For more LSQ

See the Lydians LIVE in concert at the Slosberg Music Center:


Mozart - Quartet in C major, K. 465 “Dissonance”
- Quartet No. 2, Sz. 67
Yu-Hui Chang
- New work (world premiere)
- String Quartet


Haydn - Quartet in D major, Op. 64, No. 5 “Lark”
Jon Nelson - New work (world premiere)
Steven Snowden - Appalachian Polaroids
Brahms - Quintet in G major, Op. 111 (guest violist Amadi Azikiwe)


$20; $15 for Brandeis community and seniors (55+); $5 for students.

Purchase tickets online, by phone at (781) 736-3400, and in person at Brandeis Tickets, located in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium.

For information on booking the Lydian String Quartet, visit


The Lydian String Quartet has long championed the works of living composers. The goal of this commission prize is to encourage creativity and enhance the string quartet literature at the highest level of composition.

Click here for the 2017 Commission Prize Brochure

Click here for Contest Regulations and Application / Login

Click here for Prize FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Lydian String Quartet

Lydian String Quartet 2016

Photo by Susan Wilson (

Since its formation, in 1980, the Lydian String Quartet has embraced the full range of the string quartet repertory with curiosity, virtuosity, and dedication to the highest artistic ideals of music making. In its formative years, the quartet studied repertoire with Robert Koff, a founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet who had joined the Brandeis faculty in 1958.  Forging a personality of their own, the Lydians were awarded top prizes in international string quartet competitions, including Evian, Portsmouth and Banff, culminating in 1984 with the Naumburg Award for Chamber Music.  In the years to follow, the quartet continued to build a reputation for their depth of interpretation, performing with "a precision and involvement marking them as among the world's best quartets" (Chicago Sun-Times). Residing at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, the Lydians continue to offer compelling, thoughtful, and dramatic performances of the quartet literature. From the acknowledged masterpieces of the classical, romantic, and modern eras to the remarkable compositions written by today's cutting edge composers, the quartet approaches music-making with a sense of exploration and personal expression that is timeless.

The Lydian String Quartet has performed extensively throughout the United States at venues such as Jordan Hall in Boston; the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; Lincoln Center, Miller Theater, and Weill Recital Hall in New York City; the Pacific Rim Festival at the University of California at Santa Cruz; and the Slee Beethoven Series at the University at Buffalo. Abroad, the Quartet has made appearances in France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, and Armenia.

The Lydians have created intriguing thematic programming such as “Around the World in a String Quartet,” a multi-year concert series that explores string quartet music from local world musical traditions in and beyond the western European art music setting; and “Vienna and the String Quartet,” a project surveying the heart of the Western classical string quartet repertory by juxtaposing new and old Vienna.  In addition to traditional concerts, the quartet offers programming with themes exploring concepts of time, place, the vernacular, and identity, as well as single composer programs, all-contemporary programs, cross-cultural collaborations, and mixed media programs (video, electronics, live painting projections).  The Lydians enjoy working with other artists, in traditional configurations as well as in boundary-crossing performances.  Most recently, these included such musicians as tabla player Sandeep Das, pipa player Chen Yihan, Syrian clarinetist/composer Kinan Azmeh, and others.

The Lydians have long championed the commissioning, performing and recording of new works.  They enjoy working with young composers at the quartet’s Brandeis home as well as in mini-residencies at universities across the US.  Their five-year “American Originals” Project, from 1995-2000, featured music drawn from the rich repertoire of the 20th-Century American string quartet.  During that time they performed and/or recorded over sixty works by American composers, accompanying concerts with workshops, lectures, and discussions.  Composer and music critic Dexter Morill refers to the Lydians as holding a “leading position” in the American string quartet repertoire, noting that they were the first to record many of these works, helping to bring them to the forefront of the American contemporary quartet repertoire. The project serves as a foundation for the diverse and ever-expanding Lydian contemporary exploration. In recognition of their work, the quartet has received numerous Chamber Music America/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, grants from the Meet the Composer/Rockefeller Foundation/AT&T Jazz Program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

In 2012 their first Lydian String Quartet Commission Prize drew over 400 applicants; as a result, first prize-winner Kurt Rohde wrote his epic string quartet treatises for an unrecovered past for the Lydians, who premiered it in 2013 and recorded it in the summer of 2015.  The second (2015) LSQ Commission prize was awarded to composer Steven Snowden, with a premiere planned for the spring of 2016.

The Lydians' 29 currently available commercial recordings reflect their diverse and far-reaching repertoire, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Ives, Ornstein, Persichetti, and Schubert as well as American contemporary composers they have long known and collaborated with such as Martin Boykan, Eric Chasalow, Peter Child, John Harbison, Lee Hyla, Steven Mackey, David Rakowski, Harold Shapero, and Yehudi Wyner. Their recording of John Harbison’s String Quartet No. 3 and “The Rewaking” was chosen by both The New York Times and The Boston Globe as one of the best classical recordings of 2001.  Harbison recently wrote of the quartet: "Each time I encounter the Lydian Quartet my admiration for their technical, structural, and communicative power continues to grow. They are the complete package, and the wider my travels, the deeper goes my conviction."

