The all-Canadian Afiara String Quartet is widely noted for its engaging, authentic presence and performances balancing “intensity and commitment” with “frequent moments of tenderness.” [The Montreal Gazette].
Winner of the 2008 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the 2010 Young Canadian Musicians Award, top prizes at the Munich ARD International Music Competition and the Banff International String Quartet Competition, where they also took the Szekely Prize for best Beethoven interpretation, the Afiara String Quartet has lively interest in new works and fresh insight into core classical repertoire.
In the 2012/2013 season, the Afiara String Quartet opens the season with a series of concerts at the Indiana Summer Music Festival and Bay Chamber Concerts in Maine. They travel to Alberta to appear with the Calgary Pro Musica Society, as well as concerts in British Columbia with pianist Jane Coop, and to Ontario to perform at the Festival of the Sound, Harbourfront Centre, Ottawa Chamber Music Society, and Music Niagara. The Quartet tours in Ohio, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine and California, where they appear at Stanford Lively Arts and Cal Performances. In Europe they will undertake an extensive tour of Denmark and Sweden, and make debuts at the Esterhazy Foundation in Austria, and London’s Wigmore Hall.
As the Glenn Gould School Fellowship Quartet at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, the Quartet will offer masterclasses, educational outreach and performances as part of their residency.
In recent seasons, the Afiara appeared at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with Bruce Adolphe and with Jörg Widman, the Baryshnikov Arts Centre in New York City, ProMusica San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, Chamber Music Cincinnati, the Washington Performing Arts Society, San Francisco Performances, and the Library of Congress. They opened the Montreal Chamber Music Festival’s six-concert Beethoven String Quartet Cycle, sharing duties with the Tokyo and Chiara String Quartets. The Quartet appeared Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, and joined the Juilliard String Quartet in a performance of the Mendelssohn Octet at the Kennedy Center.
The Quartet also made its Ravinia debut playing works by Haydn, Beethoven and Dvorak. They returned to residencies at The Banff Centre and the Indiana University Summer Music Festival, and appeared in concerts at the Festival of the Sound in Ontario, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Domaine Forget, and the Waterside Summer Series.
Passionate advocates of new music, the Afiara String Quartet has embarked on a project with the Common Sense Composers’ Collective and Cecilia String Quartet, performing and recording eight new quartet works at The Banff Centre. Enjoying a friendly mentorship with the Kronos Quartet, the Afiara offered affectionate tribute at the Kronos’ June 2011 Avery Fisher Prize Presentation, playing Aleksandra Vrebalov’s “Pannonia Boundless”. The Afiara have also performed the world premieres of Brett Abigana’s String Quartet No. 2, “Lockdown” by Dan Becker, and Jason Bush’s “Visions in San Francisco” – all written specifically for them. Among other new music highlights, the Afiara have collaborated with timpanist Louis Siu in a set of commissions, and with singer/songwriter Kyrie Kristmanson and composer Patrick Carrabre for a world premiere song-cycle at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.
The Afiara String Quartet has been heard on Bavarian Radio, CBC Radio 2, TROS in the Netherlands, San Francisco’s KALW, New York’s WQXR and are featured in the Road to Banff documentary. Their debut CD, on the Foghorn Classics label, features quartets by Mendelssohn and Schubert, as well as the Mendelssohn Octet with the Alexander String Quartet.
In 2011, the Afiara String Quartet completed a two-year tenure as graduate resident string quartet at The Juilliard School in New York, where they served as teaching assistants to the Juilliard String Quartet. Prior to that, they were the Morrison Fellowship Quartet-in-Residence at San Francisco State University’s International Center for the Arts (2007-2009), where the members were teaching assistants to their mentor ensemble, the Alexander String Quartet. The Afiara players have also worked with musicians and ensembles including the American, Cavani, Emerson, Kronos, St. Lawrence, Takacs and Ying Quartets, Earl Carlyss, James Dunham, Henk Guittart, Bonnie Hampton, and at the San Francisco Conservatory, where they were formed, with Paul Hersh, Mark Sokol and Ian Swensen.
Recognizing the vital importance of music education and advocacy, the Afiara String Quartet pursues its own teaching work, in residence at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music and as faculty at Chamber Music of the Rockies, Indiana University Summer String Academy, and Canada’s Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute, among other institutions. They also provide educational outreach and make regular appearances at The Banff Centre, which generously provides the 1737 Guidantus violin played by second violinist Yuri Cho.
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.
For more information, please visit www.afiara.com
(September 2012. Please discard previously dated materials and contact firstname.lastname@example.org before making any alterations or cuts.)