The Cypress String Quartet is committed to exploring new music and traditional music in innovative ways, collaborating with sympathetic artists, inspired composers, and dynamic organizations.

Past and present collaborators include Leon Fleisher, Jon Nakamatsu, Awadagin Pratt, Gary Hoffman, Atar Arad, James Dunham, and Zuill Bailey.

Longstanding and new relationships color the 2012-2013 season, including a world premiere based on poetry by former U.S. Laureate W.S. Merwin, written by Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon, to be performed with soprano Christine Brandes on our 14th Annual Call & Response program in the Spring of 2013. Join us!

Learn more about this season’s collaborations:

Gary Hoffman, cello | Jon Nakamatsu, piano | Awadagin Pratt, piano | Roger Tapping, violaPhilippe, Hersant, composer | Jennifer Higdon, composerOrchestral Collaborations


Gary Hoffman combines instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound, and a poetic sensibility in his distinctive and memorable performances. Hoffman achieved international renown following his victory as the first American to win the Rostropovich International Cello Competition in Paris in 1986.

Learn more about Gary Hoffman:

Sample Program:
Suite for Solo Cello, CASSADÓ
String Quartet in F Major, RAVEL
Cello Quintet in C Major, SCHUBERT


Since his dramatic 1997 Van Cliburn Gold Medal triumph, Jon Nakamatsu’s brilliant but unassuming musicianship and eclectic repertoire have made him a clear favorite throughout the world both on the concert circuit and in the recording studio, performing widely in North America, Europe, and the Far East. His extensive recital tours throughout the United States and Europe have featured appearances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Paris, London, and Milan.

Learn more about Jon Nakamatsu:

Sample Program
String Quartet, Op. 76 “Sunrise,” HAYDN
String Quartet Op.95, BEETHOVEN
Piano Quintet in F minor, BRAHMS


Winner of the 1992 Naumburg International Piano Competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1994, Awadagin Pratt has played numerous recitals throughout the US including performances at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, National, Detroit and New Jersey symphonies among many others. Summer festival engagements include Ravinia, Blossom, Wolftrap, Caramoor and Aspen, the Hollywood Bowl and the Mostly Mozart Festival in Tokyo.

Learn more about Awadagin Pratt:

Sample Program:

Five Pieces for String Quartet, SCHULHOFF
String Quartet in F Major, RAVEL
Piano Quintet in A Major, DVORAK


Roger Tapping, who chairs NEC’s chamber music program as of the 2010/2011 academic year, was violist of the Takács Quartet for ten years beginning in 1995. Born in England, Tapping played in a number of London’s leading chamber ensembles, making several highly acclaimed CDs, and toured for the British Council in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Mexico, before joining Britain’s longest established quartet, the Allegri Quartet, with whom he played from 1989 to 1995.

Learn more about Roger Tapping.

Sample Program

String Quartet in C Major, K.465, MOZART
Five Novelettes, GLAZUNOV
Viola Quintet in F Major, BRAHMS


Born in post-WWII Rome and now living in Paris, Philippe Hersant writes music with a unique sense of lyricism. His works have garnered great and consistent critical and public acclaim throughout for his music throughout his career, including such honors as the Arthur Honegger Prize in 1994, Maurice Ravel Prize in 1996, the Grand Prize of Symphonic Music in 1998, and being named “Composer of the Year” in Victoroires de la Musique Classique in 2010. Philippe is the first international composer to be commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet for their Call & Response program.

Learn more about Philippe Hersant:

Learn more about Call & Response.

Call & Response 2012 Program:

String Quartet Opus 20, No.1, HAYDN
String Quartet, Opus 127, BEETHOVEN
World Premiere, HERSANT


Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Higdon maintains a full schedule of commissions and her music is known for its technical skill and audience appeal. Hailed by The Washington Post as “a savvy, sensitive composer with a keen ear, an innate sense of form and a generous dash of pure esprit,” she is one of America’s most frequently performed composers.
Jennifer composed Impressions for the Cypress Quartet’s 2003 Call & Response program and has been commissioned again by the Cypress Quartet for a new work to be premiered during the 2012-13 season.

Learn more about Jennifer Higdon:


The Cypress String Quartet enjoys sharing their love for the art of chamber music with fellow professionals and students in orchestras nationwide, large and small. The Quartet members work with their performing partners to unify the entire ensemble and create an intimate and rewarding experience for players and audience alike. One recent review of the Cypress performing with orchestra observed:

“Their playing during the Elgar, during which they often alternate with the orchestra, seemed to inspire their fellow musicians, and the entire ensemble became much more unified.”San Francisco Classical Voice

Sample Program:
String Quartet Op.95 ‘Serioso,’ BEETHOVEN
Introduction & Allegro for String Quartet & String Orchestra, ELGAR
Symphony No.1 in C Minor, Op.68, BRAHMS