About

Callisto Quartet

Paul Aguilar, violin
Rachel Stenzel, violin
Eva Kennedy, viola
Hannah Moses, cello

Praised for their “intensity and bravado” and the “cohesion and intonation one might expect from an ensemble twice their age” (Third Coast Review), the Callisto Quartet brings together four dedicated and passionate musicians who share a love for chamber music and a true desire for excellence. Since their formation in 2016 at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the quartet has quickly garnered top prizes in nearly every major international chamber music competition and has been hailed by audiences across North America and Europe. Grand prize winners of the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Second Prize Winners of the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Callisto Quartet has also taken home prizes from the Bordeaux (2019), Melbourne (2018), and Wigmore Hall (2018) competitions. Currently serving as the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, they also study with Günter Pichler of the Alban Berg Quartet at the prestigious Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain.

The quartet has participated and performed in many renowned chamber music festivals such as the La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Emilia Romagna Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the McGill International String Quartet Academy, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, and the Robert Mann String Quartet Seminar. In 2018, at the invitation of Gerhard Schulz, they attended the Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar where they also worked with Gidon Kremer and Thomas Adès. As part of their prize from the Wigmore Hall Competition, the quartet received an invitation to the Jeunesses Musicales International Chamber Music Campus in Weikersheim, Germany where they worked with Heime Müller, Donald Weilerstein, and the Cuarteto Casals. 

Highlights of their recent performances include debuts in New York City and Chicago on the Schneider Concert Series and at Ravinia Festival, respectively, as well as at the Heidelberg String Quartet Festival. They were also featured in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in July 2019 as Grand Prize winners of the 4th Manhattan International Music Competition Chamber Music Division. Notable collaborations include appearances with cellist David Geringas at the Cleveland Cello Society’s 20th anniversary concert as well as a collaboration with clarinetist Frank Cohen on the ChamberFest Cleveland Series. Over the past two seasons at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival they have collaborated with Paul Watkins, Lawrence Power, Gilles Vonsattel, and John Novacek.

The Callisto Quartet is committed to continually broadening their musical horizons by drawing inspiration from a plethora of mentors and musical approaches. They also believe strongly in passing along their musical insights to younger students and sharing their music in their communities. To this end they have served as faculty and given masterclasses at numerous schools and festivals including the Bravo International Chamber Music Workshop, University of Central Florida, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, the Greenville Fine Arts Center, and the CIM Preparatory Division. They frequently perform in schools, retirement homes, and other community centers, and are featured as ensemble in residence at the Carolina Music Museum in Greenville, SC. 

Violin

Paul Aguilar

As a founding member of the Callisto Quartet, Paul Aguilar is currently part of Rice University’s Graduate String Quartet in Residence and is also studying at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia School in Madrid, Spain with Gunter Pichler. He previously earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) where he was a full-scholarship student of Jaime Laredo and Jan Sloman.

Hailing from a Venezuelan-American family in South Carolina, he began studying violin at age five with his older sister as his primary teacher. His first exposure to both orchestral and chamber music was at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC, where he participated enthusiastically for seven years. After moving to Cleveland to study, he won top prizes in numerous solo competitions including the 2016 Milhaud Competition and 2017 CIM Concerto Competition. During his time in Cleveland, he performed regularly with both the Canton and Akron Symphonies. He was a two-time participant in the New York String Orchestra Seminar and was also recently selected as the only Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Performance Fellow for the 2020-2021 season.

As first violinist of the Callisto Quartet, he has won top prizes at the Banff, Bordeaux, Fischoff, Melbourne, Wigmore Hall, and Manhattan International Competitions. Recent quartet performances include appearances on the Schneider Concert Series, the Dame Myra Hess Concerts, the Music Institute of Chicago Artist Series, the Ravinia Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, La Jolla Summerfest, the Heidelberg String Quartet Festival, and the Emilia-Romagna Festival. Paul has attended festivals such as IMS at Prussia Cove, Weikersheim International Chamber Music Campus, Norfolk, Kneisel Hall, JSQ Seminar, Robert Mann Quartet Seminar, MISQA, Meadowmount, and the Music Mountain Chamber Music Festival.

In addition to traveling around the world performing with Callisto Quartet, Paul enjoys sharing music at his church and throughout his community in schools and numerous other community centers. While not practicing, rehearsing, or performing, Paul enjoys hiking, reading, listening to and discussing music, teaching and coaching individuals and chamber groups, and spending time with his wife, Rachel. Paul is a 2019 MPower Grant recipient from the Sphinx Organization and currently plays on a violin made by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in 1835 on generous loan from an anonymous sponsor.

Violin

Rachel Stenzel

Originally from Holiday Hills, IL, Rachel Stenzel grew up in a very musical family, beginning her formal training on the piano at age five and later on the violin at age nine. Currently a member of the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, she previously completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Violin Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), where she also minored in both Music Theory and Business Management. Her primary teachers include Paul Kantor, Stephen Rose, Jan Mark Sloman, and Almita Vamos.

