Summer 2019 Artists

  Carpe Diem String Quartet

Carpe Diem String Quartet

“The Carpe Diem players turned in a fiery and flexible performance that was astonishingly free given the unfamiliar tuning system. Here were four musicians who had thrown their hard-won concepts of Western intonation overboard in order to learn a new language to the point beyond fluency, where they communicated with eloquence and zest.” —The New York Times, July 20, 2018

Gold Medal Winner of the Global Music Award

One of the most unique and sought-after chamber ensembles on the concert stage today, the Carpe Diem String Quartet (Charles Wetherbee, Amy Galluzzo, Korine Fujiwara & Carol Ou) is a boundary-breaking ensemble that has earned widespread critical acclaim. Carpe Diem defies easy classification with programming that includes classical, Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music.

The quartet appears on traditional concert series (Carnegie Hall, New York NY; Jordan Hall, Boston MA; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua NY; Asolo Theater, Sarasota FL, Accademia Chigiana,Siena Italy, Suntory Hall, Tokyo Japan) as well as unconventional venues (Poisson Rouge, NYC; Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Half-Moon Bay, CA; The Redlands Bowl, Redlands, CA; The Mug & Brush, Columbus, OH). Carpe Diem has been awarded five transformative grants from the PNC Foundation for their community outreach in Central Ohio.

“The Carpe Diem players turned in a fiery and flexible performance that was astonishingly free…” (The New York Times) 

“With enthrallingly flawless execution and miraculous synchronicity, the Carpe Diem String Quartet wowed their New York audience on Saturday night at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall… With a flair for the romantic and technical expertise to spare, the ensemble is a perfectly structured, dexterously concentrated success...This ensemble must be held in only the highest and most reverent esteem…” (New York Theatre Guide)

 “…Until Saturday evening, I had never heard a performance by one of these multilingual quartets where the classical repertoire was delivered at a level that was competitive with the finest traditional groups. But the Carpe Diem Quartet, appearing at the Dumbarton Church, was extraordinary. Among these contemporary quartets who speak in different tongues, the Carpe Diem is the best one out there." (The Washington Post, Washington, DC)

 “One would have to search long and hard to find a more charming and enjoyable chamber music concert . . . A number of elements contributed to this end result, not the least of which the superb musicianship of the four musicians—Carpe Diem is a seriously talented quartet in the most traditional definition.” (Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, FL)

Carpe Diem’s CD “Montana,” by composer (and quartet member) Korine Fujiwara, received this rave review in Strings Magazine: Carpe Diem “must be one of the most adventurous groups of its kind.” Carpe Diem has recorded the complete cycle of the nine string quartets of Sergei Taneyev for Naxos, as well as the complete string quartets of Jonathan Leshnoff, Reza Vali’s The Book of Calligraphy, two CDs with singer/guitarist Willy Porter, Anansi and the Sky God with John Gunther, saxophone, the complete string quartets of Richard Jordan Smoot, Quintets No. 1 and 2 for Mandolin and String Quartet by mandolinist Jeff Midkiff, and Bruce Wolosoff’s Songs without Words.

Carpe Diem seeks out, and is sought after by, artists from many different genres for collaborations, including : American singer/songwriter/ guitarist Willy Porter, Latin Grammy winner/bandoneón player Raul Juarena, klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer, cellist Yo Yo Ma, banjo virtuoso Jayme Stone, Shannon Heaton, Celtic flautist, mandolinist Jeff Midkiff, Dixieland trumpeter Tom Battenberg, classical guitarist Nicolo Spera, Chinese pipa player Yihan Chen, and world master of the Persian santoor Dariush Saghafi.

The quartet is dedicated to community engagement, and to pushing the limits of the classical string quartet and to changing the concert experience of chamber music. Using innovative programming, thematic concerts, popular music for younger generations, cameras and video to assist in the visual presentation, as well as speaking from the stage to better engage the audience, Carpe Diem is bringing new audiences into the concert hall and revitalizing the chamber music experience.

CDSQ is represented by: Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates

  Carpe Diem String Quartet

Carpe Diem String Quartet

Summer 2019 Artists

  Charles Wetherbee , violin

Charles Wetherbee, violin

Violinist Charles Wetherbee has performed throughout the world, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. He has appeared at the Aspen Music Festival, the Garth Newell Center, the Hidden Valley Festival (CA), the Roycroft Chamber Festival (NY), the Nouvelle Academie International d’Été (Nice, France), the Olympic Music Festival (WA), the MidAmerica Music Festival (OH), and Strings in the Mountains (CO).

