MacPhail Center for Music is proud to present the Ivalas Quartet in concert as part of a week-long residency made possible by the Madeline Island Chamber Music, a program of MacPhail, Emerging Artists Quartet-in-Residence program.
String Quartet No. 1
String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Hubble Space Telescope released its first image in May of 1990. Dubbed “first light”, the image was a wide field of gray with four white dots that we would come to recognize clearly as stars. This image ushered in a new era in the scientific community, and earlier this year, humanity took another leap forward. On July 11th, the first images sent back from the James Webb Telescope were released to the public, and we are so excited about the new possibilities and knowledge this technological advancement will bring to our civilization.
Whether watching movies like Star Wars, reading books like Dune, stargazing, or visiting the planetarium, our quartet has always felt fascinated by outer space. In fact, a few decades ago, our violist Aimée’s grandmother competed sketches and illustrated materials for the Voyager, and today we are proud to contribute to the conversation with our own craft, aided by the music of three amazing composers.
Space is infinite, and it can be challenging to fathom the concept of foreverness, but the wonderful thing about this is that it makes us reflect upon ourselves and our place in the universe. What does it mean to be on a tiny blue dot in space? This question activated Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov’s imagination and led him to the composition of Tenebrae. How can we represent all the forces that come into play in our existence and in that of the universe? After attending a lecture on physics where she learned about the interaction of molecules in outer space, Jamaican composer Eleanor Alberga came up with a representation of those chemical reactions in her first string quartet. What can we contribute to the eternal universe? In 1977, humanity launched two phonographs aboard the Voyager spacecraft, which included the cavatina movement from Beethoven’s op. 130 string quartet. This recording is now floating somewhere in the Kuiper Belt outside our Solar System.
We’re thrilled for you to join us in this voyage to outer space and help us think about these questions as we perform Tenebrae by Osvaldo Golijov, Eleanor Alberga’s first string quartet, and Beethoven’s op. 130.
About the Ivalas Quartet
The Ivalas Quartet is currently The Juilliard School’s graduate resident string quartet.
Composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Tiani Butts, violist Aimée McAnulty, and cellist Pedro Sánchez, the Ivalas Quartet has been changing the face of classical music since its inception at the University of Michigan in 2017. Dedicated to the celebration of BIPOC voices, Ivalas seeks to disrupt the classical music world by continuously spotlighting BIPOC composers such as Jessie Montgomery, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Eleanor Alberga. The Ivalas Quartet had the pleasure of performing George Walker’s Lyric for Strings at Carnegie Hall in January 2020. Later that year, the quartet worked in collaboration with Walker’s son to program his String Quartet No. 1 with Friends of Chamber Music Denver and the Colorado Music Festival. In 2021, the quartet created the first recording of Carlos Simon’s Warmth From Other Suns for string quartet under Lara Downes’ digital label Rising Sun Music.
The Ivalas Quartet spent 2019 to 2022 in residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder under the mentorship of the Takács Quartet. During the summer seasons, Ivalas worked with the Ying Quartet at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in 2018 and the Pacifica, American, and Escher quartets at the Aspen Music Festival in 2019. Ivalas has also spent the past few summers at the Great Lakes Music Festival working with the Emerson Quartet and had the opportunity to perform Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in concert with Eugene Drucker in 2019. The quartet has additionally been coached by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Calidore String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Peter Oundjian, Paul Katz, Ayano Ninomiya, Masumi Rostad, Kirsten Docter, Jeffrey Zeigler, Danielle Belen, Richard Aaron, Kathryn Votapek, and Mikhail Kopelman, and worked with composers Samuel Adler, Carlos Simon, and Missy Mazzoli.
Ivalas has performed in various concert series including Detroit’s WRCJ Classical Brunch, the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend, the Crested Butte Music Festival, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts, and CU Presents concert series, where the quartet performed alongside the Takács Quartet in 2020. Winners of the 2019 WDAV Young Artist Chamber Music Competition in Davidson, North Carolina, the Ivalas Quartet also performed in the Davidson College concert series and received the grand prize at the 2022 Coltman Music Competition in Austin, Texas. This past spring, Ivalas performed in Community Concerts at Second in Baltimore. The 2022 summer season includede residencies at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Madeline Island Chamber Music, and Music in the Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. The quartet is honored to be the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet in Residence at Caramoor for the 2022-23 season and is looking forward to being presented by Schneider Concerts this fall.
The members of the Ivalas Quartet have a shared dedication to their roles as educators. Through the Sphinx Organization, Ivalas has presented educational programming in the metro Detroit area, with an emphasis on community engagement in schools with Black and Latinx communities. In Colorado, the members have developed a partnership with El Sistema Colorado and have been a part of the Aspen Music Festival Musical Connections program. The quartet has also been in residence at the University of Northern Iowa in early 2020 and at the University of Central Arkansas in fall 2021.
Reuben Kebede, violin
Violinist Reuben Kebede has been heard in recital across the U.S., Europe, and China. He received an Artist Diploma in string quartet performance from CU Boulder under the tutelage of Edward Dusinberre and the members of the Takács Quartet. Previously, he studied with Danielle Belen at the University of Michigan, where he served as concertmaster of both university orchestras, and with Sarah Plum at Drake University.
Tiani Butts, violin
Violinist Tiani Butts is a passionate solo and chamber musician who strives to use the arts to encourage and inspire young students from all backgrounds. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and a dual master’s degree in violin performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan.
Pedro Sánchez, cello
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Pedro Sánchez attended the Emil Friedman Conservatory and School and was trained through El Sistema. In the United States, he studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, and the University of Colorado—Boulder. He has studied with Cesar Noguera, Crispin Campbell, Alan Harris, Richard Aaron, Anthony Elliott, and András Fejér of the Takács Quartet.
Aimée McAnulty, viola
Argentine-American violist Aimée McAnulty was born and raised in Southern California. She joined Ivalas in 2019 after graduating from Yizhak Schotten’s studio at the University of Michigan. She earned her Artist Diploma in String Quartet at the University of Colorado—Boulder, studying with the Takács Quartet and violists Erika Eckert and Richard O’Neill.