The Ars Nova String Quartet was formed in the fall of 2008 at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. Their name is derived from their mission: to promote the works of living composers while providing grounded interpretations of traditional repertoire. Based in Nashville Tennessee, the Ars Nova Quartet has studied and performed in Europe and the US. In the summer of 2011 they were granted fellowships to participate in the Advanced Quartet Studies program at the Aspen Music Festival and School. There they collaborated with pianists Orli Shaham and Inon Barnatan, and presented recitals in Aspen, Basalt, and Paonia Colorado, and later in St. Louis, Missouri and Nashville. In 2010, the quartet was selected by Blair faculty to attend the Vanderbilt Academie in Aix-en-Provence, France, where they performed new music by Oscar Bianchi and Claudio Gabrieli. A trip to Vienna resulted in a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet with former member of the London Philharmonic, Philip Tarlton. They also participated in the Innsbrook Institute in Innsbrook Missouri, where they presented third movement of Aaron Jay Kernis’s String Quartet No.2. In 2009, the Ars Nova String Quartet received recognition in the Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA) Chamber Music Competition, and was chosen to perform Schubert’s Quartettsatz in the 2010 Blair Student Showcase. Living apart for a year has not prevented the quartet from continuing to perform and collaborate. Their most recent project in October 2011 was the world premiere of Michael Slayton’s Sursum.
Ars Nova feels equally at home in classical and commercial settings. In 2009, their engagement in the Blair Percussion Vortex involved collaboration with Michael Holland and the Blair Percussion Ensemble, along with electric violinists Daniel Bernard Roumain, Tracy Silverman, and remix artist Brad “Kali” Bowden. They have performed live and in studios with bands, arrangers, and producers in Nashville.
The quartet has been coached by the Emerson, Takács, American, Jupiter, and Calder String Quartets, as well as Robert Mann and Earl Carlyss of the Juilliard String Quartet, Aline Champion of the Berlin Philharmonic, and David Alberman of the London Symphony Orchestra, James Dunham, Sylvia Rosenberg, David Halen, Cornelia Heard, Alexander Kerr, Darrett Adkins, and Jeffery Irvine.
The Ars Nova String Quartet is comprised of sibling violinists Benjamin Hart and Caroline Hart, both from St. Louis, Missouri; violist and composer Christopher Lowry, from Antioch, Tennessee; and cellist Emily Nelson, from Moscow, Idaho.