Of their recently released (2012) recording of Beethoven's late quartets, Paul Rapoport of Fanfare magazine writes: “these are fine and distinctive performances, recorded in very realistic sound… The dense counterpoint of the Grosse Fuge benefits especially from the textural clarity characteristic of these performances, and the Lydian players turn in one of the most cleanly executed and precisely articulated renditions of this difficult movement in my experience.”  The Boston Globe’s Jeremy Eichler wrote, of the release: “These distinguished readings are full of subtlety, tonal refinement, and a sense of accumulated musical wisdom.”

The members of the Lydian String Quartet are on the faculty of Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Their website can be found at

Lydian Biographies

Mark Berger
Violist Mark Berger joined the Lydian String Quartet in 2014 and has been appointed associate professor of the practice at Brandeis University. In addition to his work with the quartet, Berger frequently performs with many of Boston’s finest orchestras and chamber ensembles including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Emmanuel Music, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Worcester Chamber Music Society and Music at Eden’s Edge.  He has recently appeared as a guest artist with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Boston Musica Viva, and Radius Ensemble.  Strongly devoted to the performance of new music, Berger has performed with many of Boston’s new music ensembles including Sound Icon, Boston Musica Viva, Dinosaur Annex, Ludovico Ensemble, and ALEA III. In addition to his teaching at Brandeis, Berger is currently on the string faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and a lecturer at Boston College. Also an acclaimed composer, Berger’s works have been presented locally by Boston Musica Viva, the New York New Music Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, ALEA III, the Worcester Chamber Music Society, Xanthos Ensemble, Music at Eden’s Edge, QX String Quartet, and the Lydian String Quartet, as well as nationally and internationally by the Third Coast Percussion Quartet, Ensemble Permutaciones (Mexico) and the Hellenic Ensemble of Contemporary Music (Greece).  His compositions have received awards and recognition from the League of Composers/ISCM, ASCAP, and the Rapido! Composition Competition and he has received commissioning grants from NEFA and the Brannen-Cooper Fund.

Judith Eissenberg
Second violinist and a founding member of the Lydian String Quartet, Judith Eissenberg is Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University, where she has been on the faculty since 1980. With the LSQ, she has won numerous international prizes, including the Naumburg Award for Excellence in Chamber Music. She has also commissioned new works, recorded, and toured extensively in the United States and abroad, performing on period and contemporary instruments. With an expertise in chamber music, she has played, in the Boston area, with the Boston Chamber Music Society, The Boston Conservatory Chamber Players, Emmanuel Music, and others. Ms. Eissenberg is co-founder and director of Music From Salem, a chamber music festival in upstate New York; is on the faculty of the Chamber Music Conference and Composers' Forum of the East; and coaches chamber music at The Boston Conservatory. At Brandeis, she founded and directs MusicUnitesUS, whose mission is to further the understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures through music, and enjoys teaching Intro to World Music as well as Chamber Music Performance and Analysis: From the Perspective of the Performer.

Joshua Gordon
The cellist Joshua Gordon has won acclaim from audiences, critics, colleagues, and composers for his dramatic music making and rich tone. An experienced soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and educator who joined the Lydian String Quartet and became Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University in 2002, he is also an artist member of the Worcester Chamber Music Society and resident cellist at the annual Wellesley Composers Conference. He has performed across the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and South America. He was a member of the New York Chamber Soloists, the Group For Contemporary Music, and the New Millennium Ensemble, and has been a guest of the Apple Hill, Cassatt, DaPonte, Juilliard, and Ying Quartets, Apple Hill Center For Chamber Music, Boston Baroque, Boston Chamber Music Society, Boston Jewish Music Festival with pianist Donald Berman, Chameleon Arts Ensemble, Emmanuel Music, Fromm Players at Harvard University, Kowmung Music Festival (Australia), New York Festival of Song, North Country Chamber Players, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Portland Chamber Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Smith College Players, Williams College Players, and Speculum Musicae. Joshua Gordon's duo with pianist Randall Hodgkinson has been described as "insightful and impassioned" by The New Yorker, and their New World recording Leo Ornstein: Complete Works For Cello and Piano was named one of the top 10 classical recordings of 2007 by the All Music Guide. As a Lydian, Gordon can be heard can be heard on critically acclaimed recordings of quartets by Martin Boykan, Mohammed Fairouz, John Harbison, Vincent Persichetti, and their newest set on Centaur of Beethoven's late quartets released in 2012. He is also featured playing music ranging from Roger Sessions and Charles Wuorinen to Morton Feldman and Gerry Hemingway on recordings from Albany Records, CRI, Cala, Koch International Classics, Naxos, and Tzadik. His web site can be found at

