Ayane & Paul

Known for their vibrant, high-level performances and progressive programming, New York-based duo AYANE & PAUL bring a fresh perspective to the viola/cello combination via thoughtfully-crafted sonorities and inspired musicianship. Ayane & Paul formed in 2014, shortly after Ayane Kozasa commissioned Paul Wiancko to compose a work for viola and cello. The resulting piece, “American Haiku,” explores Ayane's background as a Japanese artist growing up in the United States as well as Paul's Japanese-American heritage. During this initial collaboration, the two discovered a deep musical bond and an ability to connect meaningfully with listeners on and off the stage.

Since premiering “American Haiku” at the S&R Foundation in Washington D.C., Ayane & Paul have shared innovative, personal, and thought-provoking music with audiences throughout Japan and the US, in venues ranging from Highfield Hall in Cape Cod to Kanagawa Hall in Yokohama, Japan. They have appeared as guest artists at Seattle's Emerald City Music, Antenna Cloud Farm, Musikiwest, and the Otaru Viola Festival, as well as the Piedmont, Portland, Methow Valley, and Brooklyn Chamber Music Festivals.

PAUL WIANCKO has led an exceptionally multifaceted musical life as a composer and cellist. An avid chamber musician, Paul has performed alongside Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Goode, Chick Corea, Mitsuko Uchida, Nico Muhly, Max Richter, and members of the Guarneri, Takács, JACK, Parker, Kronos, Orion, and Juilliard quartets. His performances with Musicians From Marlboro have been described as "utterly transparent" and "so full of earthy vitality and sheer sensual pleasure that it made you happy to be alive" (Washington Post).

Chosen as one of Kronos Quartet's "50 for the Future", Paul's own music has been described as "dazzling", "compelling" (Star Tribune), and "vital pieces that avoid the predictable" (Allan Kozinn). NPR recently wrote, "If Haydn were alive to write a string quartet today, it may sound something like Paul Wiancko's LIFT​", a 25-minute work featured on the Aizuri Quartet's GRAMMY-nominated album “Blueprinting”. Paul is a recipient of the S&R Foundation's Washington Award for Composition and has been invited to be composer-in-residence at the Caramoor, Twickenham, Newburyport, Portland, and Methow Valley Festivals. This year, Paul's music will be premiered by Alexi Kenney at Wigmore Hall, the Eybler Quartet at The Banff Centre, Tessa Lark, Marina Piccinini, and Michael Thurber at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet and James Austin Smith at Spoleto Festival USA, where he is the 2019 Bank of America Composer-in-Residence.

AYANE KOZASA is a founding member of the Aizuri Quartet and winner of the Primrose International Viola Competition. Hailed for her "magnetic, wide-ranging tone" and her "rock solid technique" (Philadelphia Inquirer), Ms. Kozasa loves performing chamber music and is reknowned for her detailed artistic approach and radiant performances. The Aizuri Quartet gained international acclaim when they captured first prize at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan. Soon after, they became the Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and won the grand prize the M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. Their GRAMMY-nominated debut album “Blueprinting”—one of NPR's top 10 classical albums of 2018—was released on New Amsterdam Records and features five unique works written specifically for the Aizuri quartet.

Ms. Kozasa is an active member of the Quodlibet Ensemble, which specializes in both early and modern music. Additionally, much of Ayane’s recent work has involved mentoring young artists at programs such as Green Lake Chamber Music Camp, Musikiwest, and the Olympic Music Festival.

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