, Texas, New York, Washington DC and New England, and abroad from China to France, Italy, Germany, Prague, Serbia and Albania. In the summer the Quartet has performed at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit, North Carolina’s Eastern Music Festival and Highlands Chamber Music Festival, and at Monadnock Music in New Hampshire.
The Quartet’s commitment to creative programming often mixes the old and the brand new in exciting ways.Its extensive catalog of commissions includes many that the group continues to perform on tour. Close ties to composers such as Paul Schoenfield, Stephen Jaffe, Scott Lindroth, and Melinda Wagner have produced important contributions to the repertoire; the quartet recently premiered Stephen Jaffe’s Third String Quartet and two new quintets by Lindroth: “Schley Road” for quartet and saxophone, and his Cello Quintet, written for the Ciompi and cellist Ashley Bathgate. The group’s most recent recordings are on Toccata Classics (a string quartet by 19th century violin virtuoso Heinrich Ernst), and Naxos, which released “Journey to the West” by Chiayu Hsu in 2015; also on Naxos online is a recording of the quartets of Paul Schoenfield including the popular “Tales from Chelm.” Numerous other discs are on the CRI, Arabesque, Albany, Gasparo, and Sheffield Lab labels, with music from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, up through the present.