The Carpe Diem String Quartet was founded in 2005 and is a classical string quartet based in Columbus, Ohio, in residence at Ohio Wesleyan University. The quartet's repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary chamber music. They regularly perform the works of contemporaries like Osvaldo Golijov, Gunther Schuller, Bruce Wolosoff, and Korine Fujiwara, as well as the works of classical composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn, Joseph Haydn and countless others. A few of the outstanding artists with whom the quartet has played include Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Soave, and Richard Stoltzman.
Current and Future:
The quartet has worked extensively with esteemed composer Bruce Wolosoff, whose eighteen-movement piece entitled "Songs without Words" has been commissioned by the quartet. In January 2009, the quartet performed in New York City, New York, with the Columbus Dance Theater, followed by a tour in Texas. In early February the quartet toured in Colorado before reuniting with acclaimed accordionist and bandoneonist Peter Soave for a tour in Michigan and Ohio from late February to early March. They concluded their 2008-2009 season with a critically acclaimed concert at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. For several weeks spanning July and August, the quartet performed in Denver, Colorado, and participated in the Snake River Music Festival in Dillon and Keystone.
The quartet opened the 2009-2010 season at their new venue: the Harrison Park clubhouse is situated on the banks of the Olentangy River near the Short North and Victorian Village neighborhoods, all of which are just outside of downtown Columbus.
The quartet traveled to New York City to perform at the trendy club Le Poisson Rouge in January 2010. Also during the trip, they performed at WNYC's Greene Space, the Nabi Gallery, and were featured at APAP and CMA showcases. The quartet closed off the month with concerts in Detroit and at Southern Illinois University. In the Spring, CDSQ returned to the University of Cincinnati for a week-long camp of classes and performances. The quartet once again spent parts of July and August in Colorado as part of the Snake River Music Festival.
The quartet's latest acclaimed work has been pairing with singer-songwriter Willy Porter. Writes one reviewer: "Willy Porter is an "active" guitarist. That is, he boasts some serious chops, his style is percussive and intricate, and he often employs complex, syncopated grooves, a la Leo Kottke." The quartet began working with Porter in early 2010, rearranging some of his most popular songs like "Moonbeam" and "Big Yellow Pine" to include the string quartet. The result was the recording of a live performance in Columbus. Since then, Porter and the quartet have performed together across the Midwest to critical acclaim. Says Porter of the quartet: "I think this quartet represents a new breed of classical musicians in that they're not 'married to the page.'"
Columbus Dance Theater:
CDSQ has formed a strong partnership with the Columbus Dance Theatre (CDT). Together, the two groups have performed concurrently and consistently in Columbus and beyond. In January 2009, the two groups performed in New York City. Per the relationship between CDT and CDSQ, performances used to be hosted by CDT in their Fisher Theatre. Though the quartet's new permanent venue is the Harrison Park clubhouse (as of the beginning of the 2009-2010 season), some performances with CDT will continue to be held in the Fisher Theatre.
Like many musical organizations, the quartet is dedicated to sharing the joy of music - particularly chamber music. During their free time, the quartet continues to work with schools and arts groups to foster kids' love of music. Their concerts are interactive and hands-on for the students and relate to core academic classes. The quartet has launched two new programs: Musicare and Music Goes to School, which enable the quartet to bring music to everyone in the Central Ohio area, regardless of their means or circumstances. Of special note, in the spring of 2008, the quartet performed for the Great Lakes Caravan, which brings professional musicians to low-income communities in the Great Lakes region.
For one week in August 2009, the quartet worked with 16 students during violinist Charles Wetherbee's Scale the Summit music camp. Though in its first year, the camp was hugely successful and very well received. It concluded with performances by both student-only ensembles and also ensembles including members of CDSQ.
In November 2009, the quartet embarked on a two-week trip to Tokyo, Japan, where they worked closely with the music students of Rikkyo University and performed with them in Japan's premier Suntory Hall. The quartet performed to critical acclaim and was eagerly invited back.
The quartet has worked extensively to record works by Russian composer Sergei Taneyev; a CD of Taneyev's String Quartets Numbers 1 and 3 is available under the Naxos label. The second volume of Taneyev, featuring String Quartets Numbers 2 and 4, has most recently been released for digital download on the Naxos website. Physical CDs will be made available in March 2011. In the summer of 2009, CDSQ recorded "Montana" and "Entangled Banks," both composed by violist Korine Fujiwara, for an upcoming CD. "Songs Without Words," composed by Bruce Wolosoff for the quartet, was successfully recorded earlier in 2009 and has been made available for digital download on Naxos's website. Physical CDs of the recording will be released in December 2010.
A huge honor for the Carpe Diem String Quartet: they received nominations for the 2009 Grammy Awards in four categories: Best Classical Album, Best Chamber Music Performance, Best New Artist, and Best Engineered Album- Classical.
Recently, the quartet has released a number of CDs:
Positive Energy, a varied collection of popular pieces classical and otherwise,
Montana by Korine Fujiwara,
Songs without Words by Bruce Wolosoff,
Live at BoMA by Willy Porter and Carpe Diem String Quartet