Contrasts Quartet

Award Winning Ensemble


Ayako Oshima, clarinet
Lisa Kim, violin
Caroline Stinson, cello
Evelyne Luest, piano
Acclaimed for their exhilarating performances of old and new repertoire, the Contrasts Quartet is a group of four extraordinary virtuosi whose instruments include clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The group chose its name to describe the contrasting timbres of their instruments, as well as the variety of their repertoire.  The ensemble performs a mix of duos, trios and quartets, presenting a broad range of programs from the Baroque through today's repertoire.  The Contrasts Quartet has worked with many living composers and has commissioned and premiered works of Aaron Jay Kernis, Michael Torke, Ned Rorem, Scott Johnson and Derek Bermel, among others.  Their recent recording of Ned Rorem's Nine Episodes for Four Players was nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award.
The Quartet has been invited to perform in Europe and across the United States.  Concert appearances have included performances at Carnegie's Weill Hall, Merkin Hall, Miller Theatre, Symphony Space and live appearances on New York's WNYC Radio and the nationally syndicated St. Paul Sunday radio program. Their concert tours have taken them from San Francisco to Spain.  The ensemble has also been invited to participate in many residencies, including Norfolk Summer Festival in Connecticut, the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, Music in the Park Series in St. Paul, Minnesota, Detroit Pro Musica, Penn State/Erie, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, Bowdoin College in Maine and the Fitchburg Public Schools and Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts.
The group, on the Phoenix label, has recorded a CD of the works of Aaron Jay Kernis, all premiere recordings, and a CD of the works of Ned Rorem. The Ensemble has been honored with awards and grants from the American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, the Fromm Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and Chamber Music America.

Pianist Evelyne Luest,

Pianist Evelyne Luest,  is an accomplished soloist and chamber musician and has performed and toured in Europe, South America, Asia and the United States.  She has won several competitions, including the Artists International Competition in New York as a soloist, in addition to many awards with the Contrasts Quartet.  Ms. Luest has performed as soloist in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy and on the St. Paul Sunday National Radio Show. Recent performances include festivals and concert venues in Norway, France, Japan, Spain, California and Minnesota.  Her list of premieres includes compositions by Joan Tower,  Jing Jing Luo, Aaron Jay Kernis and Ben Weber. Ms. Luest's recent CD releases include solo and chamber works on CRI, Phoenix Records, North/South Recordings, and North Pacific Music.  She studied with Gilbert Kalish at SUNY/Stony Brook, where she received an M.M. and D.M.A. in piano performance.  She lives in New York City with her husband, Aaron Jay Kernis, and their two children.

Violinist Lisa Kim

Lisa GiHae Kim joined the New York Philharmonic’s violin section in February, 2003. As a soloist, Ms. Kim has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. John’s Smith Square (under the direction of Lord Yehudi Menuhin), Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra, San Angelo Symphony, Flint Symphony Orchestra, and other ensembles.

An active chamber musician, Ms. Kim has participated in the Taos Chamber Music Festival, and the Aspen and Sarasota music festivals, and has toured with the American Chamber Players and the International Sejong Soloists.

Ms. Kim was awarded the top prize in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition,  the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and the Kingsville International Young Performer’s Competition. As a Presidential Scholar, Ms. Kim performed in recital at the Kennedy Center. 


Cellist,Caroline Stinson

Winner of the 2007 J.B. Watkins Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, cellist Caroline Stinson was born in Edmonton, Canada and lives in New York City. As a performer, she appears throughout Canada, the United States and Europe as a soloist and chamber music artist. Known for her expressive and personal interpretation of new works, Ms. Stinson is sought after by orchestras and fellow musicians for performances of both traditional and contemporary repertoire. Her performance credits include Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, New York's Museum of Modern Art's Summergarden Series, Boston's Gardner Museum, Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian in the United States; Germany's Koelner Philharmonie, Switzerland's Lucerne Festival and France's Cité de la Musique and Theatre at Rennes, in Europe, and the Centennial Centre and Winspear Halls in Canada. As an advocate of new music she has worked with composers John Harbison, George Rochberg and Steven Stucky, and has recorded for Albany, Koch, Phoenix and Naxos. In addition to Contrasts, Caroline is a member of Open End (a new music and improvisation group founded with her husband, composer Andrew Waggoner), CELLO, the Athabasca String Trio and formerly was a member of the Cassatt Quartet. Her teachers include Alan Harris (CIM), Maria Kliegel (Germany), Joel Krosnick (Juilliard) and Tanya Prochazka. Caroline is on faculty and coordinates the chamber music program at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University.

Clarinetist Ayako Oshima

Clarinetist Ayako Oshima has won numerous international competitions, including the Japan Music Competition in Tokyo, the Winds and Percussion Competition in Japan and the International Jeumesses Musicales Competition in Belgrade, where she also received the "Golden Harp" Award, given to the favorite of the audience and critics.  She has performed as soloist with the Hiroshima and Osaka Symphonies and with the Jupiter Symphony in New York City.  She has participated in the Sarasota Summer Music Festival in Florida, the Festival Consonances in France and the Kirishima Music Festival in Japan.  Ms. Oshima received clarinet training in France, from the Toho School of music, and as a "special student" at the Eastman School of Music.  She is on the faculties of The Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Purchase and is the director of the Kitakaruizawa Music Seminar in Japan.  With her husband, Charles Neidich, she has written a book on the basics of clarinet technique for the publisher, Toa Ongaku.