Chiara String Quartet
Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) captivates its audiences throughout the country. The Chiara has established itself as among America’s most respected ensembles, lauded for its “highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing” (The Boston Globe). They are currently Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and were the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University from 2008-2014. For the 2015-2016 season, the Chiara was the quartet-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Chiara Quartet has been playing string quartets and asking probing questions since 2000. Always interested in engaging with the music at its core as well as reaching audiences, the quartet has dedicated itself to finding ways to make the musical experience meaningful for all involved. In this pursuit the quartet has performed in venues from major concert halls to clubs, created interactive programs for all ages, and most recently taken to performing and recording from memory, or “by heart.” Described by an audience member as “a 3-D experience for the listener,” playing by heart is deeply rewarding for the Chiara as well; memorizing the score helps them to closely relate to the composer’s compositional process. The Chiara’s latest recording is Bartók by Heart, a 2-CD set featuring Bartók’s six string quartets, played entirely from memory, released in August 2016 on Azica. The quartet’s previous album, Brahms by Heart, was released on Azica in March 2014.
In addition to the Chiara Quartet’s regular performances in major concert halls across the country, including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Gallery in Washington DC, the ensemble was one of the first string quartets to perform in alternative venues for chamber music performance. Recent highlights of the Chiara Quartet’s international performances include extensive tours of China, Korea, and Sweden.
In addition to Bartók by Heart and Brahms by Heart, the complete Chiara discography includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 on New Amsterdam Records, the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets for SMS Classical, and the world premiere recordings of Robert Sirota’s Triptych and Gabriela Lena Frank’s Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout on the Quartet’s own New Voice Singles label.
The Chiara has been committed to the creation of new music for string quartet since its inception, and has commissioned composers including Gabriela Lena Frank, Jefferson Friedman, Nico Muhly, Daniel Ott, Robert Sirota, among others. Recent collaborators in performance include The Juilliard and St. Lawrence String Quartets, Joel Krosnick, Roger Tapping, Todd Palmer, Robert Levin, Simone Dinnerstein, Norman Fischer, Nadia Sirota, and Paul Katz, as well as members of the Orion, Ying, Cavani, and Pacifica Quartets.
In the summer, the Chiara Quartet is in residence at Greenwood Music Camp as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Chamber Music Institute. The Chiara trained and taught at The Juilliard School, mentoring for two years with the Juilliard Quartet, as recipients of the Lisa Arnhold Quartet Residency.
Chiara (key-ARE-uh) is an Italian word, meaning “clear, pure, or light.”