Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 10, 2012.

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We're recording the String Quartets of the Great Opera Masters: Puccini, Verdi and Richard Strauss, for Naxos Records.

Enso Quartet Records works by giants of the romantic Opera world! 

Dear Friends, Chamber Music and Opera Lovers,  

Our next recording project is underway! In late July we travelled to Toronto to record the String Quartets of the Great Opera Masters - Verdi, Puccini and R.Strauss. We’re so excited about how this will turn out. It’s fantastic music, and the sound from our incredible engineer Norbert Kraft is superb. The more we’ve played these pieces the more excited we are to share them with you on our new album!

We stumbled across Verdi’s sole string quartet when our good friend Sarah Rothenberg asked us to play it for Da Camera of Houston. We had never even heard the quartet before we began work on it, and immediately fell for it and couldn’t believe it hadn’t been featured more in the string quartet repertoire. Also on Da Camera’s program for that concert was an old favorite of ours by Puccini, “Crysanthemums” - a piece that we played while we were in residence at Rice University and have performed regularly since then. We immediately thought these two pieces could be the start of a follow-up recording to our Grammy-nominated Ginastera String Quartets album. We looked for another great operatic composer from the romantic era and found that Richard Strauss also wrote only one string quartet. This quartet is also very rarely performed, but its neglect is unwarranted. It's a gem - sparkling with effervescence and gorgeous melodies! It was settled. Three giants of the romantic opera world - Verdi, Puccini and Strauss - who each wrote fantastic quartets that compliment each other beautifully to make a really compelling evening of chamber music. 

Each composer had quite different inspirations - Puccini wrote “Chrysanthemums” as an elegy for a friend, Strauss had been fascinated with and studied the string quartets of Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schumann, while Verdi wrote his quartet at the request of some string players during postponed rehearsals of Aida due to an indisposed lead soprano! The results show remarkable glimpses into the rest of their work - Puccini’s is so wonderfully lush, lyrical and emotional, Verdi’s shows a masterful display of different characters and moods, and Strauss’s overflows with the typical effervescence and assuredness of his youthful compositions.

Having recorded classical albums (Pleyel) and chamber music from the mid-20th century (Ginastera), we are very excited to be adding some late romantics to our discography. This is repertoire that we believe in and have loved performing, and we’re sure that we’ll be as proud of the result of this album as we are of our previous ones. To see the extended version of the short film posted above and learn more about this project, click here.

Here is where your support is crucial to complete this new album – gone are the days of musicians being paid to make recordings...we're asking for your contributions to help us cover our costs which include recording venue and engineering costs for the album. We are confident that this will be a special recording, and are very grateful in advance to anyone and everyone who believes in us and is prepared to help us reach our goal. 

The great thing about Kickstarter is that we're not asking for your money with nothing in return. We've put together some fun rewards to show our gratitude for your support, so please pledge at any amount that feels comfortable with your wallet. We would like to give a special and hearty thanks to Naxos for their continued support in releasing our recordings, Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver, our amazing sound engineers in Toronto and to all the presenters we've worked with for their continued support of our live performances and inspiring us to explore new ideas.

We hope that you will join us in this exciting project!  

Gratefully yours, 

Enso String Quartet – Maureen, John, Melissa and Richard

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  • Pledge $2 or more
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    5 backers

    Just $2! We'll send you a digital download of 2 tracks of your choice from our new album - directly from us to your personal email inbox! We'll also be holding two thumbs up in thanks for you. Woop woop!

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    19 backers

    We'll send you a digital download of our entire new album, and oodles of thanks and good karma too!

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    27 backers

    We'll send you a CD of our new album. Something you can have and hold, a CD with a pretty picture on the front! We'll be truly grateful for your support, and so happy you'll have a copy of our newest album in your home! (For international supporters, please add an additional $10.)

