Top US string quartet changes viola, again

Top US string quartet changes viola, again


norman lebrecht

August 26, 2018

It’s all musical chairs at the Pacifica Quartet, which has the coveted residency at Bloomington Indiana.

A year ago the Pacifica changed two players, a violinist and violist.


Now we hear that Mark Holloway is coming down from New York to replace the violist who replaced the violist.

Got that? (Don’t go looking at the quartet’s website or social media because they haven’t been updated in months.)

Violist Masumi Rostad quit a year ago and his replacement, Guy Ben-Ziony, has now followed him through the swing doors. Guy does not even mention the Pacifica on his website. Like it never happened.

I guess we’ll be hearing from their PR.



  • Bob says:

    They made a big mistake

  • Rich Patina says:

    Makes me think of that old saw about the advertisement that appeared on the back page of the old Village Voice:

    “Experienced string quartet seeks two violins and a cellist. 555-1212”

  • Davis King says:

    I was at the sold-out concert they played at the Ravinia Festival last night. They sounded better than ever; sometimes change is a good thing. All four played with incredible imagination while maintaining complete unity and clarity. I cannot wait to hear them again.

  • Kishmish says:

    His website wasn’t updated since 2013!!! Of course you won’t read anything about the quartet if he started there 1 year ago…

  • sang mee says:

    I attended the Pacifica concert last night at Ravinia, which happened to also be Mark Halloway’s debut with the quartet. They and he sounded absolutely amazing! As everyone knows, the chemistry that creates a great string quartet is a very mysterious thing and when the paths of 4 people create the circumstances for personnel change of 2 members, it’s almost impossible to hit the bulls eye at first try. Many quartets go through multiple changes over the life of a group. This is not anything unusual. What is unusual is that a group manages to evolve and sound better and better with time, even with changes, like the Pacifica has done. So kudos to them!! As accomplished as they already are, their future is very bright!

  • Chilynne says:

    Heard the Pacifica last night – lovely program and an amazing performance since it was Mark Holloway’s first performance with the Pacifica (or so I was told). I’ve no idea what the issue was (maybe Bloomington itself) for Guy Ben-Ziony. Heard him with the Pacifica earlier in the year and was blown away by his “take no prisoners” approach, matching Simin Ganatra’s similar approach – frankly, thrilling music-making. What we heard Saturday was beautiful and very beautifully performed – so, I’m very hopeful that with a little time together there will be future thrilling chember music again. IU’s website lists Mr. Holloway, and Mr. Ben-Ziony has disappeared from it. Clearly, Mr. Holloway is an experienced and excellent chamber musician. We shall see how things develop. Again, I’m quite hopeful. (And the relatively new second violin, Austin Hartman, has very much come into his own since we heard him some months ago. I think he’s an improvement on his predecessor.)

  • Bupa says:

    There is another aspect to this, and that is that Ben-Ziony is married to the new harp teacher at IU, Florence Sitruk. Are they both leaving IU? There was a lot of controversy about her appointment to follow Susan McDonald. So now I’m wondering what else is going on there(at IU). Anyone know????

  • boringfileclerk says:

    After a few more additions, they may even start playing in tune! Incredible!

  • Alexander Platt says:

    The Pacifica Quartet remains one of the very finest string quartets in America, and I look forward to their return to the Maverick Concerts.

  • Dr. Paul Rapoport says:

    The Walden Quartet had nine violists in its 45 years, and the Maggini seven first violinists in its first 25 years. Not every group can be the Amadeus or Portland Quartet.