May 2, 2019
Today’s guest in this fourth episode of the Fischoff Effect series is Christopher Whitley from the Thalea String Quartet. In this series, I bring you five former winners of the Fischoff competition to talk about their experience preparing for and competing at Fischoff, and about the wonderful adventures and opportunities that have followed their win!
My guests this week are Blaise Magniere from the Avalon String Quartet, Dorival Puccini from Axiom Brass, Matt Landry from the Akropolis Reed Quintet, Christopher Whitley from the Thalea String Quartet, and Lydia Reah from the former Kairos String Quartet!
Whether you are a musician about to compete at the competition, or a music lover looking for a fresh approach to practicing and preparing for a concert, make sure to subscribe and tune in everyday, because those conversations are bursting with inspiration and EXTREMELY useful information! Each group has a unique and motivating story and my guests are so generous with their insightful tips and advice!
Founded in 1973 in South Bend, Indiana, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition has grown to become the largest chamber music competition in the world, attracting the finest and most talented young musicians from around the globe. and is one of the most prestigious classical music prizes attainable today. Since its founding, more than 6,000 musicians have participated, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in music performance and education. Fischoff is also deeply committed to music education and partners with competition alumni to bring free, innovative Arts-in-Education programs directly to children in their own schools and community centers. Since 1995, nearly 50,000 children, youth and adults have received free educational programming of the highest order.
Meet the Thalea String Quartet – 2018 Senior String Division Bronze Medal
Christopher Whitley & Kumiko Sakamoto, violin | Luis Bellorín, viola | Titilayo Ayangade, cello
“Thalea never failed to deliver a stirring performance” - Calgary Herald
The Thalea String Quartet is dedicated to bringing timeless music to audiences from all walks of life. From living rooms to concert stages around the world, the Thalea String Quartet aims to connect with audiences on a musical, emotional and personal level, from first time listeners to string quartet aficionados. They are devoted to building a new and diverse audience for chamber music through innovative programming and community engagement.
Formed in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, the Thalea String Quartet has been praised for their “vibrant performance” and “sincere expressivity” (SF Classical Voice). The quartet has performed recitals across Europe, the United States, and Canada, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Massey Hall, and Weill Hall. They were the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2015-17. They were recently named the Young Professional String Quartet at the Butler School of Music, where they are mentored by the highly acclaimed Miró Quartet. They also serve as Associated Artists at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo, Belgium, where they are mentored by the Artemis Quartet. The Thalea String Quartet were top prize winners at both the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the 2018 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They were appointed as the Sphinx Ensemble at the 2018 Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and will return this coming summer as a Shouse Ensemble. They were ensemble-in-residence at the Bear Valley Music Festival for the summers of 2018 and 2019.
The Thalea String Quartet prides itself on the diversity of its collaborations. They have performed Mendelssohn’s Octet in its original manuscript form with the award-winning Borromeo Quartet and shared the stage with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw in performances of works for voice and string quartet. They have performed alongside Geoff Nuttall of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, violist Jodi Levitz and composer Mason Bates. They were invited to participate in the 2017 KRONOS Festival, where they performed works from the Kronos Quartet’s “50 for the Future” Project. Committed to collaborating with artists of all backgrounds, the Thalea String Quartet has collaborated with San Francisco-based dance theatre company the Joe Goode Performance Group at the Yerba Buena Center, appeared with acclaimed Canadian band BADBADNOTGOOD at the iconic Massey Hall.
The members of the Thalea String Quartet are dedicated educators and bring their commitment to teaching and community engagement to their frequent educational and community performances. They have performed educational concerts to students of all ages and regularly perform at care facilities and schools across the United States.
Christopher Whitley (violin) is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Kumiko Sakamoto (violin) is from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada; Luis Bellorín (viola) is from Naperville, Illinois, and Titilayo Ayangade (cello) is from Cincinnati, Ohio. Christopher performs on the 1700 “Taft” Stradivari, generously on loan by the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.
If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review on iTunes! I truly appreciate your support!
Visit www.mindoverfinger.com for information about past and future podcasts, and for more resources on mindful practice.
Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme! Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.
Also a huge thank you to my producer, Bella Kelly!
MIND OVER FINGER:
Join the Mind Over Finger Tribe here! https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindoverfingertribe/