This Saturday on Introductions, a trio of quartets. The Gemini String Quartet from the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, the Precipice Saxophone Quartet from Merit School of Music, and the Infini Quartet from the MIC Academy. We also interview one member from each group: Isabel Chen (violin/viola), Cole Moorhead (soprano saxophone), and Kelly Kim (violin/viola).
Gemini String Quartet
The Gemini String Quartet is comprised of Noelle Naito, Jonah Kartman, and Isabel Chen on violins/violas, and Cameron Chiu on cello. All four students are Fellows at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, a pre-college training program for advanced students, and the quartet is coached by Jasmine Lin. Instrumentally, Noelle and Isabel currently study with Almita Vamos, while Jonah studies with I-Hao Lee. Cameron studies with Horatio Contreras. The quartet members have individually won local, regional, and national competitions and have been participants at numerous music events and festivals. The Gemini String Quartet was recognized as a semi-finalist of the 2020 Pasadena Chamber Music Competition and recently advanced to the Quartet-Finals of the 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Noelle Naito, 17, and Isabel Chen, 16, both study with Almita Vamos. Noelle was a winner of the MTNA Maryland State Competition, American Protégé, and Columbia Orchestra Young Artist competitions, and was a semi-finalist of the Cooper International Violin Competition. She gave a live solo recital on Introductions in December 2019. Isabel has won prizes in the Sejong, Society of American Musicians, and DePaul Concerto Festival competitions. She has performed in the Young Steinway Concert Series as well as the Young Artist Series at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Both Noelle and Isabel previously appeared on Introductions in the Xena Quartet in June 2019.
Jonah Kartman, 18, was the winner and scholarship recipient of the Civic Music Milwaukee competition, finalist in the Audrey G. Baird competition, and prize winner in the Menomonee Falls concerto competition. Cameron Chiu, 18, won the first place prize at the 2018 Society of American Musicians Competition and the 2019 Fox Valley Concerto Competition. Cameron is a prize winner at the Chinese Fine Arts Society Music Competition, the DuPage Symphony Young Artists Competition, and the DePaul Concerto Competition. He previously appeared on Introductions leading the Swan Project in May 2020, and with the Nova String Quartet in August 2019.
Precipice Saxophone Quartet
The Precipice Saxophone Quartet is an exciting group of young musicians, based in Chicago, that is committed to injecting youthful energy and exuberance into the saxophone quartet repertoire. Precipice is comprised of 16-year-old Cole Moorhead on soprano, 16-year-old Emmett Connolly on alto, 17-year-old Navdeep Natt on tenor, and 18-year-old Christopher Li on baritone. The group is the senior saxophone quartet at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. The quartet members participate in weekly lessons, saxophone techniques classes, theory classes, and ensemble rehearsals as a part of Merit’s highly‐selective Tuition‐Free Conservatory program. The group is coached by Thomas Snydacker.
The quartet reached the semi-finals of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in both 2019 and 2020, and most recently appeared on Introductions around the Merit School of Music Performathon in March 2019.
The Infini Quartet is comprised of violinists/violists Sameer Agrawal, Kelly Kim, and Linda Wang; and cellist Mia Wimbiscus. They are Merit Scholarship Fellows at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, and are coached by Rodolfo Vieira. Their name comes from the French word for “infinity”, and they won an honorable mention at the 2020 Midwest National Chamber Music Competition.
Sameer Agrawal, 15, is a student of Sang Mee Lee. He has played as a soloist with the NEIU Symphony, the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, and the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. He has won top awards at the DePaul Competition, Walgreens Competition, and more; and this summer attended Center Stage Strings’ Virtual program. Sameer appeared live on Introductions as a Chicago Musical Pathways Initative fellow in December 2019.
Kelly Kim and Linda Wang, both 16, are both students of Almita Vamos. Kelly has won awards at the Concerto Competition of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, and the Concerto Competition of the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra, playing as a soloist with both groups. She founded Classical Connection, an organization to popularize classical music in the community. Linda has soloed with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago and in Vienna. She was a featured violin soloist on the Young Steinway Concert Series and has won top honors in many music competitions.
Mia Wimbiscus, 16, a student of Hans Jensen, was a finalist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Auditions 2020, performing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Mia has won first prizes in the Enkor International Music Competition, Walgreens Competition, Society of American Musicians Competition, and the Festival in Honor of Confucius. She gave a live solo recital on Introductions in September 2019.