Lee News

String Theory at the Hunter to Celebrate Eighth Season


String Theory at the Hunter is proud to announce its eighth season, featuring six world-class concerts, beginning this October.

Founded in 2009 by pianist and Artistic Director Gloria Chien, String Theory brings acclaimed chamber musicians from around the world to perform in the intimate setting of the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga.

“With the largest number of musicians and the biggest production, this is our most ambitious season to date,” said Chien. “I am excited to share it with everyone.”

String Theory will kick the season off on Tuesday, Oct. 4, with clarinetist David Shifrin and Chien on piano.

Shifrin is one of only two wind instrument players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award’s inception in 1974. He is in constant demand as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber music collaborator, and has appeared with multiple symphonies across the United States and internationally.

Chien, who currently serves as an artist-in-residence at Lee University, is a prize winner of the World Piano Competition and the San Antonio International Piano Competition. She has been a member of the Chamber Music Society (CMS) of Lincoln Center since 2012, and frequently plays at Alice Tully Hall in New York, as well as other venues around the country with CMS on Tour.

On Nov. 29, String Theory will host Jason Vieaux, guitar, and Tessa Lark, violin.

Grammy-winner for his most recent album, “Play,” Vieaux is known for his ability to smoothly intertwine soulful and classical genres. He has performed as a soloist with almost 100 orchestras throughout the United States.

Lark, winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Violin Award, is one of the most captivating artistic voices of her time. She has been consistently praised by critics and audiences alike for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, and musical elegance.

In January 2017, the Decoda Cello Quartet will make its Chattanooga debut in the third concert of the season. The group comprises cellists Hamilton Berry, Claire Bryant, Caitlin Sullivan, and Yves Dharamraj.

Along with performing, Berry arranges and composes music, and collaborates with pop artists such as Vampire Weekend, Cults, and FUN. He has performed with the Toomai String Quintet, Founders, A Far Cry, Novus NY, Con Brio Ensemble, and the Gotham Chamber Opera, among others.

Bryant frequently performs with acclaimed chamber ensembles in New York City and is the winner of the Robert Sherman McGraw Hill Companies award for excellence in community outreach and music education.

Sullivan has been recognized as having “the understanding and emotional projection of a true artist” by the New York Concert Review. She is a member of The Knights as well as Decoda, a chamber music collective recently named the first-ever affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall.

As soloist, chamber musician, teaching artist, and composer, Dharamraj enjoys a multifaceted career that takes him to the major stages of the U.S. and worldwide. He co-founded New Docta International Music Festival in 2013 to bring world-class musicians to Argentina to perform, inspire children, and nurture Latin American talent.

Also making their Chattanooga debut will be Avi Avital, mandolin, and the Dover String Quartet in February 2017.

Southern Israel native Avital, the first mandolin player to receive a Grammy nomination, is acknowledged by the New York Times for his “exquisitely sensitive playing” and “stunning agility.” He is internationally regarded for his performances at venues including Carnegie Hall (Weill Hall), Lincoln Center, Berlin Philharmonie, and the Wigmore Hall, among others.

The Dover String Quartet catapulted to international stardom following a stunning sweep of the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, becoming one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world. Violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, along with Milena Pajaro-Van de Stadt, viola, and Camden Shaw, cellist, make up the Quartet.

Link, top prize winner of several competitions in the U.S. and England, is praised by The Atlanta Journal Competition for his ability to “seemingly pull audiences out of their seats” with his music.

Award winner of two international music competitions in 2004 and 2005, Lee has performed under the batons of renowned conductors and continues to perform as a soloist with orchestras around the nation.

Praised by Strad Magazine as having “lyricism that stood out…a silky tone and beautiful, supple lines,” Pajaro-Van de Stadt is the winner of numerous awards in string quartet competitions.

Shaw has captivated audiences across the U.S. and Europe as an artist of unique and sincere vision. He has appeared all over the world to great acclaim, being called a “phenomenal instrumentalist, who [seems] to have no technical difficulties.” (Rheinpfalz Ludwigshafen)

Ricardo Morales, making his Chattanooga debut, will join the Miro String Quartet and Chien as the String Theory season continues in March 2017.

A native of San Juan, Morales began his professional career as principal clarinet of the Florida Symphony at age 18. He has been a featured soloist with many orchestras including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Indianapolis Symphony, among others.

The Emmy-award winning Miró Quartet is one of the world’s most celebrated and dedicated string quartets, having been noted by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer for their “exceptional tonal focus and interpretive intensity.” The Quartet takes pride in finding new ways to communicate with audiences of all backgrounds while honoring the longstanding tradition of chamber music.

In April 2017, String Theory will conclude its season with performances by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on Tour, featuring the talents of debuting performer Gil Kalish, piano, Randall Scarlata, baritone, and percussionists Ian Rosenbaum, Ayano Kataoka, Christopher Froh, and Andy Harnsberger.

Kalish, recipient of the Peabody Medal, has made a profound influence as an educator and pianist in a myriad of performances and recordings which has established him as a major figure in American music-making.

Scarlata has been praised by the New York Times as “an intelligent and communicative singer.” He enjoys a lively career encompassing opera, recital, chamber music and works for voice and orchestra.

Rosenbaum is praised by the New York Times for his “excellent” and “precisely attuned” performances. In 2009, he earned a special prize created for him at the Salzburg International Marimba Competition.

Kataoka is known for her brilliant and dynamic technique, as well as the unique elegance and artistry she brings to her performances. A versatile performer, she regularly presents music of diverse genres and mediums.

Acclaimed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “tremendous,” Froh is committed to both expanding the body of solo percussion and to mentoring young percussionists.

Harnsberger, a music professor at Lee University, has performed in various settings across North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia. He is in demand as a recitalist and clinician across the country and internationally, presenting clinics and masterclasses at as many as 40 universities per year.

In addition to performances, String Theory also offers Art Connections and Musical Dialogues.

Art Connections gives String Theory attendees the opportunity to visit the Hunter Museum galleries at 5:30 p.m. prior to the concerts to hear former Hunter Museum chief curator Ellen Simak and Maestro Robert Bernhardt discussing works from the Hunter collection that relate to the music featured in the evening's concert. Art Connections is scheduled for the January and February concerts.

Musical Dialogues, scheduled for the October, November, March, and April concerts, takes place at 6 p.m. from the concert stage and features in-depth conversations with the artists on their lives, inspirations, and the masterpieces being performed at the concert.

On Jan. 21, 2017 the Hunter Museum will host String Theory Annual Family Concert featuring the Decoda Cello Quartet. Their performance titled Four Crayons will show how four cellos can create a number of vivid musical settings. The show will start at 1 p.m. and will be followed by an instrument petting zoo hosted by the String Theory Youth Initiative.

String Theory is also collaborating with Lee University for a three-night ChamberFest. There will be three separate performances featuring the Miró String Quartet, Ricardo Morales on the clarinet, and Gloria Chien on the piano. The concerts will take place Mar. 13-15, 2017.

Individual concert tickets are $30 for Hunter members, $40 for non-members, $10 for students with a valid student ID, and $25 for groups of 20 or more people. Season subscriptions are available for $160 for Hunter members and $210 for non-members.

For more information on String Theory at the Hunter or to purchase tickets, call (423) 414-2525.
« Previous Story US News Ranks Lee Top School in the South Next Story » Harrell to Perform “A Little Potato and Hard to Peel”