Hickory Metro String Quartet-in-Residence

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Fry Street Quartet

This remarkable quartet – hailed as "a triumph of ensemble playing" by The New York Times – is a multi-faceted ensemble taking chamber music in new directions.

Touring music of the masters as well as exciting original works from visionary composers of our time, the Fry Street Quartet has perfected a "blend of technical precision and scorching spontaneity" (The Strad). Since securing the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to London, and Sarajevo to Jerusalem, exploring the medium of the string quartet and its life-affirming potential with "profound understanding...depth of expression, and stunning technical astuteness" (Deseret Morning News).

With a discography that includes a wide range of works from Haydn and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Janacek and Rorem, the quartet is known for being "equally at home in the classic repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven or contemporary music." (Palm Beach Daily News).  Navona records recently released The Crossroads Project, which features commissioned works by Laura Kaminsky and Libby Larsen, and up next is a recording of Kaminsky’s lauded new chamber opera As One, which will be released on Albany Records.

The FSQ's tour repertoire reaches many corners of the musical spectrum, including works of Britten, Schubert, Beethoven and Bartok, as well as programs of American women composers Laura Kaminsky, Amy Beach, Joan Tower and Libby Larsen. Recently, the Salt Lake City-based NOVA series presented the FSQ’s cycle of the six quartets of Bela Bartok paired with Haydn’s String Quartets Op. 76, highlighting a juxtaposition of masterpieces by two great innovators for the string quartet.  In November 2018, the FSQ will proudly present a complete Bartok Cycle in the Russell Wanlass Performance Hall at Utah State University, featuring eminent Bartok scholar Peter Laki.
The FSQ premiered Laura Kaminsky's chamber opera As One with soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone Kelly Markgraff at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and has gone on to perform the work with Hawaii Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Kansas City, and Chautauqua Opera.

In addition to collaborations with acclaimed instrumentalists (including Joseph Kalichstein, Wu Han, Paul Katz, Donald Weilerstein, Misha Dichter, Andres Cardenes and Roger Tapping, among others), the Fry Street Quartet has commissioned and toured new works by a wide range of composers. Pandemonium by Brazilian composer Clarice Assad received its Fry Street premiere with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra; Michael Ellison's Fiddlin' was co-commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music Series and the Salt Lake City based NOVA series; and both Laura Kaminsky's Rising Tide and Libby Larsen’s Emergence were commissioned especially for the quartet's global sustainability initiative, The Crossroads Project.

After more than 30 performances in three different countries, The Crossroads Project: Rising Tide continues to resonate with audiences. This fresh approach to communicating society’s sustainability challenges draws upon all the senses with a unique blend of science and art, and has been featured on NPR's joe’s big idea (aired during All Things Considered), as well as in publications by Yale Climate Connections, Reuters, and the New York Times.

The quartet's significant touring history includes performances at major venues, festivals, and for distinguished series such as Carnegie Hall and the Schneider Series at the New School in New York, the Jewel Box series in Chicago, Chamber Music Columbus, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, the DiBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame, the Theosophical Society in London, and the Mozart Gemeinde in Klagenfurt, Austria. The quartet also enjoys a continuing residency with the Salt Lake City-based NOVA series. Projects have included the Schoenberg Chamber Symphony under the direction of Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer, the Utah premieres of string quartets by Michael Ellison and Andrew Norman, and frequent collaborations with members of the Utah Symphony.

The Fry Street Quartet is pleased to hold the Dan C. and Manon Caine Russell Endowed String Quartet Residency at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.

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La Catrina Quartet

Since its founding in 2007, La Catrina String Quartet (LCSQ) is recognized as the new vanguard for contemporary Latin American string quartet repertoire. Their mission is three-fold: a deep commitment to the cultivation of new works by living U.S. composers and throughout the Americas; the programming of existing Latin American works rarely performed in the U.S. and abroad; bringing fresh interpretations to classical, romantic and twentieth century masterpieces. Hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as "wonderful ambassadors for Latin American music," LCSQ members are from Mexico (Daniel Vega-Albela, Jorge Martínez-Ríos), Venezuela (Simón Gollo) and Chile (Jorge Espinoza). Their rich cultural origins convey an unparalleled stylistic authenticity and artistic vision in their performances, collaborations and recordings. It is this unique balance of core Latin American repertoire with American and European classical traditions that characterizes both the diversity of their concert programs and appeal to multi-cultural audiences.

