After just one season as the first violinist in the Juilliard String Quartet, Nick Eanet is leaving the ensemble due to health reasons. His resignation from the quartet was announced in June by Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi and the members of the quartet.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must give up my position with the Juilliard String Quartet,” Eanet said when the announcement was made. “It has been a privilege to make music and work with such wonderful people and musicians. Unfortunately, my health will not allow me to continue but I will remember my time with the quartet as a high point in my musical career.” Eanet said that he suffers from a chronic (but not life threatening) digestive disorder that makes extensive touring too difficult. The J.S.Q. spends a considerable amount of time each season traveling both nationally and internationally.
Ron Copes, the quartet’s second violinist, echoed Eanet’s sentiment, saying, “It has been an immense artistic and personal pleasure working with Nick over the past year, watching and listening as the quartet’s voice has evolved. It is a great disappointment that we won’t be able to continue this collaboration for the long term.” The quartet’s other members are violist Samuel Rhodes and cellist Joel Krosnick.
Eanet joined the J.S.Q. in the summer of 2009 to fill the vacancy created when its previous first violinist, Joel Smirnoff, left the group to become the president of the Cleveland Institute of Music. At the time, Eanet was the co-concertmaster, with Juilliard faculty member David Chan, of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Eanet left the Met Orchestra to join the Juilliard Quartet; he will return to the orchestra in his former position this month, but will remain in the J.S.Q. while it looks for a replacement. (The quartet has already begun a search for a new first violinist.) Eanet will concentrate his efforts on those two positions and take a leave from teaching.
The Juilliard String Quartet was founded in 1946 by William Schuman, then Juilliard’s president, as the School’s resident quartet. As champions of contemporary music since its inception, the group has commissioned works from noted composers such as Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Ralph Shapey, Ezekiel Viñao, and Richard Wernick. As teaching faculty members and chamber music coaches at Juilliard, the J.S.Q. members have been a notable part of the School’s string legacy, educating young musicians, and mentoring ensembles that now perform worldwide. Their continued love of music, their skill, and their respect for each other personally and professionally have made them important role models, as well.
Rhodes, the ensemble’s longest standing member, said that “this past season with Nick was wonderful, in terms of both the musical collaboration and the personal interaction among the four of us. We are extremely sorry that, because of compelling medical reasons, Nick must leave the quartet. Ron, Joel, and I will continue the great legacy of the Juilliard String Quartet by choosing a colleague who, willingly and joyfully, will share that responsibility with us.”