August 10, 2018


Photo by Mike Grittani

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 formed in 2016 at the Cleveland Institute of Music and brings together four dedicated and passionate musicians who share a love for chamber music. Highlights of their achievements include recognition as top prize winners at the 2019 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. They are also Grand Prize winners of the 4th Manhattan International Music Competition Chamber Music Division, which featured the quartet in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in July 2019. Currently serving as the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where they work closely with James Dunham, Norman Fischer, and Kenneth Goldsmith, they also study with Günter Pichler of the Alban Berg Quartet at the 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 Institute. In April 2018, at the invitation of Gerhard Schulz, they attended the Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar where they also worked with Gidon Kremer and Thomas Ades. 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. Notable collaborations include appearances with cellist David Geringas at the Cleveland Cello Society’s 20th anniversary concert as well as a collaboration with clarinettist 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. This coming year includes a return engagement on the Schneider Concert Series, as well as appearances at the Heidelberg String Quartet Festival.

The Callisto Quartet is committed to continually broadening their musical horizons by drawing inspiration from a plethora of mentors and musical approaches. Their primary musical influences include Si-Yan Li, Philip Setzer, Gerhard Schulz, Heime Müller, and Peter Salaff. The Callisto Quartet also believes 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 places including the Bravo International Chamber Music Workshop, University of Central Florida, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, 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.

Paul Aguilar, a Venezuelan/German violinist from SC, is currently studying at Rice University as a member of Callisto Quartet – the graduate quartet-in-residence for 2019-2021. He is also studying with his quartet at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia School in Madrid, Spain. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a full-scholarship student of Jaime Laredo and Jan Sloman. He has won top prizes in various competitions including 1st Prize in the 2016 Milhaud Competition and 2017 Spring Concerto Competition, both at CIM. He attended the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC where his love for chamber music was ignited by teacher John Ravnan. As an individual, he has attended festivals such as Meadowmount, Kneisel Hall, NYSOS, and NYO USA. Paul enjoys sharing his music at his church, listening to music, and reading. He is a recipient of the Sphinx Organization’s MPower Artist Grant.


Violinist Rachel Stenzel is currently studying at Rice University as a member of Callisto Quartet – the graduate quartet-in-residence for 2019-2021. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Stephen Rose and Jan Sloman. Originally from Holiday Hills, IL, she was formerly a student of Almita Vamos and was also actively involved in the Midwest Young Artists orchestra and chamber music programs. Most recently, she was concertmaster of the Suburban Symphony in Ohio and a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Her true passion is for chamber music and much of her time is devoted to rehearsing and performing with her string quartet. She also performs regularly at her church and enjoys sharing her music with the community and in more personal settings. When not practicing she enjoys running, journaling, traveling, and all kinds of crafts.


Violist Eva Kennedy is currently studying at Rice University as a member of Callisto Quartet – the graduate quartet-in-residence for 2019-2021. She received a Master’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Lynne Ramsey. She also earned her Bachelors degree at CIM in 2017, studying with Jeffrey Irvine, as well as spending a semester as an exchange student at the Paris Conservatory studying with Sabine Toutain. Eva has been passionate about chamber music since her first experience playing in a quartet at age 7, when she began studying at the Chamber Music Connection in her hometown of Worthington, OH. Her interests outside music include feminism and rock climbing.



Cellist Hannah Moses is currently studying at Rice University as a member of Callisto Quartet – the graduate quartet-in-residence for 2019-2021.  She earned an Artist Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2019, where she previously received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music studying with Dr. Melissa Kraut. Hannah has been the recipient of many awards, including the Dr. Bennett Levine Chamber Music Award, the CIM Alumni Association Award, the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award through “From the Top”, among others. Hannah has performed in masterclasses for renowned cellists such as Zuill Bailey, Andres Diaz, Lynn Harrell, Hans Jorgen-Jensen, Ralph Kirshbaum, Joel Krosnick, David Requiro, and Alisa Weilerstein. She has also appeared as soloist with many local orchestras. Hannah is an avid chamber musician and as the cellist of the Callisto Quartet spends much of her time playing string quartets. Her other passions include traveling, hiking, writing, and meditation.

photos by Mike Grittani