Donors restore quartet

Just after Northern Kentucky University announced it would be dropping its in-residence string quartet due to lack of funds, a handful of donors stepped up to supply $100,000 and save the quartet. NKU announced last week the Azmari String Quartet’s contract is being renewed.

The quartet – comprised of two violinists, a cellist and a viola player – was stunned in February when NKU announced it would be discontinued July 1. The quartet’s members, Christina and Rebecca Merblum, Meghan Casper and MinTze Wu are in their second year at NKU.

Although the donors wish to be anonymous, Christina Merblum said the quartet knows the individuals very well. “They are all wonderful, wonderful people,” she said.

“I’m excited and relieved this has all been resolved,” Rebecca Merblum said.

Christina Merblum said after the quartet’s jeopardized situation was publicized, people stepped forward to express concern. “It was flattering,” she said. “I think personal voices helped make a good ending.”

“We got all kinds of e-mails when people found out,” Casper said. “A lot of students and even parents of students wrote letters to the president (Votruba).”

Wu had a positive outlook on the near-termination of the quartet’s residence at NKU. “I think that a lot of good things have come out of a bad situation,” she said. Wu said the interest people took in the quartet’s fate and the generosity of the donors was tremendous.

Nine students are enrolled in the string program at NKU, which is one of the few programs of its kind in the region. If the quartet had been dropped, the continuation of the string program would be questionable.

Now that the Azmari String Quartet’s contract is being renewed, Casper said the quartet hopes the string program at NKU will be more appreciated.