Thalea string quartet
The Thalea String Quartet is dedicated to bringing timeless music to audiences from all walks of life. From living rooms to concert stages around the world, the Thalea String Quartet aims to connect with audiences on a musical, emotional and personal level, from first time listeners to string quartet aficionados. They are devoted to building a new and diverse audience for chamber music through innovative programming and community engagement.
Formed in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, the Thalea String Quartet has been praised for their “vibrant performance” and “sincere expressivity” (SF Classical Voice). The quartet has performed recitals in Italy, France, the United States and Canada and was appointed as the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2015-17. They were named one of the “Top 10 Bay Area Quartets You Should Know” by CultureTrip.com and were the recipients of the 2016 Barbara Fritz Chamber Music Award from the Berkeley Piano Club. They made their debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in early 2016.
The Thalea String Quartet prides itself on the diversity of its collaborations. They have performed Mendelssohn’s Octet in its original manuscript form with the award-winning Borromeo Quartet and shared the stage with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw in performances of works for voice and string quartet. They have performed alongside Geoff Nuttall of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, violist Jodi Levitz and composer Mason Bates. They were invited to participate in the 2017 KRONOS Festival, where they performed works from the Kronos Quartet’s “50 for the Future” Project. Committed to collaborating with artists of all backgrounds, the Thalea String Quartet recently collaborated with San Francisco-based dance theatre company the Joe Goode Performance Group at the Yerba Buena Center and appeared with acclaimed Canadian band BADBADNOTGOOD at the iconic Massey Hall.
The Thalea Quartet has been fortunate to have been mentored by members of the Juilliard, Kronos, Takács, Pacifica and Danish String Quartets. During their multiple residencies at the Banff Centre they worked with Gilbert Kalish, Mark Steinberg, Alasdair Tait and the JACK and Miró Quartets.
The members of the Thalea String Quartet are dedicated educators and bring their commitment to teaching and outreach to their frequent educational and community performances. They have performed educational concerts to students of all ages and regularly perform at care facilities across San Francisco.
Bruce Williams began his professional career as a violist at the age of fifteen and four years later won a position with the Fort Worth Symphony. In 1983, he won the principal violist position with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Israel and was also a member of the Haifa Clarinet Trio; they performed throughout Israel and Europe. In 1985, upon his return to the U.S., he accepted the assistant principal violist position with the The Orchestra of Santa Fe. He also was invited to concertize throughout the U.S. as a member of the Allegro Chamber Trio (ACT) with flutist Megan Meisenbach and harpist Mary Golden. This trio performed together for many years and was featured on National Public Radio's Performance Today. ACT recorded on Centaur records as The Meisenbach/Golden Duo. In 2003, he won the Austin Critics Table award for Outstanding Instrumentalist for his performance of Hector Berlioz' Harold in Italy with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Williams is the manager, as well as a founding member, of the Artisan Quartet (AQ). The AQ began their Artisan Quartet Series in 2012 in Austin, Texas. This popular string quartet performed at Carnegie Hall in 2012; they were presented by MidAmerica Productions. The AQ was recently named Quartet in Residence both with Mozart Festival Texas in San Antonio and the newly-formed Mason County Chamber Music Festival (MCCMF) in Mason, Texas. Mr. Williams is the Artistic Director of the MCCMF. Mr. Williams is a guest artist with the Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio and the Fayetteville Chamber Music Festival in Fayetteville, Texas and has been invited to perform in chamber music festivals in California and Colorado. He is the principal violist with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Victoria Bach Festival (VBF). He often appears with chamber ensembles and as a soloist during the VBF. Mr. Williams has recorded on Harmonia Mundi recordings with the Grammy Award winning choral group Conspirare under the artistic direction of Craig Hella Johnson.
Douglas Harvey joined the cello section of the Austin Symphony at age 17, and in 2002 became the youngest principal cellist in the history of the Orchestra. In 2005, he became the principal cellist of the Austin Opera Orchestra. Douglas performed his first concerto as solo cellist with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio at the age of 13, and made his debut as soloist with the San Antonio Symphony at the age of 15. At age 16 he was the youngest cellist in history to be invited by the University of Texas at Austin to perform a full recital on its campus. He won first place awards in the 2000 William C. Byrd International Competition, the Idyllwild International Young Artists Competition, and the Corpus Christi International Competition, as well as two first place solo Bach prizes awarded at the Corpus Christi and Kingsville International Competitions. Since then, Mr. Harvey has performed almost 20 different works for cello and orchestra. Douglas plays on the Grand Prize winning “Emperor” cello made c. 1860 in Paris by Gand Freres, commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon III.