Thalea String Quartet

Saturday
February 12, 2022
7:30 p.m.

Orlin Trapp Auditorium

Vibrant Classical Music

The Thalea String Quartet brings together artists of Nigerian, Japanese and North American heritage. With repertoire as diverse as its members, and every bit as exuberant, Thalea connects with audiences on a musical, emotional and personal level, from first-time listeners to chamber music aficionados. 

Top prize-winners at both the 2018 Fischoff and Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competitions, Thalea was founded in 2014 and made its U.S. début at the Kennedy Center in 2016. They have since performed across North America and in Italy, France, Belgium and China, and were chosen by Canada's Début Atlantic to give a two-week tour of eastern Canada.

Thalea was honored to be the Quartet-in-Residence at Caramoor in 2019-20, joining an elite roster of quartets, including the Calidore and the Dover, who have held this esteemed position. Caramoor commissioned a work by Paola Prestini ("one of the top female composers in classical music" —Washington Post), that Thalea premiered in 2021. 

 

 

Thalea co-commissioned a chamber version of the Piano Concerto by Florence Price, contributing to the resurgence of interest in this neglected African-American composer. They performed the work with great success at Caramoor and on a tour of the West Coast.


Since August 2020 Thalea has been in residence at University of Maryland as the Graduate Fellowship Quartet. For the previous two years, they were the Young Professional Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Texas-Austin's Butler School of Music, and prior to that they were the inaugural Quartet-in-Residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. 

Fresh, passionate, liberated

-–-San Francisco Classical Voice

Thalea has shared the stage with the Borromeo Quartet in the Mendelssohn Octet, with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer/vocalist Caroline Shaw, with Geoff Nuttall of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and with pianist Tao Lin.

Thalea participated in the 2017 Kronos Festival and have been Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel Associated Artists under the mentorship of the Artemis Quartet. Other mentors include the Miró Quartet and members of the Juilliard, Kronos, Takács, Pacifica and Danish String Quartets. During multiple residencies at the Banff Centre they worked with Gilbert Kalish, Mark Steinberg, Alasdair Tait and the JACK and Miró Quartets. 

Individual members also perform jazz, compose for interactive visual art, sing in choirs, dance ballet, and occasionally act on a hit TV show. 


Christopher Whitley

Canadian violinist Christopher Whitley is an engaging and versatile performer. From Baroque to electronic music, Christopher is committed to exploring and performing music of all styles.

Christopher has performed on period instruments at the Boston Early Music Festival and the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. An avid proponent of contemporary music, Christopher has performed as a member of NOVUS NY and as both concertmaster and soloist of the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. He is a regular guest of San Francisco jazz group Le Jazz Hot, performing music inspired by Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. As a composer, Christopher’s primary focus is on expanding the potential of the solo violin, incorporating technology, electronic music and interactive visual art. Blending classical music, popular music and a variety of improvised styles, he has performed across the United States and Canada, including at the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon in New York. He has been invited to create new works at residencies at the Banff Centre and at the Britten Pears Young Artist Program in Aldeburgh, UK.

Christopher received his Bachelors of Music at McGill University studying with Mark Fewer and continued his studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Ian Swensen. 

Christopher performs on the 1700 “Taft” Stradivari, generously on loan by the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. In his spare time, he can be found at record stores, libraries and coffee shops and does whatever he can to get into a canoe.

Lauren Spaulding

Lauren Spaulding, a Texas native, is a member of Meredith Monk’s performance ensemble, a regular with the Colorado Symphony, and a recording artist with award winning studios such as "Found Objects Music" in NYC. Lauren’s playing can be heard on “Social Dilemma” & “Modern Love” Season 2. Lauren performs with Pro Musica Colorado, Boulder Bach, So & So New York, and the Playground String Quartet. She is principal viola for Colorado MahlerFest.

First-place winner in the Reno Pop’s Concerto Competition, Lauren was invited, for summer 2021, to be a featured artist at Yellow Barn, Virtuoso Bel Canto, and the Menuhin Academy. In 2012, Lauren’s quartet was invited to perform at the White House for President Obama to commemorate American composers as a “Champion of Change.” She uses her love for chamber music to advocate for under-represented composers and young neuro-atypical musicians, and works with Kim Kashkashian in the "Music for Food" initiative, fighting food insecurity. 

Lauren received her BM and MM in viola performance under the tutelage of Professor Peter Slowik at the Oberlin Conservatory and Geraldine Walther of the Takács Quartet. She studied chamber music under the guidance of the Takács, Cavani, Ying and Pro Arte Quartets, the Orpheus Ensemble, and with Darrett Adkins at the Juilliard School of Music and Roger Tapping of the Juilliard String Quartet.

Titilayo Ayangade

Cellist Titilayo Ayangade, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a dedicated chamber musician, multifaceted artist and purveyor of music. Titilayo holds a Bachelors of Music from CCM where she studied with Ilya Finkelshteyn, and continued her studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts as Resident String Quartet with the Yas Quartet. While living in Chicago she maintained an active orchestral and chamber music performance schedule as a member of The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Yas Quartet. Titilayo played at the Classical Music day at the White House in 2009 and appeared as a guest artist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as a member of the Nouveau Chamber Players.

An avid chamber musician, Titilayo has worked with the Ying, Tokyo, Harlem, Takács, Vogler and Catalyst Quartets, as well as members of the Juilliard Quartet. As a member of the Yas Quartet, Titilayo was a semi-finalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 2016 and a prize winner at the Schoenfeld International String Competition also in 2016. Titilayo has attended Bowdoin International Music Festival, Sphinx Performance Academy at the Walnut Hill School, Meadowmount Summer Music Festival, International Festival de Inverno Campos do Jordão (Brazil), Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and Colorado College Summer Music Festival. Beyond the concert stage, Titilayo has made several appearances on the hit TV show Empire and also enjoys her work as a professional photographer.

 

Christopher Whitley

Canadian violinist Christopher Whitley is an engaging and versatile performer. From Baroque to electronic music, Christopher is committed to exploring and performing music of all styles.

Christopher has performed on period instruments at the Boston Early Music Festival and the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. An avid proponent of contemporary music, Christopher has performed as a member of NOVUS NY and as both concertmaster and soloist of the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. He is a regular guest of San Francisco jazz group Le Jazz Hot, performing music inspired by Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. As a composer, Christopher’s primary focus is on expanding the potential of the solo violin, incorporating technology,

 

 

 

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