Thalea String Quartet©Titlayo Ayangade

Thalea String Quartet

2019–20 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence

Sun, November 17, 3:00pm

Adult $25 – $40 Students 18 and under FREE

Overview

We welcome the Thalea String Quartet as our 2019–20 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence for their first concert in the Music Room. 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 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.

“Hearing the Thalea Quartet makes me feel very happy and gives me hope for the future. They are great ambassadors for music.” — David Harrington, Kronos Quartet

“I have been deeply impressed by Michelle Cann’s playing, its fine musical intelligence and emotional depth. She has the eloquence and authority of a born performer.” — Richard Goode

Artists

Thalea String Quartet
Christopher Whitley, violin
Kumiko Sakamoto, violin
Luis Bellorín, viola
Titilayo Ayangade, cello

Michelle Cann, piano

Program

Copland Movement for String Quartet
Price Folk Songs in Counterpoint; Piano Quintet (arranged from Piano Concerto by Boris Vayner)
Beethoven String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, “Razumovsky”


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Thalea String Quartet©Titilayo Ayangade

Thalea String Quartet

Christopher Whitley, violin
Kumiko Sakamoto, violin
Luis Bellorín, viola
Titilayo Ayangade, cello

Artist Website Watch

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, and will serve as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts for the 2019/20 season, where they will premiere a new work by acclaimed composer Paola Prestini.

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 and 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.

The Thalea String Quartet is a fiscally sponsored affiliate of InterMusic SF, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to small-ensemble music in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Michelle Cann

Michelle Cann, piano

Artist Website  Watch

Michelle Cann began studying piano at the age of  seven and since then has placed in various state, national, and international competitions including the Music Teacher’s National Association Competition, the International Russian Piano Music Competition, the Gilmore Piano Foundation Competition, and the Blount Young Artists National Competition. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 14 and since then has been invited to perform with various orchestras including the Florida Orchestra, Tampa Bay Symphony, Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra. She has performed on the nationally broadcast radio show,  From the Top, hosted by pianist Christopher O’ Riley; was featured as the inaugural performer on WRTI 90.1 Philadelphia’s new series, In Recital, and select performances have been broadcast regularly on Philadelphia’s WHYY Television.

Michelle has worked with many esteemed artists who include world-renowned pianists Paul Schenly, Daniel Shapiro, Joela Jones, Sergei Babayan, Jerome Lowenthal, and Richard Goode.  During past summers Michelle has been accepted into such competitive programs as Taos Chamber Music Festival and School, Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, and the Perlman Music Program Chamber Music festival directed by renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. Other engagements include performances in the South Hampton Cultural Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory, and the Woodmere Art Museum.

Michelle was selected to perform with current students and alumni including Roberto Diaz, president of the Curtis Institute of Music in both Beijing and Shanghai, China and Seoul, Korea. She was also invited to perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the New Jersey Symphony this past February. Michelle received her BM and MM from the Cleveland Institute of Music and recently graduated with an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied under Robert McDonald.

In 2016, Michelle performed the New York premiere of the Piano Concerto by Florence Price (1887-1953). Price was the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra. The Boston Musical Intelligencer raved, “Michelle Cann, as the piano soloist, was a compelling, sparkling virtuoso, bringing this riveting work to life in its first New York performance.”

Michelle and her sister Kimberly, also a concert pianist, perform across the USA and internationally as The Cann Sisters Duo.