Press Releases

BILLY JOEL GRADUATE STRING QUARTET IN RESIDENCE, THE iO QUARTET, DEBUTS AT PURCHASE COLLEGE DEC. 13

Date Released: 12/4/2006

The iO Quartet performs its debut concert as the Billy Joel Graduate String Quartet in Residence at Purchase College on Wednesday, December 13th at 8 PM in the Recital Hall of the Music Building. Performing works by Haydn, Beethoven and Thomas Adés, the iO Quartet will showcase its new perspectives on familiar works of the past and its interpretations of the new works of today. The concert is free and open to the public.

The residency is made possible by a significant grant from the Billy Joel Endowment Fund.

Purchase College, State University of New York, is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.

The evening’s program includes “the old works,” Haydn’s String Quartet in A Major, Op. 20, No. 6 and Beethoven’s String Quartet in C# minor, Op. 131, plus a “new work,” Arcadiana, by British composer Thomas Adés.

Passionate about the music being written today, the Quartet considers new compositions an integral part of its repertoire and uses new technologies and multi-media to expand an audience’s appreciation of its performance.

Nicholas DiEugenio is first violinist of the iO Quartet. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, he has performed often as a soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. He has also performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Cleveland Philharmonic and the Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He recently completed a year of study at the Yale School of Music under Ani Kavafian.

Violinist Elizabeth Weisser has performed throughout the United States and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory and her master’s degree from the Mannes College of Music. She was a founding member of the Enesco Quartet at Oberlin, and performed extensively with the Contemporary Music Ensemble.

Violist Maiya Papach received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School and her bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory, where she won the concerto competition. She has performed as a chamber musician at Alice Tully Hall and Bargemusic in New York, and also toured Belarus and Russia with the award-winning DaCapo Chamber Players. She is a founding member of ICE, and has played with the Iris Chamber Orchestra.

Cellist Christopher Gross is active as a contemporary music soloist and chamber musician with performances throughout the United States and Europe. He recently premiered Milton Babbitt’s More Melismata for solo cello on the 2006 Focus! Festival. He has played with various new music ensembles, including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Continuum, the Second Instrumental Unit, Ensemble Annura and the Juilliard Electric Ensemble. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory and received his master’s degree from the Juilliard School.

The Billy Joel Graduate String Quartet in Residence was selected by a competitive audition process which included some of the finest young ensembles from across the nation and abroad. The quartet had to embody excellent musicianship, a clearly articulated musical aesthetic, a passion for contemporary music, a commitment to music education, a desire to engage in community outreach activities, and a strong determination to succeed professionally as a committed ensemble.

In addition to their studies and participation in major campus concerts and music productions, the Billy Joel Graduate String Quartet in Residence will serve as ambassadors for the College, performing locally and regionally in schools, community concert series and other venues.

As an advocate for music education, Billy Joel first began holding “master class” sessions on college campuses more than 20 years ago, across the country and around the world. He has expressed concern that young musicians do not receive the kind of sustained support necessary to help launch their careers. Purchase plans to use some of the grant to offer career development support to the Quartet for participation in competitions, regional touring, outreach activities and its eventual New York City debut recital.

Joel has long encouraged collaboration among the performing arts as well as advancement of “crossover” learning and performance among the various genres of music.