In 2010, Symphony Space in New York City, under the direction of Laura Kaminsky commissioned Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra to write his "Cuarteto No. 2" for LCSQ. The venue's world premiere was held in 2011 as part of the new music festival "Wall to Wall Sonidos." Also in 2011, they collaborated with the heralded Cuarteto Latinoamericano for a definitive recording of "Seresta No. 2 for Double String Quartet" by twentieth century Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone. The CD "Brasileiro" featuring the piece won the 2012 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Recording. In October 2014, LCSQ presented the world premiere of a string quartet by Carlos Sánchez Gutiérrez, one of Mexico's most prestigious and celebrated contemporary composers, commissioned by the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato. In November of the same year, their first commercially released CD, “América Latina: A Musical Canvas,” was nominated for a Latin Grammy award.

Recent and future collaborations featuring American composers and artists include Richard Boukas, Zae Munn's commission "Our Hands Were Tightly Clenched" and a groundbreaking recording of contemporary and twentieth century American music with tuba player James Shearer. To document and distill their championing of Latin American repertoire over the course of several years and more than five hundred performances, LCSQ plans to release a multi-disc recording project. LCSQ is currently string quartet-in-residence at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. A significant part of their educational mission includes outreach programs whose primary goal is to cultivate and expose a new emerging generation of young listeners to the traditional string quartet literature as well as to the evolving multi-cultural face of contemporary chamber music.

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KAIA String Quartet

From the tango of the Rio de la Plata to the string quartets of Silvestre Revueltas, the KAIA String Quartet is an ensemble devoted to exposing audiences to the rich and colorful music of Latin America. Active performers in both the US and abroad, highlights of the 2019-2020 season include a residency at the Avaloch Farm Institute, a tour of Argentina and Uruguay, as well as performances at concert series in North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The Quartet plays an active role in Chicago's music scene, where they are regular guests at the Chicago Latino Music Festival and the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. Most recently, they were the ensemble in residence at Chicago's classical radio station, WFMT. During this residency, they explored the world of Latin classical music with audiences through daily radio segments, performances and broadcasts around the city and the production of KAIA Kids, a series of children's education videos.

Celebrated for its ability to "beautifully blur the lines between jazz, classical, Latin and world music", KAIA's recent album collaboration with Fareed Haque was chosen by the Chicago Tribune as one of the top ten classical musical recordings of 2018. Their latest album, Sureno, explores the music and relationship of composers Astor Piazzolla and Jose Bragato. Upcoming recording projects include a collaboration with jazz pianist Ryan Cohan and his work Originations. This piece will be part of Chicago's Jazz Fest main stage.

KAIA is deeply devoted to music education. From 2013-2017, the quartet traveled to Tijuana, Mexico to present and perform in schools through the sponsorship of the Mainly Mozart Festival. They are teaching artists for Ravinia's Reach*Teach*Play program and for the International Music Foundation's Live Music Now program. KAIA is currently in residence at DePaul University's Community Music Division.

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Kontras Quartet

Admired for their "superlative artistry" (CVNC Arts Journal), the Kontras Quartet has established an international following for their vibrant and nuanced performances. The "superb Chicago-based ensemble" (Gramophone Magazine) has been lauded for their "crisp precision" (Palm Beach Daily News) and "enjoyable musical personality" (Fanfare Magazine). Kontras means contrasts in the Afrikaans language - fitting for a string ensemble whose colorful repertoire spans centuries, genres, and continents.

