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.
Violinist Sean Riley maintains a career throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a performer, entrepreneur and educator. As a solo artist he was given the honor to perform for Charles, the Prince of Wales at his 65th birthday celebration and the Sultan of Oman in a special evening performance in London. Sean’s interest in innovative methods of communication and entrepreneurialism has led him to create performance training programs at the Royal College of Music, utilize Critical Response Process to teach communication and leadership as a professor at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, and an award winning project where he 3D printed a 6 string electric violin to play John Adams concerto The Dharma at Big Sur. He has degrees from the Juilliard School of Music and the Royal College of Music.
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.
Kathryn Mishell was born in Los Angeles, where she received her early musical training. Her college and graduate work were done at Pomona College, The University of Kansas, and the University of Southern California. During these years she was a piano student of John Perry and a composition student of John Pozdro and then Ingolf Dahl.
Ms. Mishell’s works include over a hundred piano pieces, ensemble and orchestral works, and music for chorus, dance and theatre. Her published collections of pieces for piano students have sold thousands of copies nationwide. She is the recipient of the 2011 Sylvia Glickman Prize from the International Alliance of Women in Music for her Piano Quartet. She is one of two women composers honored by the National League of American Pen Women in 1996. She was the 1997 commissioned composer of the Texas Music Teachers Association, and has received ASCAP awards for the past several years. Her commissions include chamber works for Trio Contraste, Chamber Soloists of Austin, the Arundel Trio, Pacific Serenades of Los Angeles, Musiques en Euroreígion, and Austin Lyric Opera’s Armstrong Community Music School, for which she is composer-in-residence. Mishell has participated in the Women’s Philharmonic New Music Reading Sessions, the Society of Composers National Conference, and has been guest composer at the UT at Austin.
Ms. Mishell produced and hosted Into the Light, a weekly radio program devoted to the music of women composers, for ten and a half years. Produced at KMFA, the fine arts station in Austin, it won three Gracie awards for outstanding work in biography for public radio, as well as two international Communicator Awards of Distinction for excellence in broadcasting. This project extended into the concert world as Ms. Mishell produced, lectured, and performed Into the Light, live for audiences. The hundreds of hours of broadcasts of the work of women composers with Ms. Mishell’s commentary are available for broadcast throughout the world.
As pianist, Ms. Mishell has performed extensively in the U.S. and Mexico as a soloist and in chamber music. She has been touring pianist for the Sharir Dance Company, and for the music dramas Paganini! and Heroes and Lovers, for which she wrote the incidental music.
A teacher of many award-winning young pianists, Ms. Mishell has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has acted as clinician, adjudicator, and as consultant in the use of computers in music instruction. She maintains a class of private piano students in Austin, where she has twice been awarded the Outstanding Pre-collegiate Teaching Award.