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Biography

The all-Canadian Afiara String Quartet offers performances of “startling intensity” with a “powerful, keen-edged collective sound” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the 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 the best performance of Beethoven, the Afiara balances a lively interest in new works with deep insight into core classical repertoire.

In the 2010/11 season, the Afiara String Quartet performs throughout North America and internationally, with dates in New York City at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall and for the Americas Society; at the Kennedy Center for both the Mendelssohn Octet with the Juilliard String Quartet and then presented in concert by the Washington Performing Arts Society; at Las Cruces Concerts in New Mexico; Vancouver’s Music in the Morning; in São Paulo, Brazil; at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam; throughout Denmark and elsewhere. They make a studio recording at the Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich, and return to the Glenn Gould School at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music as Visiting-Quartet-in-Residence.

Last season, the Afiara appeared at the Library of Congress, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Convocations Series at Purdue University, Schneider Concerts at New York City’s New School, and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. They returned to the Montreal and Ottawa International Chamber Music Festivals and inaugurated the Visiting-Quartet-in-Residence position at the Glenn Gould School of Music. Other recent highlights include performances at San Francisco Performances, the Chautauqua Institution, Indiana University’s Summer Music Festival, Princeton University’s Summer Chamber Music Series, the San Jose Chamber Music Society, and the Calgary ProMusica 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. In July 2010, the Afiara joined singer/songwriter Kyrie Kristmanson and composer Patrick Carrabre for the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival’s Late Night series for a world premiere, subsequently broadcast by CBC Radio. To date, the Afiara has given the world premieres of Brett Abigana’s “Une Grande Messe” and Jason Bush’s “Visions in San Francisco” (the latter of which was written for the Afiara), and the East Coast premiere of Peteris Vasks’ String Quartet in New York. With timpanist Louis Siu, the Afiara commissioned and premiered new chamber music repertoire for string quartet and the tenor timpani. The ensemble also gave the world premiere of Huck Hodge’s String Quartet No. 2 in New York City, with the support of the American Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation.

The Afiara 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.

From 2007-2009 the Afiara was the Morrison Fellowship Quartet-in-Residence at San Francisco State University’s International Center for the Arts (ICA), where the members were teaching assistants to their mentor ensemble, the Alexander String Quartet. Deeply committed to education and connecting with diverse audiences, the Afiara has served as faculty at Chamber Music of the Rockies, Indiana University Summer String Academy, and Canada’s Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute. One of two fellowship quartets at the 2008 Aspen Festival’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, and regular participants at The Banff Centre’s Fall/Winter Residencies, the Afiara players have worked with numerous musicians 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.

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. The Afiara String Quartet is currently the graduate resident string quartet at The Juilliard School in New York, where they serve as teaching assistants to the Juilliard String Quartet.

This biography was most recently edited by...
holdik12 - 26 Feb 2020
DLi - 9 Nov 2010
DLi - 20 Mar 2010
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