Andrea Segar
Violinist Andrea Segar enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. Her previous chamber music appearances include Yellow Barn, the Olympic Music Festival, the Birdfoot Festival, the Perlman Music Program, Music@Menlo, IMS Prussia Cove and Festival de San Miguel de Allende, among others. Andrea’s chamber music collaborations include performances with members of the Emerson Quartet, Juilliard Quartet, Peabody Trio and Mendelssohn Quartet, Soovin Kim, Colin Carr, Stefan Milenkovich, the Doric Quartet, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Peter Frankl, and Susan Narucki. Andrea is also a frequent guest with the Grammy-nominated ensemble A Far Cry, and has performed on their recordings for Naxos and Crier Records.  Andrea’s performances have aired on NPR’s Performance Today and classical radio stations nationwide. Her competition awards include first prizes in the Washington International String Competition and the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition.

As a soloist, Andrea has appeared with numerous ensembles across the country, including the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, Arizona Musicfest Orchestra, Oakland-East Bay Symphony, ProArt Symphony, and the New England Conservatory Bach Ensemble, in venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Jordan Hall in Boston.  She also has appeared in recital in the US, UK and Mexico.  Andrea recently developed a recital project focused on the far-ranging violin and piano music of the early 20th century, titled “The Decade Project,” at the Maybeck Studio in Berkeley, CA.

Andrea received her undergraduate and Master of Music degrees with Honors from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she served as the teaching assistant to Donald Weilerstein. She has served on the faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and the Music@Menlo program.  Andrea was also the head violin studio teaching assistant to Philip Setzer and Soovin Kim at SUNY Stony Brook, where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

The Lydian String Quartet on CD

  1. Anderson, Allen: String Quartet (CRI 727)
  2. Ludwig van Beethoven: The Late String Quartets (Centaur CRC 3212/3213/3214)
  3. Bouchard, Linda: Lung Ta (CRI 672)
  4. Boykan, Martin: String Quartet No. 3 (Albany Records TROY1196)
  5. Boykan, Martin: String Quartet No. 4 (CRI CD 786)
  6. Brahms: Piano Quintet and Viola Quintet in G, with Brandeis alumnae Sally Pinkas and Betty Hauck; CD produced by Brandeis University
  7. Child, Peter:  String Quartet No. 1 (Neuma CD 450)
  8. Child, Peter: String Quartet No. 2 and other chamber music (New World Records CD 80594-2)
  9. Fairouz, Mohammed: Lamentation And Satire For String Quartet (2008)
  10. Fauré, Gabriel: La Bonne Chanson, with Sanford Sylvan, baritone and David Breitman, piano (Nonesuch 79371-2)
  11. Fine, Irving: String Quartet (Nonesuch 9 79175-2)
  12. Fussell, Charles: “Being Music” with Sanford Sylvan, baritone   (Koch 3-7338-2 H1)
  13. Harbison, John: Two String Quartets, and “November 19, 1828” with Yehudi Wyner, piano (Harmonia Mundi France 907057)
  14. Harbison, John: String Quartet No. 3, “Thanks, Victor” and “The Rewaking,” with Dominique Labelle, soprano (Musica Omnia 0110)
  15. Harbison, John: The First Four String Quartets (Centaur CRC 2985)
  16. Hyla, Lee: Second and Third String Quartets (New World Records 80491-2)
  17. Hyla, Lee: Fourth String Quartet (Tzadik)
  18. Ives, Charles: The String Quartets (Centaur 2069)
  19. Karlins, William: Quintet for Alto Sax and String Quartet (1974), with Paul Bro, saxophone; Music from Northwestern, Vol. 8, CD (Arizona University Recordings AUR CD 5008)
  20. Steven Mackey: Quartet For Strings (1983) (Originally CRI SD 526 / now New World NWCRL526)
  21. Lydian String Quartet in Moscow: (MCA; music of Chaushian, Firsova, Thomas Oboe Lee, Peter Child [out of print])
  22. Nieske, Bob: Simplicity; the Bob Nieske Trio with the Lydian String Quartet (Accurate Records: AC-5042)
  23. Ornstein, Leo: Piano Quintet, with Janice Weber, piano and String Quartet No. 3 (New World Records 80509-2)
  24. Persichetti, Vincent: The Four String Quartets (Centaur 2833)
  25. Schubert, Franz: “Death and the Maiden” (song and string quartet), and Quartet in B-flat, with Mary Westbrook-Geha, mezzo-soprano  (Centaur 2186)
  26. Schuman, William: Three String Quartets (Harmonia Mundi France 907114)
  27. Shapero, Harold: Serenade for String Quintet, String Quartet, String Trio (New World Records 80569-2)
  28. Seymour Shifrin: Cantata To The Text Of Sophoclean Choruses (New World Records NWCRL511)
  29. Wyner, Yehudi: String Quartet (1985), Brandeis Sunday (1996), and other chamber music, Song Cycle “On This Most Voluptuous Night” with soprano Dominique Labelle (New World Records 80549)