"Their rock star status...is well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixes the audience..." That is how The Sarasota Herald Tribune described Sybarite5, the first string quintet ever selected ...
"Their rock star status...is well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixes the audience..." That is how The Sarasota Herald Tribune described Sybarite5, the first string quintet ever selected as a winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Comprised of Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violins; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass, Sybarite5 has taken audiences by storm all across the US, forever changing the perception of chamber music performance. From the moment their bows hit the strings, this quintet of talented, diverse musicians takes the audience on an exciting ride that engages the senses and redefines the rules.
From Mozart to Radiohead, Sybarite5's eclectic repertoire and dynamic performance style is turning heads throughout the music world: "...that impassioned playing, those hard-driving rhythms, the blissed-out faces of the mostly young audience...Genuine, spontaneous...excitement" (The Washington Post). The Quintet's debut EP disc Disturb the Silence, featuring music by Radiohead and Piazzolla, plus two original works written for Sybarite5, was released in spring 2011 and quickly reached the top ten on the Billboard charts. The group's follow-up CD, Everything in its Right Place, is a continuation of the Radiohead Remixed Project and was released in November 2012 on the CAG Records label.
The group visits fifteen states during the 2014-15 season, with featured performances on Wolf Trap's Chamber Music Series, Cliburn Concerts' 'Cliburn Sessions' Series, Detroit Symphony's 'At the Max' series, Anchorage Concert Association, Iowa's Grinnell College and Luther College, Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, Weber State University (UT) and Samford University in Birmingham, AL, as well as Sybarite5's own residency at the cell theatre in New York City. Summer 2014 festival appearances include Caramoor Summer Festival and Wisconsin's Green Lake Festival, following up on recent US festival concerts at The Aspen Music Festival, The Chautauqua Institution, Strings In the Mountains, Sybarite5's Forward Festival, and internationally at Canada's Tuckamore Music Festival and the Osaka International Chamber Music Festival & Chamber Competition.
In spring 2015, the Quintet looks forward to the world premiere of the very first concerto for string quintet and orchestra—entitled BEATBOX—written by the acclaimed American composer Dan Visconti. The commissioning orchestras, who will present these premiere performances, include the South Carolina Philharmonic, Midland Symphony of Michigan and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.
Career performance highlights include Sybarite5's Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall on the CAG series, Library of Congress and Washington Performing Arts in DC, UC San Diego, Indiana State University Lively Arts and Weis Center at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, University of Arizona, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, UTC Fine Arts Center (TN), Fairbanks Concert Association, and in New York at Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center, Tishman Auditorium, SubCulture, Galapagos Artspace, the Apple Store, the Museum of Sex, the Core Club and the Cutting Room. The group has also performed on the CBS Early Show and for his Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Ongoing programs include the Radiohead Remixed Project, The Shuffle Effect, Look Back Move Forward and New Music IDOL (featuring a series of short newly-commissioned works by student composers, in collaboration with University composition departments). Also at the 2011 CAG Competition, Sybarite5 was awarded the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize, which was used to commission new pieces for Radiohead Remixed and to produce the CD, Everything in its Right Place. Composers recently commissioned to write new works for Sybarite5 include Andy Akiho, Kenji Bunch, Eric Byers, Shawn Conley, Mohammed Fairouz, Michael Gilbertson, Jessica Meyer, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Michi Wiancko, and Lev Zhurbin.
Formed at the Aspen Music Festival, Sybarite5 was the first string quintet admitted to the Aspen Advanced String Quartet Studies program, where the group worked with Earl Carlyss of the Juilliard Quartet, bassist Edgar Meyer and the Cavani, American and Ying Quartets. From 2009-2013, the ensemble continued its tenure at the Aspen Music Festival in a new capacity as the AMFS Alumni Ensemble.