When the Parker Quartet walks into Paine Hall Friday night to kick off this season’s Blodgett Chamber Music Series, they will be on familiar ground. For the past five years, violist Jessica Bodner, cellist Kee-Hyun Kim, and violinists Daniel Chong and Ken Hamao have been Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard, performing four concerts a year in Cambridge while balancing an international performance schedule.
The quartet formed in 2002 when the members were in their second year of undergraduate studies at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
When “we started the group, it was serious immediately,” Bodner said. The decision to pursue a career as a group came three years later, when they decided to participate in the Concert Artists Guild and Bordeaux competitions. “The preparation is so intensive that the decision had to be made before even seeing the outcome,” Bodner explained.
The leap of faith paid off: They won both contests. And almost a decade later, in 2014, the Grammy-winning group again faced an invitation-only audition, this time for the next Blodgett residency at Harvard. Again, they won.
More than any other Blodgett Artists-in-Residence in the past, the Parker Quartet has entwined itself with the music communities in Cambridge and at Harvard. Before their tenure, the residency was a visiting position only, but it became full-time with the quartet’s arrival. This meant the foursome took on more roles at Harvard — they perform Dean’s Noontime Concerts for Cambridge residents and play in the Houses for students.