2023 ISSI Guest Artists
As a founding member of the Callisto Quartet, Paul Aguilar is currently part of the Fellowship Quartet in Residence at Yale University, where he coaches the undergraduate chamber music ensembles. Formerly he was a member of Rice University’s Graduate String Quartet in Residence and also studied at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia School in Madrid, Spain with Gunter Pichler. He previously earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) where he was a full-scholarship student of Jaime Laredo and Jan Sloman.
Hailing from a Venezuelan-American family in South Carolina, he began studying violin at age five with his older sister as his primary teacher. His first exposure to both orchestral and chamber music was at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC, where he participated enthusiastically for seven years. After moving to Cleveland to study, he won top prizes in numerous solo competitions including the 2016 Milhaud Competition and 2017 CIM Concerto Competition. During his time in Cleveland, he performed regularly with both the Canton and Akron Symphonies. He was a two-time participant in the New York String Orchestra Seminar and was also recently selected as the only Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Performance Fellow for the 2020-2021 season.
As first violinist of the Callisto Quartet, he has won top prizes at the Banff, Bordeaux, Fischoff, Melbourne, Wigmore Hall, and Manhattan International Competitions. Recent quartet performances include appearances on the Schneider Concert Series, the Dame Myra Hess Concerts, the Music Institute of Chicago Artist Series, the Ravinia Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, La Jolla Summerfest, the Heidelberg String Quartet Festival, and the Emilia-Romagna Festival. Paul has attended festivals such as IMS at Prussia Cove, Weikersheim International Chamber Music Campus, Norfolk, Kneisel Hall, JSQ Seminar, Robert Mann Quartet Seminar, MISQA, Meadowmount, and the Music Mountain Chamber Music Festival.
In addition to traveling around the world performing with Callisto Quartet, Paul enjoys sharing music at his church and throughout his community in schools and numerous other community centers. While not practicing, rehearsing, or performing, Paul enjoys hiking, reading, listening to and discussing music, teaching and coaching individuals and chamber groups, and spending time with his wife, Rachel. Paul is a 2019 MPower Grant recipient from the Sphinx Organization and currently plays on a violin made by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in 1835 on generous loan from an anonymous sponsor.
Praised as “passionate and elegant” by The New York Times, cellist Amy Sue Barston has performed as a soloist and chamber musician on stages all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Ravinia, Bargemusic, Caramoor, Haan Hall (Jerusalem), The Banff Centre (Canada), The International Musicians Seminar (England), The Power House (Australia), and Chicago’s Symphony Center.
At age seventeen, she appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on live television, was the Grand Prize winner in the Society of American Musicians’ Competition, and won First Place and the Audience Prize in the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.
Beginning at age three, Amy studied with Nell Novak at the Music Institute of Chicago, Eleonore Schoenfeld at USC, and Joel Krosnick at Juilliard, where she earned her Masters degree. She also worked with Yo Yo Ma, Gary Hoffman, Ralph Kirshbaum, Tim Eddy, David Geringas, and Pinchas Zukerman.
Amy has performed as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra, the Rockford Symphony, the USC Symphony, the Westchester Symphony, and the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, among many others. She made her first solo appearance with orchestra in Guelph, Canada when she was twelve.
Amy is artistic director of the Canandaigua Lake Music Festival in New York, and the cellist of The Corigliano Quartet, which has been hailed by Strad Magazine as having “abundant commitment and mastery,” and whose recent Naxos CD was named one of the top two recordings of the year by both the New Yorker and Gramophone Magazine. Her piano trio, Trio Vela, performs regularly at Bargemusic in New York City. She also performs regularly in duos, trios, and quartets with the world’s most celebrated fiddler, Mark O’Connor. Amy has performed sonatas and chamber music with many of the world’s leading musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Jon Kimura Parker, Arnold Steinhardt, Bernard Greenhouse, and Ani Kavafian.
Amy is also a devoted teacher: in her home, at the Juilliard School Pre-College, and at numerous summer music festivals. Several of her students commute for lessons from hundreds of miles away, some from as far away as Alaska and Japan. Amy’s upcoming schedule includes solo and chamber music performances in England, Sydney, New Zealand, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, Wisconsin, Rochester, Denver, Chicago, and Germany. Amy also has a brand new CD out and available, which she had the honor to record with Grammy Award winning contemporary classical music producer, Judith Sherman.
Fry Street Quartet
Touring music of the masters as well as exciting original works from visionary composers of our time, the Fry Street Quartet has perfected a “blend of technical precision and scorching spontaneity” (The Strad). Since securing the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to London, and Sarajevo to Jerusalem, exploring the medium of the string quartet and its life-affirming potential with “profound understanding…depth of expression, and stunning technical astuteness” (Deseret Morning News).
With a discography that includes a wide range of works from Haydn and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Janacek and Rorem, the quartet is known for being “equally at home in the classic repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven or contemporary music.” (Palm Beach Daily News). Navona records recently released The Crossroads Project, which features commissioned works by Laura Kaminsky and Libby Larsen, and up next is a recording of Kaminsky’s lauded new chamber opera As One, which will be released on Albany Records.
The FSQ’s tour repertoire reaches many corners of the musical spectrum, including works of Britten, Schubert, Beethoven and Bartok, as well as programs of American women composers Laura Kaminsky, Amy Beach, Joan Tower and Libby Larsen. Recently, the Salt Lake City-based NOVA series presented the FSQ’s cycle of the six quartets of Bela Bartok paired with Haydn’s String Quartets Op. 76, highlighting a juxtaposition of masterpieces by two great innovators for the string quartet. In November 2018, the FSQ will proudly present a complete Bartok Cycle in the Russell Wanlass Performance Hall at Utah State University, featuring eminent Bartok scholar Peter Laki.
The FSQ premiered Laura Kaminsky’s chamber opera As One with soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone Kelly Markgraff at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and has gone on to perform the work with Hawaii Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Kansas City, and Chautauqua Opera.
In addition to collaborations with acclaimed instrumentalists (including Joseph Kalichstein, Wu Han, Paul Katz, Donald Weilerstein, Misha Dichter, Andres Cardenes and Roger Tapping, among others), the Fry Street Quartet has commissioned and toured new works by a wide range of composers. Pandemonium by Brazilian composer Clarice Assad received its Fry Street premiere with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra; Michael Ellison’s Fiddlin‘ was co-commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music Series and the Salt Lake City based NOVA series; and both Laura Kaminsky’s Rising Tide and Libby Larsen’s Emergence were commissioned especially for the quartet’s global sustainability initiative, The Crossroads Project.
After more than 30 performances in three different countries, The Crossroads Project: Rising Tide continues to resonate with audiences. This fresh approach to communicating society’s sustainability challenges draws upon all the senses with a unique blend of science and art, and has been featured on NPR’s joe’s big idea (aired during All Things Considered), as well as in publications by Yale Climate Connections, Reuters, and the New York Times.
The quartet’s significant touring history includes performances at major venues, festivals, and for distinguished series such as Carnegie Hall and the Schneider Series at the New School in New York, the Jewel Box series in Chicago, Chamber Music Columbus, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, the DiBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame, the Theosophical Society in London, and the Mozart Gemeinde in Klagenfurt, Austria. The quartet also enjoys a continuing residency with the Salt Lake City-based NOVA series. Projects have included the Schoenberg Chamber Symphony under the direction of Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer, the Utah premieres of string quartets by Michael Ellison and Andrew Norman, and frequent collaborations with members of the Utah Symphony.
The Fry Street Quartet is pleased to hold the Dan C. and Manon Caine Russell Endowed String Quartet Residency at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.