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VSO ChamberFest

Shaw Quartets

April 17, 2021 10:00 AM

Cassandra Bequary, violin

Karen Gerbrecht, violins

Emilie Grimes, viola

Olivia Blander, cello

Caroline Shaw Works for String Quartet: Plan and Elevation; Valencia; Entr’acte

Composer, violinist and vocalist Caroline Shaw (b. 1982), the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, creates works filled with joy and emotion. She is particularly known for her inventive use of tone and timbre and shifting rhythms that draw inspiration from earlier musical forms. Recent commissions include creations for Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, LA Phil, Anne Sofie von Otter, and many more.

Cassandra Bequary, violin

Cassandra Bequary, originally from Connecticut, began playing violin at the age of 5. She completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory where she worked primarily with Marilyn McDonald and Gregory Fulkerson. She then earned her masters of music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Ian Swensen, Mark Sokol, and Catherine Van Hoesen. Cassandra’s orchestral and chamber music performances have brought her all over the world, including to festivals such as Thy Chamber Music, Round Top, Galluzzo International Chamber Music Festival, and Mendocino. Cassandra joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s second violin section in 2016.

Karen Gerbrecht, violin

Karen began playing the violin at the age of three, influenced by four generations of musicians in her family. She studied at the Vancouver Academy of Music until leaving BC to pursue a post-secondary education at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Graduating first in her university class, Karen was awarded the single highest scholarship awarded by NCSA; the Sarah Graham Kenan Scholarship. After graduation, while performing as Associate Concertmaster of the Spoleto Festival Opera Orchestra (Spoleto, Italy) Karen was named Director of Chamber Music at Davidson College, (Davidson, NC) and remained in that post for two years until winning a position in the Vancouver Symphony, where she is Associate Principal Second.

After settling in Vancouver, Karen was appointed to the faculty of the Vancouver Academy of Music, and taught there from 1990 – 2002. As both a chamber musician and an orchestral player, Karen has performed throughout Europe, Canada, the US and Asia, and she continues to count traveling as one of her favorite pursuits. Since joining the VSO, Karen has been named a McBride Scholar at Bryn Mawr in Philadelphia and has twice attended the Banff Centre for the Arts as an Artist-in-Residence. In 2012, Karen is delighted to appear as a member of the Nomidi Trio, and is particularly honoured to be working and performing with Nomidi and the iconic Canadian dancer Margie Gillis.

Karen is very good at making her son laugh.

Emilie Grimes, viola

Originally from Ottawa, Emilie Grimes holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Michael Tree and Steven Tenenbom. She completed her Undergraduate degree at the University of Montreal under the tutelage of Neal Gripp.

As an orchestral and chamber musician, Emilie has performed in venues worldwide. She toured with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany, and was heard on Hong Kong’s Radio 4 with the Vancouver based Koerner Quartet. She was heard on WQXR in New York, playing baroque viola with Juilliard’s historical performance ensemble, and was featured in the National Arts Centre’s “My First NAC” showcase concert series. She regularly appears in numerous series around Vancouver, including the VSO Chamber Players, UBC’s Wednesdays at Noon, the Little Chamber Series, Music on Main, the Blueridge Music Festival, the Vancouver Chamber Music Society, and has performed as a guest with the NU:BC new music ensemble. She was appointed Adjunct Professor of Viola at the University of British Columbia from 2017 to 2019.

Emilie joined the viola section of the Vancouver Symphony in 2012, and recently won the position of Assistant Principal Viola. She currently holds the title of Acting Associate Principal Viola.

Olivia Blander, cello

Originally from Ottawa, Olivia Blander completed her Masters of Music degree at Yale University in the studio of professor Aldo Parisot. She received her Bachelors degree from the Harid Conservatory (Boca Raton, Florida) where she studied with Canadian cellist Johanne Perron.

Olivia has appeared frequently as a soloist and chamber musician on CBC radio, including the nationally broadcast \”Debut Series\”. She has been a participant in several major summer festivals including classes at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the fellowship program of the Tanglewood Music Centre.

After returning to Ottawa from the U.S. in 2000, Olivia enjoyed four months working with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, and joined the Vancouver Symphony in September 2001.

