Arts28 Welcomes the Cecilia String Quartet to the Roster

We are thrilled to welcome the wonderful Cecilia String Quartet to the Arts28 roster, for North American general management.

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Min-Jeong Koh and Sarah Nematallah, violins

Caitlin Boyle, viola

Rachel Desoer, cello


Hailed for its “powerful” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “dauntingly perfect” (Berliner Zeitung) performances, the Cecilia String Quartet performs for leading presenters around the world. Past engagements include performances at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, Prague’s Rudolfinum, the Library of Congress, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and London’s Wigmore Hall. CSQ’s live concert recordings have been broadcast on more than a dozen international public radio networks, including Australia (ABC Classical FM), Canada (CBC/SRC), the United States (WQXR), Germany (DeutschlandRadio), and England (BBC Radio 3). The Cecilia String Quartet is currently based in Toronto Canada, where it is the James D. Stewart Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music.

In addition to performing, the CSQ records for ANALEKTA. The group’s debut album of music by Dvořák in 2012 was acclaimed for its “deeply felt imperativeness” (The Strad), and its 2013 recording featuring music by Janáček, Berg, and Webern, was applauded for “unleashing the ecstasy and angst of the music” (Gramophone Magazine). The Quartet’s 2016 recording of string quartets by Felix Mendelssohn was nominated for a JUNO Award, and was named as one of Gramophone Magazine’s 10 Best Mendelssohn Recordings.

Prize-winners at several international competitions, including Osaka (2008) and Bordeaux (2010), the Cecilias were awarded First Prize at the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC), where they also won the prize for the best performance of the commissioned work. Their commitment to new works can be seen through their project Celebrating Canadian Women in Music, a spotlight on a ‘quartet’ of immensely talented female Canadian composers, involving four new commissions that the CSQ will premiere and record.

Enthusiastic educators and mentors to the next generation of chamber musicians, the CSQ members have held teaching posts at festivals, conservatories, and universities across Canada and the United States, both as an ensemble and as individuals. All of the CSQ members are adjunct professors at the University of Toronto, where they work with music performance majors, as well as engage in collaborative projects with the Composition Department and Department of Humanities. Initiatives developed by the CSQ at the University of Toronto include the Music Mentorship Program, and the String Quartet Composition Competition.

Deeply committed to outreach, the CSQ began developing educational presentations on classical music and the string quartet while it served as String-Quartet-in-Residence at San Diego State University from 2007-2009. Since that time, the group has conducted hundreds of educational presentations across Canada, the United States, Italy, and France. The Quartet has presented for a wide variety of organizations, such as the Monarch School for Homeless Youth, Veteran’s Village for Homeless Veterans, Learning Through the Arts at the RCM, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. CSQ also developed a series of concerts called Xenia Concerts that were customized to appeal to, and be welcoming of, children on the autism spectrum and their families.

Min-Jeong Koh plays on a ca. 1767 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin, Sarah Nematallah plays on an 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin, and Rachel Desoer performs on a 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello, all on loan from an anonymous donor. Caitlin Boyle plays on a 2002 viola by Joseph Curtin. The Quartet would like to thank the anonymous donor, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council for their generous support.

Claremont Trio Recording Release Set for January 2017

The Claremont Trio‘s newest recording project, Spheres, will be released on January 20, 2017 on the American Modern Recordings label. Spheres features three trios by composer Robert Paterson: Sun Trio, Moon Trio, and Elegy. The Claremonts are joined by their former pianist Donna Kwong on Sun Trio, and cellist Karen Ouzounian on Elegy. The entire album was recorded at the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City and produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by legendary producer and engineer Adam Abeshouse.

After recording Paterson’s Sun Trio, the Claremont Trio suggested the idea of Paterson composing a brand new trio especially for their ensemble, and for this album, which ended up being Moon Trio. To round out the album, Paterson suggested his Elegy for two cellos and piano. All three of the works on Spheres are inspired by or have something to do with celestial bodies—the sun, moon and the cosmos.

Spheres will be available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes, and from all other major retailers and digital outlets.

Dorian Wind Quintet Awarded Wigeland Fund Grant

The Dorian Quintet has just been awarded a grant by the American-Scandinavian Foundation in association with the Andrew E. and G. Norman Wigeland Fund. The Quintet has commissioned Norwegian composer, Wolfgang Plagge, who is writing a wind sextet that will have its world premiere in New York City in winter 2018. The Quintet expects to take the sextet on the road with Maestro Plagge, with premieres in cultural centers in Europe and Asia, and plans to release a studio recording of the piece as well. We are all very excited to see this project come to life!

Michael Owen Completes Orlando LOVE Mural

Known for creating the Baltimore Love Project, Michael Owen has recently left his mark on Florida, painting his iconic LOVE hands directly across from Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Michael spent part of his childhood in Orlando, and still has friends and family there. After the June 2016 tragedy, he set out to find a way to spread some love to the community that is still hurting so deeply.

Michael worked with the wonderful folks at the OnePulse Foundation and the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group to secure a location, plot out the project, and install the piece. Everyone involved on the project donated time and materials, and Michael donated his extraordinary talent. Monetary support was given by individual donors, as were in-kind donations from organizations including Sherwin-Williams, Sam Flax of Orlando, Sunbelt Rentals, Johnson’s Wrecker Service, and Downtown South.

The mural features forty-nine orange blossom flowers, adorning Michael’s symbolic hands. The orange blossoms, each one unique in its design and execution, honor the fallen victims. The ‘Love Blossoms’ mural is Michael’s love letter to a city he holds dear. He hopes it will be a lasting beacon of hope and healing for the Pulse community and the City of Orlando. Read more about the project in the Orlando Sentinel.

SONYC Wins Fromm Foundation Grant

String Orchestra of New York City has just been awarded the coveted Fromm Foundation Grant. SONYC will use the funds on an exciting new collaborative piece, for which the group has commissioned well-known Cuban composer, Keyla Orozco. The performance piece will showcase the work of percussive dance and tapper, Max Pollak. It promises to be a thrilling performance art experience, and is scheduled to premiere during the 17/18 season.