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Award-winning young quartet serves up classics

If the Wasmuth Quartet is not a familiar name, that's precisely the reason why the Candlelight Concert Society is presenting this young chamber music ensemble on Sunday, June 15, at 3:30 p.m. at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre.

This season-closing Candlelight Concert features the 2014 Gold Medal winner of the Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition.

Taking place in late March, this competition is a biennial event on Maryland's Eastern Shore that is intended to acknowledge rising ensembles. Previous winners who subsequently have performed for Candlelight include the Attaca, Calidore and Harlem String Quartets.

Other attention-garnering awards won by the Wasmuth include the Silver Medal in the senior division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; first prize in the Coleman Chamber Competition; and first prize at the Kuttner String Quartet Competition in Bloomington, Ind.

The members of the Wasmuth did not need to travel far to collect that last-mentioned prize, because they're the student quartet in residence at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington. These music students formed the quartet there in 2012.

They've played concerts around the United States within the past year, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and they've also played in Europe.

Indeed, where Europe is concerned, the group's members came up with the ensemble's name as an emotional recognition of how much it meant to them to research original manuscript scores by Beethoven at the Villa Wasmuth in Bonn, Germany.

The group's four members grew up and studied music in various places before coming together as students at Indiana University.

Violinist Jonathan Ong is originally from Singapore, for instance, and studied at the Eastman School and Cleveland Institute.

The son of a Washington, D.C.-based diplomat, violinist Brendan Shea studied at Oberlin Conservatory.

Violist Abigail Rojansky, who is from the San Francisco Bay Area, also studied at Oberlin.

Born in Naperville, Ill., and raised in Orange County, Ca., cellist Warren Hagerty has been doing his undergraduate studies at Indiana University.

For the Candlelight program, this ensemble performs the Haydn Quartet No. 41 in D Major, Op. 50, No. 6, "The Frog"; the Ligeti String Quartet No. 1, "Metamorphoses nocturnes"; and the Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80.

The Wasmuth Quartet performs Sunday, June 15, at 3:30 p.m. at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Tickets are $32, $30 for seniors, $12 for students 18- 24, and free for youth 9-17 accompanied by a paying adult. Call 410-997-2324 or go to http://www.candlelightconcerts.org.

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