He has performed in the French, German, Austrian, and Dutch embassies, the Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery, the Freer Gallery, Strathmore Hall, Jordan Hall and many other important venues.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Charles gave his first performances at age six. He made his debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under Symon Bychkov, and since then has performed with the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovitch, as well as the Japan Philharmonic, the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogota (Columbia), the National Repertory Orchestra, the Orchestra Nacional de Mexico, the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Virginia Symphony, among others.

A devoted chamber musician, Charles is the first violinist of the Carpe Diem String Quartet, with whom he tours and performs regularly. He is also the Artistic Director of the Dercum Center for Arts and Humanities, Keystone, Colorado. Charles is an assistant professor of violin at the College of Music—University of Colorado at Boulder.

Summer 2019 Artists

  Amy Galluzzo , violin

Amy Galluzzo, violin

Violinist Amy Galluzzo, a native of Kansas, moved to Great Britain where she began her violin studies and won a competition where a piece by composer Benjamin Winstanley was commissioned for her. She went on to study with Dona Lee Croft, a professor at the Royal College of Music, London, and to earn a Bachelors, and Masters with Honors, and a Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she studied with Marylou Speaker Churchill and James Buswell.

A finalist in the Naftzger Competition and the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition, Amy has been praised for her “stunning rendition [of Danses sacrés et profanes]” (WGBH Boston) and her “incredible speed and energy” (Sarasota Herald Tribune).

She has performed worldwide in halls such as London’s Barbican, Wigmore and Royal Albert Halls, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Vienna‘s St. Steven’s Cathedral and the Koussevitsky Music Shed and Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. She has collaborated in chamber music concerts with artists including Masuko Ushioda, Carol Rodland, James Buswell and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has studied with members of the Borromeo, Brentano, Shanghai, American and Concord Quartets.

Amy attended the Tanglewood Music Festival for several years, where she won the Jules C. Reiner Prize and served as concertmaster under renowned conductors such as Kurt Masur, Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos and Christoph von Dohnányi. While there, Amy became very involved in performing the music of today’s composers, and has since worked closely with Roger Reynolds, John Zorn, Steve Mackey and Gunther Schuller.

Summer 2019 Artists

  Korine Fujiwara , viola

Korine Fujiwara, viola

Korine Fujiwara is a founding member of Carpe Diem String Quartet. Critics have described her performances as “engaging” and “with finesse and perfection.” Festivals include: Olympic Music Festival, Marble Cliff Chamber Players, Snake River Chamber Players, MidAmerica Chamber Music Festival, Victoria International Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Focus! Festival of 20th Century Music at Lincoln Center, and Summergarden Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Orchestras include: Brooklyn Philharmonic, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and the Columbus Symphony, where she held the position of acting assistant principal second violin.

Named as one of Strings Magazine's “25 Contemporary Composers to Watch,” critics say of her music, “The ear is forever tickled by beautifully judged music that manages to be sophisticated and accessible at the same time,” “Contains a very rare attribute in contemporary classical music: happiness.” —Fanfare “She knows how to exploit all the resources of string instruments alone and together; her quartet writing is very democratic, with solos for everyone; her solo violin writing is fiendishly difficult.” —Strings

A violinist and violist, Fujiwara holds degrees from Juilliard and Northwestern University, studied with Joseph Fuchs, Myron Kartman, Harvey Shapiro, Robert Mann, and Joel Krosnik, was a longtime faculty member of Ohio Wesleyan University, and is in great demand for master classes and clinics.

Korine performs on a 1790 Contreras violin, a 2004 viola by Kurt Widenhouse, and bows by three of today’s finest makers, Paul Martin Siefried, Ole Kanestrom and Charles Espey, all of Port Townsend, WA, USA.

Summer 2019 Artists

  Carol Ou , cello

Carol Ou, cello

A versatile artist, cellist Carol Ou is known for her “fiery, marvelous” and “meltingly melodic outpourings” (Boston Globe) and her “wonderfully pure cello tone and incisive technique.” (The Strad Magazine) 

As the cellist of the Carpe Diem String Quartet, she tours all over the US performing over 50 concerts a year. She also appears frequently with her duo partner, the brilliant American violinist, James Buswell, in duo recitals and concerto performances on five continents.

