In 2002, four friends decided to join forces to explore their collective passion for chamber music. Thus, Hampton Roads’ Ambrosia Quartet was formed.
This dynamic ensemble will thrill you with their interpretations of the very best music written for string quartet, from classical favorites to the most recent compositions of celebrated contemporary composers. These talented individuals are all members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, but their backgrounds are as diverse as the music they play. Violinists Simon Lapointe and Mayu Cipriano hail from Québec and Tokyo, respectively; violist Beverly Kane Baker grew up locally in Hampton; and cellist Rebecca Gilmore came to the area from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their resumes collectively represent many years of study at the very best conservatories, including the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, Indiana and Rice Universities, and the Juilliard School.
In more than a decade of recitals, the Ambrosia Quartet has explored the chamber music of Haydn, Hailstork, and Tchaikovsky (New Beginnings); Glazunov, Shostakovich, and Borodin (A Russian Celebration); and Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Brahms in the prestigious Feldman Chamber Series as well as for series by the Virginia Arts Festival and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. They are not limited to quartets, frequently performing trios or participating in other ensembles. These friends are bonded together by a mutual love of the very best chamber music of any style, and they strive to reach the most diverse audiences possible. They have been heard in churches and museums just as readily as in fine concert halls in the U.S. and internationally.
The quartet has worked closely with Hampton Roads composers, having recorded the string quartets of Adolphus Hailstork for Albany Records and premiered several works by John S. Dixon, including serving as artistic editors of Dixon's transcription for string quartet of Mozart's famous variations for piano on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. They have forged another bond within the community recently, becoming the Quartet in Residence for The Academy of Music, a community music school headquartered in Norfolk.
Some might think it no surprise that an excellent orchestra would bring forth an excellent string quartet, but this is not always the case. Chamber music ensembles require a rare chemistry to elevate the playing to a special realm. The Ambrosia Quartet has that chemistry and achieves that elevation. In classical mythology, "ambrosia" is the food of the gods: this quartet exists to share ambrosia with you.
"The Ambrosians did well by Dohnanyi. Rebecca Gilmore's cello playing was achingly beautiful and violist Jennifer Snyder offers a consistent feeling of purpose. The motivic developments were intelligently brought out; the intonation was quite good, and the entire piece conveyed a real sense of devotion. The solo lines were passionately rendered by all.
Reginald Barnes, Portfolio Weekly, October 2003