Jacob Clewell, Violin & Viola
The Ezra Duo
Formed at The Glenn Gould School in 2016, The Ezra Duo (Jacob Clewell, violin/viola and Sasha Bult-Ito, piano) quickly established itself as a performing ensemble of the highest caliber. The duo found themselves racking up a string of early local performances, including visits to the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, the Prime Chamber Music Society, and in Mazzoleni Hall and Temerty Theatre at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Ezra gave their first performance in Toronto's Koerner Hall in the spring of 2017, performing Hindemith's canonic staple Op. 11 No. 4 in a prelude concert for the Royal Conservatory Orchestra.
Ezra has gone on to perform coast to coast in Canada: in the east on Halifax's Inner Space Concerts, in Vancouver as guests of the Canada International Arts and Music Society, and more centrally in Ontario as guest artists on the North Bay Symphony's chamber series, Montreal's Oasis Musicale, and on various series around Toronto. In November 2017 they appeared in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York, and in April 2018 performed as guests at a G7 Summit event held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. In 2019 Ezra toured internationally with their "Women in Music" and "Art of the Duo" programs, and in the midst of the 2020 lockdown they appeared in a livestreamed celebration of composer Patricia Morehead's 80th birthday held in Koerner Hall. Ezra began traveling again in 2022 with "Colorfully Contemporary", a program showcasing relatable contemporary classical works by living composers.
Always looking for opportunities to educate and entertain, Ezra has participated in outreach events at Toronto's Baycrest Hospital and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, as well as appeared on the Toronto Public Library's mid-day "Orchardviewers" series. The duo has presented masterclasses at the University of Tulsa, Berry College, Albuquerque Youth Symphony, and elsewhere, and are individually dedicated teachers. Ezra is ensemble-in-residence at the Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival, where Sasha and Jacob are co-Artistic Directors, and Artist Faculty at the annual Chamber Music Institute alongside their colleagues in the Velox Quartett, violinist Nicholas Hatt and cellist Jordan Galvarino.
The duo are first prize winners of numerous international competitions, earning invitations to perform in New York, Vienna, and Sarajevo. In March 2018 they competed in the Città di Pinerolo e Torino – Città Metropolitana International Chamber Music Competition in Turin, Italy. In June 2019 Ezra premiered a new sonata written for them by Canadian composer Ronald Beckett, as winners of Arcady Ensemble's Emerging Artist competition.
The 2023-24 season features jazz-inspired music from Nikolai Kapustin, Paul Shoenfeld, Dobrinka Tabakova, and many others, as well as the return of Ezra Electrified!, an online recital series livestreamed to Twitch where the duo performs a mix of classical, rock, and music from films and video games on electric instruments. In November 2023 Ezra will present a finished collaboration with painter Karen Mosbacher on the complete Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano. This season will also see the release of Ezra's first album, titled A Collection of Short Stories.
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