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Last modified: Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jacobs School's new Kuttner Quartet begins rehearsals

September 10, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Even before they were named members of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music's Kuttner Quartet, Yotam Baruch, Danbi Um, Bella Hristova and Rose Armbrust had experience playing beautiful music together.

The Kuttner Quartet

The 2009 Kuttner Quartet, from left, is Yotam Baruch, Bella Hristova, Rose Armbrust and Danbi Um.

Print-Quality Photo

All four were part of a select group of Jacobs students who performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., last February. The students were invited to perform at the Kennedy Center as part of the Conservatory Project, a semi-annual event designed to present the best young musical artists in classical music, jazz, musical theater and opera from the nation's leading undergraduate and graduate conservatories, colleges and universities.

The Kuttner Quartet, whose student members change annually, features four of the top string players in the Jacobs School.

"Part of the requirement (of being selected for Kuttner) is that the quartet has to be together for a year before auditions," said Hristova, adding that she, Um and Armbrust knew one another from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and had played together last year as part of a chamber music requirement. "We asked (viola professor) Atar Arad, and he thought Yotam would be best to play with us," she said.

The group began rehearsing together in early September and will perform Oct. 9-10 during the Jacobs School's fall ballet presentation of Diaghilev Tribute (8 p.m., Musical Arts Center), as well as Jan. 23 in Jasper, Ind.

Um, now just 19, started playing violin at age two and at 10, was one of the youngest students ever admitted to Curtis. Hristova, of Bulgaria, has lived in the United States for 10 years; she and Um are both pursuing artist diplomas in violin at Jacobs, and both are studying with Jaime Laredo. "Jaime Laredo is the reason I came here," said Hristova, who also studied with him at Curtis.

Ambrust, a master's student in viola from Wayne, Ill., previously attended Juilliard and came to Jacobs specifically to study with Atar Arad. "He's definitely a gem," she said, adding that her brother, also a violist, had studied with Arad at a music festival.

Baruch, a doctor of music student from Israel, came to Jacobs from Peabody Conservatory to study cello with Janos Starker. "One of the things I enjoy about the school is its size -- I get to work with and play for so many teachers," said Baruch, who is now entering the third year of his doctoral program. "I love Bloomington. It's such a peaceful place."