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    27 backers

    As above - we'll send you a CD copy of our new album, but for this reward each of us will personally sign the CD for you with a note of thanks. (For international supporters, please add an additional $10.)

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    14 backers

    As above - we'll send you a signed CD copy of our new album (woohoo!), AND we'll also send you an awesome Enso Quartet t-shirt with original artwork by, and designed by the members of the quartet. How cool is that!? We'll be so happy that you'll be spreading the good word, that if we see you wearing the t-shirt we will tap you on the shoulder and buy you your favorite coffee drink! (For international supporters, please add an additional $10.)

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    10 backers

    Hard to beat...the "Enso Quartet Fan Package". We'll send you the same as the previous reward, AND a signed CD copy of our previous album with the incredible soprano Lucy Shelton; the Grammy-Nominated Complete String Quartets by Alberto Ginastera. (For international supporters, please add an additional $10.)

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    4 backers

    Check out our hidden talents! For this pledge, we'll send you the Enso Quartet Fan Package, plus an amazing original ink sketch of the Enso Quartet (with or without Gidget, Maureen's French Bulldog) by Maureen or Melissa. If you haven't met Gidget yet, check her out on youtube and you just might fall for her as we have...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0AmfeLrsj4 You can't have her, but you can get a cool original drawing of her with the quartet!

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    Hey violinists, want to sound just like Maureen or John? We'll send you one set of violin strings used in making the recording, and the Enso Quartet Fan Package. Fancy playing along with the recording on the same strings that made it?!

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  • Pledge $300 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Get one step closer to sounding just like Melissa! We'll send you the set of viola strings she used in making the recording and the Enso Quartet Fan Package. Go on, we know you want to!

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Need more cello strings? Want to capture that "Richard Sound"? We'll send you the set of cello strings he used in making the recording, and the Enso Quartet Fan Package.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    2 backers

    We'll be so grateful for this pledge, we'll play for you on your birthday! Over Skype, we'll perform Happy Birthday especially for you or a friend on the special day. (Please check availability with us.) And we'll send you the Enso Quartet Fan Package.

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  • Pledge $1,009 or more
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    1 backer

    We're pretty excited about this one! It's the K-9 Package...a live performance especially for you over Skype of "Chrysanthemums" from our new album. This one is Maureen's dog's favorite...yes, Gidget's a big fan of "Pooch-ini". But wait there's more...we'll also send you the Enso Quartet Fan Package, AND 2 tickets to an Enso Quartet concert (no travel costs provided) with a chance to relax with the members of the quartet after the concert!

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  • Pledge $1,500 or more
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    0 backers

    You and up to 3 friends will be invited to spend an evening with the Enso Quartet members to celebrate the new album! If we're in New York, we'll host an evening and provide our favorite wines, cheeses and games for some serious fun! If we're on tour, we can make an equivalent arrangement. (Please note: we'll have to be in the same area, so check with us for our availability.) We'll give you the Enso Quartet Fan Package, and also both of our Pleyel String Quartet albums! AND we'll give you 2 tickets to an Enso Quartet concert (no travel costs provided) with a chance to re-connect with the members of the quartet after the concert. A really fun way to get to know the Enso Quartet!

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  • Pledge $2,500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    Please contact us about this reward. We will give a performance, including music from our new album, for Music For Autism in Princeton, NJ. We'll also send you the Enso Quartet Fan Package, and 2 tickets to an Enso Quartet concert (no travel costs provided) with a chance to relax with the members of the quartet after the concert!

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers

    Special House Concert. We will arrange a time when we're in your area to perform a special concert for you and your friends in the comfort of your own home. Certain conditions apply - please contact us for details. And of course, we'll give you the whole nine yards - signed CD copies of the new album, the Ginastera, both Pleyel albums, a t-shirt, an original ink sketch of the Enso Quartet by either Maureen or Melissa, and 2 tickets to an Enso Quartet concert (no travel costs provided) where we'll look forward to spending time with you after the performance.

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