Chiara String Quartet

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The Chiara String Quartet is an internationally performing professional string quartet based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The group is the Quartet-in-residence at the School of Music in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and until April 2014 is also the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University. The group is also in residence as faculty at the Greenwood Music Camp, a summer program for advanced high school musicians. The group's members are Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; and Gregory Beaver, cello.

The quartet has made a name for itself performing without the music. Their most recent album, Brahms by Heart the 3 string quartets of Johannes Brahms were recorded without music. The quartet is also performing the 6 string quartets of Bela Bartok by heart as well as more traditional repertoire.[1][2][3]

The Chiara Quartet
The Chiara Quartet performs at New York's Caffe Vivaldi, June 28, 2007

In addition to traditional concertizing, in December 2006 the group began performing in bars and other unusual performance venues for a classical string quartet under the tagline "Chamber music in any chamber." This has brought them into bars such as The Brick in Kansas City, Missouri, Rose in Brooklyn, New York (New York Times review), Avogadro's Number in Fort Collins, Colorado,[4] and Avantgarden in Houston, Texas.[5]

Competitions and awards[edit]

The quartet's professional career started in 2000 with a Chamber Music America Rural Residency grant, placing the group in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where they lived until 2002. The group won the Senior String Gold Medal in the 2002 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition,[6][7] and was a winner of the 2002 Astral Artistic Services National Auditions,[8] and was selected as the Lisa Arnholdt graduate string quartet at the Juilliard School from 2003-2005.[9] The quartet also won third prize in the 2005 Premio Paolo Borciani.

In addition to the CMA Rural residency grant that began their career, the group has been the recipient of a Commissioning grant and 3 Residency partnership grants from Chamber Music America,[10] and a Meet the Composer grant.[11]

From the quartet's recording "Jefferson Friedman: Quartets," "String Quartet No. 3" was nominated for a Grammy.[12] The Chiara Quartet's recording of the Brahms and Mozart Clarinet Quintets was a Hot Pick of October 2006 for NET Radio.[13] The Chiara Quartet's performance at Meany Hall in December 2007 was selected as one of the highlights of the year by Seattle Post-Intelligencer's R.M. Campbell.

Commissions[edit]

From its beginning as a professional ensemble, the Chiara Quartet has actively commissioned new works for string quartet. Composer Jefferson Friedman wrote his 2nd quartet for the group in 1999 when they were still students, and his 3rd quartet for them in 2005. Gabriela Lena Frank composed her Leyendas, an Andean Walkabout for String Quartet for the group in 2001, and her Ghosts in the Dream Machine piano quintet for the Chiara Quartet plus pianists Simone Dinnerstein in 2005.[14] Robert Sirota wrote his Triptych, a commemoration of the victims of the September 11 attacks, for the quartet in 2002.[15]

Upcoming commissions include a piano quintet with the quartet and Simone Dinnerstein from Jefferson Friedman commissioned by the Irving Fine Foundation. The premiere will occur at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.[16]

Discography[edit]

The Chiara Quartet has released two shorter-length albums through their self-produced New Voice Singles series, and one album of clarinet quintets with clarinetist Håkan Rosengren on the SMS Classical label. SMS Classical has also contracted the quartet to record the complete Brahms string quartets plus the G Major viola quintet with violist Roger Tapping, release is expected in the near term.

Release date Album Label
2004 Triptych: Robert Sirota[17] Chiara New Voice Singles
2006 Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout[18] Chiara New Voice Singles
2006 Quintets for Clarinets and Strings[19] SMS Classical
2011 Jefferson Friedman: Quartets[20] New Amsterdam Records
2014 Brahms by Heart[21] Azica Records

Education work[edit]

Chiara String Quartet performs Mole Music
Chiara String Quartet performing Mole Music for young children in South Bend, IN

The Chiara Quartet has developed extensive educational programs, including a musical version of David McPhail's Mole Music as well as several programs developed in concert with Young Audiences of New York between 2002 and 2004. The group has worked with Eric Booth extensively, and is mentioned in his book, The Music Teaching Artist's Bible: Becoming a Virtuoso Educator (Oxford University Press, 2009). While on the roster of Astral Artistic Services, the quartet undertook a large-scale multi-visit residency at the Rhoads School sponsored by a Chamber Music America Residency Partnership grant.

References[edit]

External links[edit]