The Zenith Quintet is an electro-acoustic project created by Rami El-Farrah, Sunil Gadgil, Michael Hertel, and Spencer Nielsen of the Bel Cuore Quartet, and Revel’s pianist and co-founder, Carla McElhaney. BCQ and McElhaney first came together in 2012 as featured guest artists at the The University of Texas at San Antonio, performing composer Asha Srinivasan’s Janani for Saxophone Quartet and Piano during her UTSA residency. It is not without significance that Janani is a piece celebrating birth and new life; it served as the catalyst for the formation of Zenith, a sky’s-the-limit collaboration between forward-thinking artists from two of Austin’s most beloved and original chamber ensembles.
After making their debut as the Zenith Quintet on After Hours Concerts at Springdale Farm, the ensemble went on to appear on the Donald Grantham Concert Series, the Blanco Performing Arts Series, the Texas Lutheran University Guest Artist Series, and on a variety of Revel events. In addition to premiering original arrangements of works by an eclectic array of composers, including Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Aero Smith, and more, Zenith premiered their first commission, Zackery Wilson’s joySTICK IT, a piece for saxophone quartet, keyboard, and fixed media, which later went on to win both 2nd Prize and the Public Prize at the 2014 International Alkema Composition Contest in The Netherlands. Later, in collaboration with Revel, Zenith premiered Son of Cimetiére for Saxophone Quartet and Piano Trio by award-winning composer Donald Grantham.
Zenith is now officially coming under the Revel umbrella to collaborate with Revel on an ongoing basis, and to actively commission progressive composers to create new works for their unique configuration.