One of the most unique and sought-after chamber ensembles on the concert stage today, the Carpe Diem String Quartet performed over 90 concerts in 33 states across the USA in the 2011-12 season, most recently playing for an audience of over 4000 at the Redlands Bowl in southern California. Carpe Diem is a boundary-breaking ensemble that has earned widespread critical and audience acclaim for its innovative programming and electrifying performances. With programming that reflects its passions for Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music alongside the traditional string quartet repertoire, Carpe Diem has defied easy classification while quickly becoming one of America’s premier “indie” string quartets.
The quartet continues to rack up accolades and awards. For three consecutive years, Carpe Diem was the only quartet in America chosen to receive the prestigious PNC Foundation’s ArtsAlive Awards, and they have received rave reviews such as:
“Extraordinary…” “The Carpe Diem’s performance of Beethoven’s Op. 59 No. 1 quartet (one of the hardest in the repertoire) had everything: care with dynamics and accents, timing of nuances, clarity of voice-leading and the widest ranges of character in each movement. This was one of the finest performances of a quartet standard I’ve heard in years.” “…Fun and sexy…” “Among these contemporary quartets who speak in different tongues, the Carpe Diem is the best one out there.”
“This is an accomplished ensemble with a distinctive sound and personality”
—San Diego Union Tribune
“One would have to search long and hard to find a more charming and enjoyable chamber music concert... A number of elements contributed to this end result, not the least of which the superb musicianship of the four musicians—Carpe Diem is a seriously talented quartet in the most traditional definition.”
—Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, FL
Carpe Diem’s CD “Montana”, by composer (and quartet member) Korine Fujiwara, received this rave review in Strings Magazine:
“[Carpe Diem] must be one of the most adventurous groups of its kind. Evidently feeling that attention to living composers begins at home, the players have devoted this entire record to works of its own violist, and with performances of idiomatic empathy and infectious enthusiasm prove that she fully deserves their championship.”
Carpe Diem seeks out, and is sought after by, artists from many different genres for collaborations. Carpe Diem’s diverse musical partnerships include American singer/ songwriter/guitarist Willy Porter—the CD of their live concert debut continues to receive accolades—as well as Latin Grammy winner/bandoneón player Raul Juarena, klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer, cellist Yo Yo Ma, banjo virtuoso and Canadian Folk Music “Artist of the Year” Jayme Stone, Dixieland trumpeter Tom Battenberg, Chinese pipa player Yihan Chen, and world master of the Persian santoor Dariush Saghafi.
The quartet is the resident ensemble for Columbus Dance Theatre, and their joint project The String Machine was aired by WOSU-PBS television through 2007- 2008, and nominated for an Emmy award. The quartet has a busy recording schedule, and continues its project of recording the nine string quartets of Sergey Taneyev for the Naxos label.
The quartet, violinists Charles Wetherbee and Amy Galluzzo, violist Korine Fujiwara and cellist Carol Ou, is dedicated to community engagement, and regularly performs programs specifically designed to relate to audiences of all ages and establish chamber music’s relevance to their lives. Carpe Diem has developed several engagement programs by which they accomplish this:
Carpe Diem eStage is a series of free, educational 30 minute programs specially-designed for all ages, performed for a live audience and live-streamed with two-way interactive chat to unlimited audiences. Requiring only an Internet connection, even rural and economically disadvantaged areas have equal access to participate.
CarpeDiemMusiCareconcerts are offered without charge to those unable to attend regular concerts. This includes: free performances at senior citizen communities, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, hospice centers, hospitals, Alzheimer care units, and regular visits to the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center -- a unique and unprecedented expansion.
Music Goes 2 Schoolgives schools the opportunity to have Carpe Diem come right to their classroom – up close and personal. The quartet interacts with kindergarten through grade 12 students, offering a musical experience for the entire classroom, and works with string programs in side-by-side, sectional, masterclass, and individual instruction settings.
Music from the Starthas Carpe Diem teamed up with the Columbus Head Start Centers, offering a quality musical experience to pre-school age children in Columbus, Ohio, at no charge to the facility or to their parents. This program is made possible by the generosity of the PNC Foundation.
carpe.diem.kidsis a series of free family concerts performed in the Columbus community of Harrison West. Students and their parents join CDSQ for an hour of intimate, interactive music making. With the younger listener in mind, we engage the audience with playful musical selections, discussion, and question-and-answer time.
Carpe Diem champions the music of living composers, and has commissioned, premiered, and performed works from a broad and stylistically diverse range of various composers including Frank Bennett, Danny Elfman, Ken Fuchs, Korine Fujiwara, Osvaldo Golijov, Andre Hajdu, Donald Harris, Jennifer Higdon, Jonathan Leshnoff, Nicholas Maw, William Thomas McKinley, Clancy Newman, Carter Pann, Kevin Putts, Eric Sawyer, Gunther Schuller, Richard Smoot, Bradley Sowash, Lawrence Dillon, and Bruce Wolosoff, among others. Carpe Diem is committed to pushing the limits of the classical string quartet and to changing the concert experience of chamber music. Using innovative programming, thematic concerts, popular music for younger generations, cameras and video to assist in the visual presentation, as well as speaking from the stage to better engage the audience, Carpe Diem is bringing new audiences into the concert hall and revitalizing the chamber music experience.