They've performed at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, the Tanglewood Music Festival and the White House.
Now the Ying Quartet, praised by a New York Times reviewer for "deeply expressive, finely hued" playing, is coming to the annual festival performed at historic churches around Maui.
Adding distinctive color to the 2013 Maui Classical Music Festival will be bassoonist Benjamin Kamins, who has played with the Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic.
Violinist Emanuel Borok, Katherine Collier (as violist Mozart) and cellist David Requiro performed at Makawao Union Church as part of the 2011 Maui Classical Music Festival.
The festival, going into its 32nd year, will also feature award-winning pianist Elinor Freer, wife of the Ying Quartet's cellist, David Ying.
They will be joined by violist Yizhak Schotten and his wife, pianist Katherine Collier. The two University of Michigan faculty members have been the festival's music directors since its beginning.
"Much of the music performed has never been played at the festival before, including three Hawai'i premieres on Friday, May 10," said Collier. "All the premieres are appealing music, and the entertaining Novacek Three Rags for String Quartet were commissioned by the Ying Quartet."
The concerts begin Friday, May 3, at Makawao Union Church. Keawala'i Congregational Church in Makena will host concerts on Monday, May 6, and Saturday, May 11. On Wednesday, May 8, the quartet will perform at Hana's Wananalua Congregational Church.
The sites have been chosen for their scenic and historical aspects, as well as their excellent acoustics.
"The festival this year is looking forward to bringing back great musicians from our early years at Kapalua--the Ying Quartet and bassoonist Ben Kamins," Collier added. "There are some new additions to the Ying Quartet, as they have a new first violinist--Ayano Ninomiya--and a new musician family member, Elinor Freer."
The Ying, the quartet in residence at Eastman School of Music, has amassed top prizes, including the 1992 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the 1993 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and a 2005 Grammy. It also garnered Grammy nominations in 2003 and 2007.
Ayano Ninomiya, its first violinist since 2010, was praised by a Boston Herald reviewer at her solo debut in 1999 for "great sweetness of tone, dazzling bow work and intensity of expression."
As a soloist, she won the Naumburg prize in 2003.
Freer has been a laureate and prize winner in competitions, including the Joanna Hodges International Competition and the American Pianists Association.
Collier said the program's standard masterpieces include the Mozart Viola Quintet and the Faure C Minor Piano Quartet, "but the other new pieces to the festival are very beautiful and appealing. They range from the baroque music of the Marais Five French Dances, the Vivaldi Bassoon Concerto and the baroque-inspired Stravinsky Suite Italienne to the lush, romantic and dramatic Wolf 'Italian Serenade,' Verdi String Quartet and the Berlioz/Liszt Harold in Italy for Viola and Piano."
The festival's history began in 1982, when the (then) Kapalua Music Festival was founded by Colin and Margaret Cameron. More recently, it has reorganized as the Maui Classical Music Festival and become a nonprofit organization.
Maui Classical Music Festival concert organizers suggest a $25 donation; $10 for students.
See the "2013 Maui Classical Music Festival Schedule" sidebar for times, locations, composers, compositions and musicians. For more information, call (808) 878-2312, visit www.mauiclassicalmusicfestival.org or email MCMFest@gmail.com.