The Afiara String Quartet makes its New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall, Wednesday, May 5 at 8 PM in a FREE program featuring guest violist (and Juilliard faculty member) Michael Tree in a performance of Brahms' String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The Afiara Quartet (violinists Valeri Li and Yuri Cho, violist David Samuel, and cellist Adrian Fung) also perform Beethoven's String Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1; and Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Minor, Op. 138.
FREE tickets are available beginning April 20-at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.
The May 5 concert is the 17th annual Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital and marks the annual presentation by Juilliard of its graduate quartet-in-residence, the members of which serve as teaching assistants to the celebrated Juilliard String Quartet (resident faculty since 1945). Since their residency at Juilliard began last fall, the Afiara Quartet has coached with the JSQ, as well as faculty members (and former JSQ violinist) Earl Carlyss, and New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, who as first holder of the School's William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies, participates in a wide range of teaching and performance projects at Juilliard. In 2008, all-Canadian Afiara Quartet won the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in New York, following a top prize at the Munich ARD International Music Competition. The ensemble has been heard on Bavarian Radio, CBC Radio 2, TROS in the Netherlands, San Francisco's KALW, and New York's WQXR. They have been featured in the Road to Banff documentary.
The Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital at Alice Tully Hall is presented through the generosity of the Arnhold family. The members of each resident quartet, named Lisa Arnhold Fellows, receive free tuition and a stipend, as well as regular ensemble coachings with the Juilliard String Quartet; they in turn coach other Juilliard student ensembles. The annual residency may be extended through a second season. Previous graduate resident quartets include the Avalon, Calder, Chiara, Miró, and St. Lawrence string quartets. The current graduate-resident quartet also participates in the annual Juilliard String Seminar, coming later this season May 17-21. Assembled from around the world by audition, the quartets complete their week-long seminar with public performances by all participating quartets, this season on Friday,
May 21 at 3:30 and 7:30 PM, in the School's Paul Hall.
Guest artist, violist Michael Tree, was a founding member of both the famed Guarneri String Quartet and the Marlboro Trio. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Tree studied the violin with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute of Music. Following a Carnegie Hall recital debut, he appeared as a soloist on both the violin and viola with major orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and his native New Jersey. As a chamber musician, he has concertized throughout the world and recorded more than 80 chamber music masterpieces; prominent among them are ten piano quintets and quartets with Arthur Rubinstein. Other artists with whom he has recorded include Emanuel Ax, Richard Goode, Jamie Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma, Sharon Robinson, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, and Pinchas Zukerman. Mr. Tree is a co-founder of the Schumann Trio, featuring works for clarinet, viola or violin, and piano; his colleagues include Anthony McGill and Anna Polonsky. He has participated in leading festivals, including Marlboro, Casals, Spoleto, Israel, Aspen, Santa Fe, and Taos. Mr. Tree serves on the faculties of Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, the Curtis Institute, Bard College, and the University of Maryland. He plays a Domenicus Busan viola, dated 1750, from Venice or Hiroshi Iisuka, Philadelphia, dated 1996.
The Afiaras' 2009-2010 season included appearances at the Library of Congress, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Schneider Concerts at the New School, and the Convocation Series at Purdue University, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, and the Morrison Artists Series. In Canada this season, they performed at the Mooredale Concert Series and at Festival of the Sound, and enjoy return engagements with the Montreal and Ottawa International Chamber Music Festivals. Under the auspices of San Francisco State University's International Center for the Arts (ICA), the Afiara Quartet released its debut CD on the Foghorn Classics label in fall 2009, featuring quartets by Mendelssohn and Schubert, and the Mendelssohn Octet with the Alexander Quartet.
To date, the ensemble has given the world premieres of Brett Abigana's Une Grande Messe and Jason Bush's Visions in San Francisco (the latter of which was written for the Afiara), and the East Coast premiere of Peteris Vasks' String Quartet in New York. Together with timpanist Louis Siu, they commissioned and premiered new chamber music repertoire for string quartet and the tenor timpani. The ensemble also gave the world premiere of Huck Hodge's String Quartet No. 2 in New York with the support of the American Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation. In 2010, the Afiara String Quartet embarks on a project with the Common Sense Composers Collective and Cecilia String Quartet, which includes the recording and world premieres of eight new quartet works at The Banff Centre. In July 2010, the Afiara Quartet also will collaborate with singer/songwriter Kyrie Kristmanson and composer Patrick Carrabre for the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival's Late Night series to be broadcast by CBC Radio.
The Quartet was the Morrison Fellowship Quartet-in-Residence at San Francisco's ICA from 2007-2009, where the members were teaching assistants to their mentor ensemble, the Alexander String Quartet. One of two fellowship quartets at the 2008 Aspen Festival's Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, the Afiara is an Affiliate of San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
In addition to their studies with the Alexander String Quartet, the Afiara players have worked with numerous musicians including the American, Cavani, Emerson, Kronos, St. Lawrence, Takacs and Ying Quartets, Earl Carlyss, James Dunham, Henk Guittart, Bonnie Hampton, Geoff Nuttall, Lesley Robertson, Barry Shiffman and Scott St. John, and at the San Francisco Conservatory, where they were formed, with Paul Hersh, Mark Sokol and Ian Swensen. They also collaborate and perform with the rap group Blunt Delphix.
Formed in 2006, the Afiara String Quartet takes its name from the Spanish fiar, meaning "to trust", a basic element vital to the depth and joy of its music-making. The ensemble is committed to education and connecting with diverse audiences. The Quartet has served as faculty at Chamber Music of the Rockies, Indiana University Summer String Academy, and Canada's Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute and has also benefited from several visits to the Banff Centre's Fall/Winter Residencies and the Summer Chamber Music Program. Bringing urban elements into its outreach activities, the ensemble bridges the gap between Haydn and hip-hop.