At ease with the diverse music styles of the last five centuries, Ms. Ou regularly performs a zesty mix of traditional and eclectic works in concert. She has recorded three of the most beloved cello concerti by Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Elgar. She premiered Hsiao Tyzen's Cello Concerto in Taipei. Current recording projects include recording a 20th century violin and cello duo CD, recording the complete set of “Calligraphy” solo cello and duo works as well as the string quartets by the Persian composer, Reza Vali, and finishing the last two Taneyev string quartet recordings for Naxos.

A graduate of Yale University, Carol Ou has taught cello and chamber music students at the New England Conservatory of Music, Yale, MIT, and at conservatories and music festivals world-wide. The Chi-Mei Foundation in Taiwan issues all her concerto recordings. Her chamber music recordings of the 20th century repertoire can be found on the Naxos and CRI labels. Her recording of Walter Piston's Chamber Music, issued by Naxos, won the 2001 Chamber Music America's Best Chamber Music CD award.

Summer 2019 Artists

  Jeff Midkiff , mandolin

Jeff Midkiff, mandolin

A mandolinist and fiddler raised on bluegrass and a professional clarinetist, Jeff Midkiff is an outstanding musician who feels comfortable in more than one setting—musically and personally. “I feel at home in the Blue Ridge Mountains playing fiddle tunes,” Jeff Midkiff says, “but then again, I feel at home in a professional orchestra as well.”

Jeff grew up where bluegrass and traditional string band music thrived. Given his first mandolin at the age of 7 by a neighbor (Sherman Poff, to whose memory Partners In Time is dedicated), he moved quickly into the world of fiddlers’ conventions and contests, winning his first mandolin competition before reaching his teens.

As he grew older, he added the fiddle to his instrumental arsenal and joined the New Grass Revue—yet at the same time, he took up the clarinet and began to perform with his high school’s symphonic band.

Even as he was immersing himself in the classical repertoire, he continued to gain attention as a mandolin and fiddle player.

By the time he graduated he had his sights firmly set on a musical career, and in 1981 Midkiff began studies at Virginia Tech, eventually earning a degree in music education and performance. Yet even as he was immersing himself in the classical repertoire, he continued to gain attention as a mandolin and fiddle player with the McPeak Brothers, a widely respected bluegrass group with whom he made his first serious recording in 1982 (five selections from that album are included on Rebel Records’ McPeak Brothers: Classic Bluegrass CD).

In 1983 he joined the Lonesome River Band, which would eventually become one of bluegrass’s most acclaimed groups. For the next five years, as he completed his education and started working as a music instructor, he performed with the LRB, recording two albums with the group, including its self-titled Rebel Records debut in 1987. Shortly after that, he enrolled in graduate school at Northern Illinois University, earning his Master’s degree in clarinet at the end of the decade—but though the move meant leaving the LRB, he continued to perform with an Illinois bluegrass band, Bluegrass Express.

During the early part of the 1990s, Jeff lived in Florida and performed clarinet with the Naples Philharmonic and later moved to northern Virginia area to be an orchestra director in the Fairfax County schools. “I went a good five years without opening my mandolin case,” he notes, “and as a full-time teacher in northern Virginia, I wasn’t playing much clarinet, either.” An appearance with the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall reawakened his passion for the latter, and in 1995 he moved to the Chicago area to revive his performance career — on the clarinet only, he thought, but ultimately on the mandolin and fiddle, too. Busy as a clarinetist with area ensembles and as a youth orchestra conductor and educator, he was drafted in 1998 by The Schankman Twins, a California-based bluegrass duo now signed to Rounder Records.

“All of the sudden I was getting these ideas for tunes, and as soon as I started getting creative, I thought, I need to start recording.”He was writing a lot, too. “All of the sudden I was getting these ideas for tunes, and as soon as I started getting creative, I thought, I need to start recording.” He has appeared (several times) with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on mandolin, and likewise in the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra's clarinet section since 1980. In 2006, Jeff moved back to his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. Jeff is an orchestra director in the Roanoke City Schools.

Jeff Midkiff's concerto for mandolin and orchestra, “From the Blue Ridge,” was composed in 2011 in a commission from Music Director David Stewart Wiley and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. The first performance was opening night of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra's Fall 2011 season, and the Concerto has subsequently been performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, Williamsburg Symphonia, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Northwest Florida Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Ohio Northern Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, South Arkansas Symphony, Cal Poly Symphony and the Yale Concert Band.

—Jon Weisberger