Julian Rhee and Balourdet Quartet Among Avery Fisher Career Grant Winners

By Keegan Morris |

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Julian Rhee smiles wearing red eyeglasses and black tee shirt swhile holding a violin

Julian Rhee

Violinist Julian Rhee and the Balourdet Quartet have received the Avery Fisher Career Grant, two of five 2024 recipients that also includes violinist Njioma Chinyere Grevious and pianist Clayton Stephenson. Meanwhile, Sandbox Percussion, the final awardee, represents the first percussion ensemble to receive this prestigious career grant.

The Avery Fisher Artist Program announced earlier this year that violinist Hilary Hahn, the CSO’s inaugural artist-in-residence through the end of the 2023-2024 season, has received the Avery Fisher Prize, the Lincoln Center organization’s highest recognition.

The winners — who each receive $25,000 grants and other professional advancements — were chosen by an esteemed committee that includes Emanuel Ex, Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, David Finckel, Wu Han, Henry Fogel, and more. Past career grant winners have included Yuja Wang, Hilary Hahn, and Augustin Hadelich.

2024 marks the 50th anniversary year of the Avery Fisher Artist Program, which was named for Avery Fisher, an amateur violinist, audio pioneer, and philanthropist with an abiding passion for music.

Julian Rhee, raised in Brookfield, Wisconsin, appeared on WFMT’s Introductions in 2018 and performed in 2022 on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series.

New York-raised pianist Clayton Stephenson is also an alum of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series, having performed on the program in October 2023. In July 2024, Stephenson will appear as soloist at the Grant Park Music Festival for performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with conductor Eric Jacobsen.

The Balourdet Quartet are quickly accumulating top prizes at music competitions around the world. Currently serving as an ensemble-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, the quartet appeared on Live from WFMT in January 2024 and on the Hess series in 2022.

Njioma Chinyere Grevious is a rising violinist who recently completed studies with Ryan Meehan (himself an Introductions alum) and the Calidore String Quartet at the University of Delaware. Amidst a busy performance schedule, Grevious has performed with the Chicago Philharmonic twice within the last two years.

Founded in 2011, Grammy-nominated Sandbox Percussion seeks to broaden classical music by expanding representation and repertoire. The group currently serves as the ensemble in residence at the New School and the University of Missouri, Kansas City.