The Okemo String Quartet is named after an idyllic Vermont mountain where the group found its collective voice, practicing and rehearsing tirelessly at the rigorous Okemo Young Artists Festival in the summer of 2010. Violinists Adé Williams (homeschooled) and Hansuh Rhee (Springman Middle School), violist Mira Williams (Kenwood Academy), and cellist Josiah Yoo (Northbrook Junior High) are a passionate bunch of 13-year-olds with an impressive list of accomplishments. Hansuh and Adé share first and second violin positions for the quartet.
Individually, all of the members have won numerous awards, scholarships, top competition prizes, and prestigious solo opportunities. As an ensemble, they have now won their first competition: the 2011 Jules M. Laser Chamber Music Competition, presented by the Society of American Musicians and Music in the Loft. Because of this win, they have played two concerts at Music in the Loft and look forward to their radio debut on WFMT 98.7. Okemo was named semi-finalist in the 2011 St. Paul String Quartet Competition and in the 2011 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. They were Fischoff’s youngest ever semi-finalists (2011) and quarter-finalists (2010).
The Okemo String Quartet has played together since late 2009. Their high honors to date include being selected to play at MIC’s 80th and 81st Galas honoring Yo-Yo Ma (2010) and Maestro Riccardo Muti (2011), WFMT’s annual fundraiser (2011), the Fortnightly of Chicago (2010), the annual birthday memorial/Fourth of July celebration at President Calvin Coolidge’s homestead (2010).
As scholarship recipients, Okemo was assembled within the Music Institute of Chicago (MIC) Academy, a program for gifted pre-college musicians, by their coach, artist faculty member Marko Dreher. Quartet members study privately with artist faculty Almita Vamos (Adé), Almita and Roland Vamos (Hansuh), Marko Dreher (Mira), Gilda Barston (Josiah), and Hans Jørgen Jensen (Josiah). Adé performs on a violin by Jan van Rooyen, 2008, after the “Comte de Villares” Stradivarius, 1720, on generous loan from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation. Hansuh performs with a sponsored Prfetzschner bow. Mira performs on a Bronek Cison violin, 2006, on generous loan from William Harris Lee.
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Opus 18
Haydn: String Quartet No. 3 in G Minor, Opus 74
Finale: Allegro Con Brio
Dvorak: “American” String Quartet No. 12 in F, Opus 96
Debussy: Quartet in G Minor, Opus 10
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Opus 110