Rachel’s ensemble training began at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, IL where she was actively involved in their orchestra and chamber music programs. Her orchestral experience has included five years as a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, concertmaster of the Suburban Symphony Orchestra, and a participant in the New York String Orchestra Seminar. During her time at CIM, Rachel was the recipient of multiple awards in both violin and chamber music; she also served as concertmaster of the CIM orchestra and was featured as a soloist with the orchestra. Along with her duo partner, pianist Keru Zhang, she performed numerous solo recitals in the Cleveland area, in addition to participating in both the Intensive Quartet Seminar and the Intensive Duo programs at CIM.

Although she loves both solo and orchestral playing, Rachel’s true passion is for chamber music and her quartet (Callisto Quartet) maintains an active performance schedule year-round in venues across the world. Rachel is a two-time Gold Medalist of the Fischoff National Chamber Competition, winning the Grand Prize in 2018 with the Callisto Quartet after having already taken home the Junior Division Gold Medal in 2014 with her string quartet from Midwest Young Artists. The Callisto Quartet has continued their competition success on the international scene with top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and the Manhattan International Music Competition.

In addition to playing in orchestra and chamber settings, Rachel enjoys performing regularly at church and other venues, such as retirement centers or community events. Rachel is the recipient of a Grant for Education from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, and also plays on a bow generously on loan from them. In her spare time she enjoys running, journaling, all kinds of craft projects, and spending time with her husband, Paul.

Viola

Eva Kennedy

Violist Eva Kennedy has had a lifelong passion for chamber music. As a founding member of the Callisto Quartet, she has had the opportunity to perform some of classical music’s greatest repertoire across North America and around the world. Originally from Worthington, Ohio, Eva played in her very first quartet at the age of 7 as a student at the Chamber Music Connection. She fell in love with chamber music immediately and was an avid participant in the program until her graduation. Eva received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was the recipient of the Dr. Bennett Levine chamber music award. She also spent a semester studying abroad at the Paris Conservatory. She is currently based in Houston, Texas, where the Callisto Quartet is the Graduate Quartet in Residence at Rice University. Her mentors have included Deborah Price, Jeffrey Irvine, Sabine Toutain, Lynne Ramsey, and James Dunham.

Alongside her passion for performing, Eva also has a great interest in teaching. She maintained a private teaching studio in Cleveland as well as being on faculty at Lakewood City Schools and the Aurora School of Music. She also greatly enjoys coaching chamber ensembles and has taught at the Western Reserve Chamber Festival, BRAVO International Chamber Music Workshop, and the Chamber Music Connection, among others, as well as giving masterclasses at the CIM Young Artists Program, the University of Central Florida, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, and more.

As a member of the Callisto Quartet, Eva maintains an active performing schedule and has appeared at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Ravinia Festival in the US, as well as international venues such as the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, the Philharmonie de Paris, the Melbourne Recital Centre, and the Heidelberg String Quartet Festival. The quartet was the Grand Prize winner of the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and has won prizes at every international competition in which they have participated, including the Banff, Bordeaux, Melbourne, and Wigmore Hall competitions.

Eva is Canadian through her father’s side and has both Canadian and American citizenships. When not playing music, she enjoys cooking, rock climbing, and traveling with her family. Her viola was made in 2003 by Hiroshi Iizuka, who drew inspiration from the shape of a viola d’amore.

Cello

Hannah Moses

Praised for her sensitivity and beauty of sound, cellist Hannah Moses has performed worldwide both as a soloist and as a founding member of the Callisto Quartet. A Cleveland native and graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Hannah studied cello with Richard Weiss and Dr. Melissa Kraut, and currently works closely with Norman Fischer at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where the Callisto Quartet is the Graduate String Quartet in Residence. Hannah has collaborated with artists such as Zuill Bailey, Augustin Hadelich, Lawrence Power, and others, and has appeared as soloist with orchestras throughout Ohio, including the CIM Orchestra as a result of winning the 2018 Concerto Competition.

A passionate educator as well as performer, Hannah has been actively involved in chamber music coaching at CIM’s Young Artist Program, of which she is a graduate, and was on faculty at the Hudson Montessori School Conservatory and the Western Reserve Chamber Festival. She was on cello faculty at the Cleveland Music School Settlement and the Aurora School of Music for several years, and appeared as guest artist and juror at the 2018 Tennessee Cello Workshop Competition, after winning the competition in 2015.

Hannah’s greatest passion is chamber music, and as cellist of the Callisto Quartet, she enjoys traveling and performing around the world. The quartet maintains an active concert schedule and has had great competition success, winning Grand Prize at the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, as well as securing top prizes at the Banff, Bordeaux, Melbourne, and Manhattan International Competitions.

When not playing string quartets, Hannah enjoys running, rock climbing, and writing. She currently resides in Houston, TX with her cat, Snickers.