Program Notes from the Composer

“I have always loved drawing the architecture around me when traveling, and some of my favorite lessons in musical composition have occurred by chance in my drawing practice over the years. While writing a string quartet to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Dumbarton Oaks, [ a Harvard University research institute, library, museum, and garden located in Washington, DC ]  I returned to these essential ideas of space and proportion — to the challenges of trying to represent them on paper. The title, Plan & Elevation, refers to two standard ways of representing architecture — essentially an orthographic, or “bird’s eye,” perspective (“plan”), and a side view which features more ornamental detail (“elevation”). This binary is also a gentle metaphor for one’s path in any endeavor — often the actual journey and results are quite different (and perhaps more elevated) than the original plan.

“There is something exquisite about the construction of an ordinary orange. (Grocery stores around the country often offer the common "Valencia" as the standard option). Hundreds of brilliantly colored, impossibly delicate vesicles of juice, ready to explode. It is a thing of nature so simple, yet so complex and extraordinary. In 2012, I performed at the MoMA with the musician and performance artist, Glasser — a song which she described as being about the simple beauty of fruit. Later that summer I wrote Valencia, for a concert I was playing with some good friends in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. I decided to channel Glasser's brave and intuitive approach to melody and texture, such that Valencia became an untethered embrace of the architecture of the common Valencia orange, through billowing harmonics and somewhat viscous chords and melodies. It is also a kind of celebration of awareness of the natural, unadorned food that is still available to us.

“Entr’acte was written in 2011 after hearing the Brentano Quartet play Haydn’s Op. 77 No. 2 — with their spare and soulful shift to the D-flat major trio in the minuet. It is structured like a minuet and trio, riffing on that classical form but taking it a little further. I love the way some music (like the minuets of Op. 77) suddenly takes you to the other side of Alice’s looking glass, in a kind of absurd, subtle, technicolor transition.”

Series Performances

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Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet
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Böhme Brass Sextet
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Purcell Suites
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Nielsen Quintet
This is some text inside of a div block.
Mendelssohn Octet
This is some text inside of a div block.
George Crumb: An Idyll for the Misbegotten
This is some text inside of a div block.
Shaw Quartets
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Takemitsu: Rain Tree
This is some text inside of a div block.
ChamberFest Panel Discussion
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István Várdai Chamber Masterclass
More series performances to be announced.
Donate

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STREAMING IN:

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DAYS
00
HOURS
00
MIN
00
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Some web browsers automatically mute video players. If you do not hear audio during the performance try adjusting the volume in the video player.
Subscribe Now
Subscribe now to make sure you have access to complete performances as they are released
Subscribe Now
Subscribe now to make sure you have access to complete performances as they are released

VSO ChamberFest

Shaw Quartets

April 17, 2021 10:00 AM

Cassandra Bequary, violin

Karen Gerbrecht, violins

Emilie Grimes, viola

Olivia Blander, cello

Caroline Shaw Works for String Quartet: Plan and Elevation; Valencia; Entr’acte

Composer, violinist and vocalist Caroline Shaw (b. 1982), the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, creates works filled with joy and emotion. She is particularly known for her inventive use of tone and timbre and shifting rhythms that draw inspiration from earlier musical forms. Recent commissions include creations for Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, LA Phil, Anne Sofie von Otter, and many more.

Cassandra Bequary, violin

Cassandra Bequary, originally from Connecticut, began playing violin at the age of 5. She completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory where she worked primarily with Marilyn McDonald and Gregory Fulkerson. She then earned her masters of music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Ian Swensen, Mark Sokol, and Catherine Van Hoesen. Cassandra’s orchestral and chamber music performances have brought her all over the world, including to festivals such as Thy Chamber Music, Round Top, Galluzzo International Chamber Music Festival, and Mendocino. Cassandra joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s second violin section in 2016.

Karen Gerbrecht, violin

Karen began playing the violin at the age of three, influenced by four generations of musicians in her family. She studied at the Vancouver Academy of Music until leaving BC to pursue a post-secondary education at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Graduating first in her university class, Karen was awarded the single highest scholarship awarded by NCSA; the Sarah Graham Kenan Scholarship. After graduation, while performing as Associate Concertmaster of the Spoleto Festival Opera Orchestra (Spoleto, Italy) Karen was named Director of Chamber Music at Davidson College, (Davidson, NC) and remained in that post for two years until winning a position in the Vancouver Symphony, where she is Associate Principal Second.

After settling in Vancouver, Karen was appointed to the faculty of the Vancouver Academy of Music, and taught there from 1990 – 2002. As both a chamber musician and an orchestral player, Karen has performed throughout Europe, Canada, the US and Asia, and she continues to count traveling as one of her favorite pursuits. Since joining the VSO, Karen has been named a McBride Scholar at Bryn Mawr in Philadelphia and has twice attended the Banff Centre for the Arts as an Artist-in-Residence. In 2012, Karen is delighted to appear as a member of the Nomidi Trio, and is particularly honoured to be working and performing with Nomidi and the iconic Canadian dancer Margie Gillis.

