With performances in practically every major city and every prestigious music festival in North and South America, Europe, the Far East, and Australia, the Vermeer Quartet has achieved international stature as one of the worlds finest classical music ensembles. Formed in 1969 at Marlboro, the Vermeer makes its permanent home in Chicago, while serving as resident artists at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb since 1970, and as Fellows at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in England, where the quartet has given annual master classes since 1978. Since 1984 the quartet has been the resident quartet for Performing Arts Chicago. Recordings include the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Bartók, with various other works by Schubert, Brahms, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, Schnittke, Verdi, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Dvorùák. The violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi was born in Israel, where he was a student of Ilona Feher. He later studied with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He was the winner of the Merriweather Post Competition, a finalist in the Queen Elisabeth Competition, and second prize winner in the Tchaikovsky Competition. He has performed with many of the worlds leading orchestras in the United States, Europe, the Soviet Union, and Japan, and has appeared in recital with Murray Perahia and Peter Serkin. The violinist Mathias Tacke is originally from Bremen. He studied with Ernst Mayer-Schierning in Detmold, with Emanuel Hurwitz and David Takeno in London, and with Sandor Vegh in Cornwall. He won first prize in the Jugend Musiziert National Competition, and graduated with honours from the Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie, where he was later appointed to the faculty. From 1983 to 1992 he was a member of the Ensemble Modern, one of the most important professional groups specialising in twentieth century music. Richard Young, who plays viola in the quartet, studied with Josef Gingold, Aaron Rosand, William Primrose, and Zoltán Székely. At the age of thirteen he was invited to perform for Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. Since then he has appeared as a soloist with various orchestras and has given recitals throughout the United States. A special award winner in the Rockefeller Foundation American Music Competition, he was a member of both the New Hungarian Quartet and the Rogeri Trio. He has taught at the University of Michigan and the Peoples Music School in Chicago, and was chairman of the String Department of Oberlin Conservatory. The cellist Marc Johnson, studied in Lincoln, Nebraska, with Carol Work, at the Eastman School of Music with Ronald Leonard, and at Indiana University with Janos Starker and Josef Gingold. While still a student, he was the youngest member of the Rochester Philharmonic, and has subsequently performed as a soloist with that orchestra. In addition to numerous other awards, he won first prize in the prestigious Washington International Competition. Before joining the Vermeer Quartet he was a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony.