Saturday, February 11, 2017

Astera String Quartet | 1st Prize | ENKOR Int'l Chamber Music Competition 2016/17


Astera String Quartet
Hannah White, violin
Ria Honda, violin
Kayla Cabrera, viola
Annamarie Wellems, cello
Score: 93.51

The Astera String Quartet is comprised of Hannah White and Ria Honda, violins; Kayla Cabrera, viola; and Annamarie Wellems, cello. All four are merit scholarship recipients and Fellows at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, a pre-college training program for highly gifted musicians. The quartet is coached by Roland Vamos and Sang Mee Lee.

The quartet members individually have earned top prizes at local, regional, national and international competitions and have been participants at numerous college residencies, music events and national and international festivals, and appeared in Strings Magazine, Strad Magazine, and the Violin Channel.

Hannah White, violinist, has earned scores of raving reviews for her solo performances including from New York Times for sold out performances at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium. She has soloed with many symphony orchestras including Cleveland, New World, South Bend, Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Madison and has soloed extensively throughout the United States on three consecutive yearly National Tours with the Internationally acclaimed Sphinx Virtuosi. Hannah has won numerous competitions as Walgreens National Competition, Music Teachers National Association, Sphinx Competition, St. Paul Chamber Competition, Jules M. Laser Chamber Competition, and has earned top prizes at Fischoff National Chamber Competition, Discover National Chamber Competition, American String Teachers Association Solo Competition, and M-Prize International Chamber Competition.

Violinist Ria Honda studies with Almita Vamos. Ria has won first prize in numerous local and national competitions including DePaul Concerto Festival, Cascade Symphony Concerto Competition, and the Seattle Symphony Young Artists Competition and was recently selected as one of the 20 candidates for the International Yehudi Menuhin Competition. As a chamber musician, she has been Grand Prize Winner at the 2015 Naperville Women's Club Young Adult Music Competition, Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition, and finalist at the St. Paul String Quartet Competition, and Semi Finalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She has played for various musicians including Ray Chen, Ani Kavafian, David Nadien, Joseph Silverstein, and Yo-Yo Ma.

Violist Kayla Cabrera is a student of Roland and Almita Vamos. She is principal violist of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as with 2016 National Youth Orchestra of the USA. Recent recognitions include being named 2016 Junior Division Semi Finalist in the nationwide Sphinx Competition, winner of the Burton Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, Joliet Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and recipient of the First Annual Robin Lipman Award.

Annamarie Wellems, cellist, is a student of Tanya Carey and has won awards in numerous competitions such as the Society of American Musicians, Chinese Music Competition in Honor of Confucious, and was a Semi Finalist in the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Annamarie was a performer in the Young Steinway and Stars of Tomorrow Concert Series and has performed for renown artists such as Richard Aaron, Menahem Pressler, Julio Elizade, Desmond Hoebig, and Laurence Lesser.

The Astera String Quartet unites these talented young musicians from varied cultures. Hannah, 16 years, lives in Germantown, WI and is African American and Vietnamese; Ria, 16 years, from Japan and currently living in Wilmette, IL is Japanese; Kayla, 18 years, lives in Crete, IL and is of Cuban and German descent; Annamarie, 17 years, lives in LIncolnshire, IL, and has a complex German/Polish heritage. Their varied cultures embody the essence of the United States of American. Astera is Latin for ""like a Star"".

Edward Grieg String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, op. 27 mov. 1 Andante - molto ed agitato