Get to know Argus Quartet
Argus Quartet is made up of Jason Issokson & Clara Kim, violins, Dana Kelley, viola, and Joann Whang, cello.
First Prize, 2017 Concert Artists Guild Competition
First Prize, M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition
Praised for playing with “supreme melodic control and total authority” and “decided dramatic impact” (Calgary Herald), the Argus Quartet has quickly emerged as one of today’s most dynamic and versatile young ensembles, winning First Prize at both the 2017 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, and the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition.
Recent and upcoming performances internationally include appearances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall, Roulette, the Albany Symphony’s American Music Festival, Bang on a Can at the Noguchi Museum, the Hear Now Music Festival, Providence College, University of Michigan, James Madison University’s Contemporary Music Festival, Princeton University, the Shalin Liu Performance Center at Rockport Music, and the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam.
Argus is dedicated to reinvigorating the audience-performer relationship through innovative concerts and diverse programming. The Quartet’s core mission is to connect with and build up a community of engaged listeners, with the strong belief that today’s ensembles can honor the storied chamber music traditions of our past while forging a new path forward. In that spirit, the ensemble’s repertoire includes not just master works of the chamber music canon, but also a wide range of pieces by living composers.
In the Fall of 2017, the Argus Quartet begins a two-year appointment as the Graduate Quartet in Residence at the Juilliard School, where they will work closely with the Juilliard String Quartet. In addition, Juilliard presents Argus’ Lincoln Center recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in May 2018. From 2015-17 the Quartet served as the Fellowship Quartet in Residence at the Yale School of Music (as the ﬁrst ensemble mentored by the Brentano String Quartet in that capacity), and during the 2016-17 season, they served as the Ernst Stiefel Quartet in Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.
As passionate advocates for the music of our time, Argus served as the Quartet in Residence at New Music on the Point under the guidance of the JACK Quartet, and was also selected as one of three ensembles to perform works from Kronos Quartet’s “Fifty for the Future” commissioning project at Carnegie Hall. Recent commissions include new quartets by Donald Crockett, composer and GRAMMY nominee Eric Guinivan, the 2014 Hermitage Prize winner Thomas Kotcheff, and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Juri Seo. The Quartet has received grants from Chamber Music America and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in support of their commissioning efforts, and have also performed works by some of today’s most important composers: Augusta Read Thomas, Garth Knox, Jason Eckardt, Christopher Theofanidis, Martin Bresnick, Andrew Norman, and many others.
Founded in Los Angeles in 2013, the Argus Quartet has performed at a number of leading music festivals, including the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Birdfoot Festival, Cello Biënnale Amsterdam, and Music Academy of the West, and has played alongside many of today’s leading chamber musicians, including the Brentano Quartet and David Shifrin.
Education and Outreach
Education and outreach are an important part of the Argus Quartet’s mission. The quartet has worked with students through residencies and masterclasses at the Yale University, James Madison University, Rockport Music, the Milken School, the Young Musicians Foundation, California State University Long Beach, Los Angeles City College, and Princeton University.