Founded in 1989, the ensemble is well known for their uncompromising choice of repertoire, as well as brillant interpretations. Its four founding members: Laura DeLuca (clarinet), David Sabee (cello), Mikhail Shmidt (violin) and Paul Taub (flute) are passionately dedicated to the performance of little known or never performed, valuable works of contemporary chamber music. They commission new compositions, promote composers hitherto unknown on the Western Coast, such as Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Aaron Jay Kernis, Valentin Silvestrov, Peteris Vasks and John Zorn. The four international festivals organised on the ensemble’s initiative: Icebreaker I: New Voices from Russia (2002); Icebreaker II: Baltic Voices (200 ); Icebreaker III: The Caucasus (2006); and Icebreaker IV: The American Future – attracted wide audiences to Seattle as well as winning critical acclaim. The group has frequently performed at festivals in Eastern and Central Europe (Cold Alternativa, 2002, The Moscow Autumn, 2003, Sound Waves in St. Petersburg, 2003, The Warsaw Autumn, 2005, 2008, Music Fest in Kiev), as well as such festivals as Est-Ovest in Italy (2006) and Modern Festival in Beijing (2008).
The group was granted an Ernst von Siemens scholarship (2006) and the 1st prize – Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming – awarded by ASCAP in 2007