Karen is very good at making her son laugh.

Emilie Grimes, viola

Originally from Ottawa, Emilie Grimes holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Michael Tree and Steven Tenenbom. She completed her Undergraduate degree at the University of Montreal under the tutelage of Neal Gripp.

As an orchestral and chamber musician, Emilie has performed in venues worldwide. She toured with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany, and was heard on Hong Kong’s Radio 4 with the Vancouver based Koerner Quartet. She was heard on WQXR in New York, playing baroque viola with Juilliard’s historical performance ensemble, and was featured in the National Arts Centre’s “My First NAC” showcase concert series. She regularly appears in numerous series around Vancouver, including the VSO Chamber Players, UBC’s Wednesdays at Noon, the Little Chamber Series, Music on Main, the Blueridge Music Festival, the Vancouver Chamber Music Society, and has performed as a guest with the NU:BC new music ensemble. She was appointed Adjunct Professor of Viola at the University of British Columbia from 2017 to 2019.

Emilie joined the viola section of the Vancouver Symphony in 2012, and recently won the position of Assistant Principal Viola. She currently holds the title of Acting Associate Principal Viola.

Olivia Blander, cello

Originally from Ottawa, Olivia Blander completed her Masters of Music degree at Yale University in the studio of professor Aldo Parisot. She received her Bachelors degree from the Harid Conservatory (Boca Raton, Florida) where she studied with Canadian cellist Johanne Perron.

Olivia has appeared frequently as a soloist and chamber musician on CBC radio, including the nationally broadcast \”Debut Series\”. She has been a participant in several major summer festivals including classes at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the fellowship program of the Tanglewood Music Centre.

After returning to Ottawa from the U.S. in 2000, Olivia enjoyed four months working with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, and joined the Vancouver Symphony in September 2001.

Program Notes from the Composer

“I have always loved drawing the architecture around me when traveling, and some of my favorite lessons in musical composition have occurred by chance in my drawing practice over the years. While writing a string quartet to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Dumbarton Oaks, [ a Harvard University research institute, library, museum, and garden located in Washington, DC ]  I returned to these essential ideas of space and proportion — to the challenges of trying to represent them on paper. The title, Plan & Elevation, refers to two standard ways of representing architecture — essentially an orthographic, or “bird’s eye,” perspective (“plan”), and a side view which features more ornamental detail (“elevation”). This binary is also a gentle metaphor for one’s path in any endeavor — often the actual journey and results are quite different (and perhaps more elevated) than the original plan.

“There is something exquisite about the construction of an ordinary orange. (Grocery stores around the country often offer the common "Valencia" as the standard option). Hundreds of brilliantly colored, impossibly delicate vesicles of juice, ready to explode. It is a thing of nature so simple, yet so complex and extraordinary. In 2012, I performed at the MoMA with the musician and performance artist, Glasser — a song which she described as being about the simple beauty of fruit. Later that summer I wrote Valencia, for a concert I was playing with some good friends in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. I decided to channel Glasser's brave and intuitive approach to melody and texture, such that Valencia became an untethered embrace of the architecture of the common Valencia orange, through billowing harmonics and somewhat viscous chords and melodies. It is also a kind of celebration of awareness of the natural, unadorned food that is still available to us.

“Entr’acte was written in 2011 after hearing the Brentano Quartet play Haydn’s Op. 77 No. 2 — with their spare and soulful shift to the D-flat major trio in the minuet. It is structured like a minuet and trio, riffing on that classical form but taking it a little further. I love the way some music (like the minuets of Op. 77) suddenly takes you to the other side of Alice’s looking glass, in a kind of absurd, subtle, technicolor transition.”

Series Performances

This is some text inside of a div block.
Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet
This is some text inside of a div block.
Böhme Brass Sextet
This is some text inside of a div block.
Purcell Suites
This is some text inside of a div block.
Nielsen Quintet
This is some text inside of a div block.
Mendelssohn Octet
This is some text inside of a div block.
George Crumb: An Idyll for the Misbegotten
This is some text inside of a div block.
Shaw Quartets
This is some text inside of a div block.
Takemitsu: Rain Tree
This is some text inside of a div block.
ChamberFest Panel Discussion
This is some text inside of a div block.
István Várdai Chamber Masterclass
More series performances to be announced.
Donate