The Kontras Quartet's recent and upcoming engagements include international tours of South Africa and Switzerland; broadcasts on classical radio stations nationwide (including Performance Today and a 3-month residency with Chicago's WFMT 98.7 fm); performances at Chicago's Symphony Center and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; television appearances on NBC and PBS; and sold out concerts in Telluride, Salt Lake City, Raleigh and Arizona. In the spring of 2018, Kontras and saxophone great Branford Marsalis gave the world premiere of Dan Visconti's quintet for string quartet and saxophone, a work that the Quartet co-commissioned with San Diego's Art of Elan.

Kontras enjoys educational work of all kinds, and is in its fourth year as the Quartet in Residence at Western Michigan University. The quartet has also continued its work in the Chicago Public Schools with the support of a grant from the Boeing Company. Outside of the Chicago area, Kontras has made a significant educational impact in North Carolina, bringing over 200 innovative and interactive outreach programs to 40,000 school-age and college students.

The Kontras Quartet records for MSR Classics and has released three critically acclaimed albums. The first, Origins, features new and lesser-known works from the quartet's home countries, including the world premiere recording of Dan Visconti's Ramshackle Songs. The recording was commended by Gramophone Magazine for the quartet's "scrupulous shading and control". The second, Lucid Dreamer, features a septet that Kontras commissioned in 2013 with a generous Chamber Music America-awarded grant. The work treads the line between classical music and American folk and invigorates Kontras' ongoing collaboration with the esteemed Kruger Brothers trio, as does their 2017 release, the Roan Mountain Suite.

Formed while the group's members were string principals in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Kontras Quartet began pursuing a professional career in 2009. Kontras enjoyed immediate recognition, holding their own against seasoned string quartets from around the country to win a four-year chamber music residency with the Western Piedmont Symphony in North Carolina, a full-time position established through Chamber Music America's Residency Partnership Program. The quartet has received continued training with the Vermeer and Juilliard String Quartets.

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Tesla Quartet

Praised for their “superb capacity to find the inner heart of everything they play, regardless of era, style, or technical demand” (The International Review of Music), the Tesla Quartet brings refinement and prowess to both new and established repertoire. Dubbed “technically superb” by The Strad, the Tesla Quartet has won top prizes in numerous international competitions, most recently taking Second Prize as well as the Haydn Prize and Canadian Commission Prize at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition. In 2018, the Tesla Quartet released its debut album of Haydn, Ravel, and Stravinsky quartets on the Orchid Classics label to critical acclaim. BBC Music Magazine awarded the disc a double 5-star rating and featured it as the “Chamber Choice” for the month of December. Gramophone praised the quartet for its “tautness of focus and refinement of detail.” Their second disc on the Orchid Classics label, a collaboration with clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein featuring quintets by Mozart, Finzi, John Corigliano and Carolina Heredia, will be released in October 2019.

entering its second decade, the quartet performs regularly across North America and Europe, with recent highlights including their debut at New York’s Lincoln Center, a return to London’s Wigmore Hall, and performances at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall as winners of the prestigious John Lad Prize. Other recent international engagements include tours of Brazil, China, and South Korea. Notable festival appearances include the Banff Centre International String Quartet Festival; the Joseph Haydn String Quartet Festival at the Esterházy Palace in Fertőd, Hungary; the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany; and the Festival Sesc de Música de Câmara in São Paulo, Brazil. Having served as the Marjorie Young Bell String Quartet-in-Residence at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada from 2016-2017, the Tesla Quartet also recently completed a four-year community residency in Hickory, North Carolina that included performances and workshops at local colleges, universities, and in the public school system, as well as a dedicated chamber music series.

The Tesla Quartet was formed at The Juilliard School in 2008 and quickly established itself as one of the most promising young ensembles in New York, winning Second Prize at the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition only a few months after its inception. From 2009 to 2012, the quartet held a fellowship as the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where they studied with the world-renowned Takács Quartet. They have also held fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

The Tesla Quartet is Ross Snyder (violin), Michelle Lie (violin), Edwin Kaplan (viola), and Serafim Smigelskiy (cello).