East-coast quartet debuts in Alberta
Music: Calidore String Quartet performing in High River on March 10
Wednesday, Mar 08, 2017 11:43 am
A New York quartet does not require wind instruments to blow away the competition or knock their audience out of their seats.
Four young musicians with the Calidore String Quartet use their skills with the violin, cello and viola to win chamber music competitions and hush audiences to a dead silence during their stunning performances around the world.
The talented foursome consists of Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan on violin, Jeremy Berry on viola and cellist Estelle Choi. They began collaborating musically while studying at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, California.
“We did a bunch of competitions to really push ourselves to learn repertoire,” said Choi, who is originally from Calgary. “When we did quite well in those competitions, we took it as a sign maybe we should make a go of this.”
The Calidore String Quartet garnered top prizes in the Coleman, Chesapeake, St. Paul and Rembrandt chamber music competitions, as well as several others. Among its most prestigious was the M-Prize international chamber arts competition in 2016 at the University of Michigan, with a $100,000 prize.
“We’ve been very fortunate in being able to work with fantastic musicians who have really helped us along the way,” explained Choi. “Our careers have really taken off over the years.”
The Calidore String Quartet has yet to perform in Alberta, despite traveling the world with performances in several countries the past seven years. It will make its provincial debut with a performance for the High River Gift of Music Society March 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the High River United Church.
Choi said she learned about the music society when her brothers, cellist Arnold Choi and pianist Edward Choi, played a recital for the concert series.
“Throughout the years we’ve been trying to coordinate and get my string quartet to come to the Calgary area,” she said.
In the meantime, the talent among the four musicians has grown significantly, said Choi.
“Efficiency, in terms of how we work together, has improved dramatically,” she said. “That’s mostly to do with our coaches and mentors. We’ve been able to work with some of the greatest members of string quartets of all time.”
The quartet has also learned to work with the strengths of each of its members, said Choi.
“We cherish those strengths instead of taking for granted if one person has a particular strength,” she said. “With a string quartet you are working together all the time and you know each other inside and out.”
Choi said each member has his or her own voice, instrumentally.
“When four people can come together to a consensus and unify I think it’s something really powerful and audiences really react to it,” she said. “That’s what drew me to chamber music is the fact that I’m able to speak to a number of people, many of whom I don’t necessarily know, through my instrument and to be able to share music which is such an intimate language.”
The quartet is in the emerging artists program at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Centre and spends 60 to 70 per cent of its time performing in front of audiences.
“I feel very fortunate being a part of this group because we have a plethora of repertoire which is some of the great repertoire that composers have ever written,” she said. “We have the ability to not only learn and perform those pieces, but be able to do that with three of your closest friends for me is a really wonderful draw that keeps me passionate about what I do.”
Tickets cost $30 for adults and $10 for youth and can be purchased at highrivergiftofmusic.com