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Concert program for Circadian String Quartet

Friday, November 13, 2020 at 8 pm

Download a copy of the program here.

Monika Gruber & David Ryther, violins
Omid Assadi, viola & David Wishnia, cello


Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
3 Preludes, arranged for string quartet by David Ryther
            Des pas sur la neige
            Le danse de Puck

Claude Debussy
String Quartet in G minor Op. 10

            Animé et très décidé
            Assez vif et bien rythmé
            Andantino, doucement expressif
            Très modéré – En animant peu à peu – Très mouvementé et avec passion

About the artists

Bay Area based Circadian String Quartet was founded in 2013 to perform classical and contemporary repertoire of folkloric or cultural significance. Since then CSQ has become known for bold original programming ideas that break boundaries or reach across cultures, that is why CSQ loves working with composers. CSQ is proud to have given world and U.S. premieres of exciting new pieces of chamber music written by Sahba Aminikia, Ben Carson, Toronto-based Noam Lemish, and British composer Ian Venables. They first performed Sahba Aminikia’s One Day Tehran live on air on KPFA’s radio show Music of the World with Joanna Manqueros in 2015. Then in 2016 they commissioned Aminikia to write a new piece for string quartet and narrator. The result, a glowing kaleidoscopic mixture of text by Allen Ginsburg and Hafez called The Weight of the World was premiered in 2017 at the Piedmont Arts center.

CSQ has also become known for its original transcriptions and compositions. In 2017 and 2019 their original transcriptions of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and The Firebird premiered to enthusiastic crowds and critical acclaim. In 2016 CSQ collaborated with narrator and historian Nikolaus Hohmann to tell stories from World War Two. For this project CSQ created short original pieces of music and text called Chiaroscuros which helped give their programs a narrative arc. Now there is a growing body of these short works which are now a regular part of all CSQ concerts.

CSQ has been quartet in residence at the Music by the Mountain Festival in Mt. Shasta, featured in the April in Santa Cruz new music festival, and the members also serve as resident teaching artists for the Villa Sinfonia’s Zephyr Point Chamber music workshop in South Lake Tahoe.

Some of CSQ’s recent projects include their collaboration with world class santour player Hamid Taghavi, and the upcoming premiere of Eurydice’s Defiance, David Ryther’s new Opera written especially for Kitka soprano, Lily Storm and CSQ. These projects highlight the breadth of CSQ’s repertoire as they continue to expand the string quartet’s possibilities.

Praised by critics for her “irresistibly melting tone, which she can also imbue with gripping fire”, Monika Gruber is a versatile violinist, appearing in concerts throughout the United States and Europe. As violinist of the Eusebius Duo she was invited to perform in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, following the duo’s success as first prize winners of the CMFONE International Chamber Music Competition. Throughout her years of study she was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, notably the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, which enabled her to continue her studies in the US. Monika received her training at Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Lyon, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

David Ryther, violin, has brought his interpretive powers as a soloist to such festivals as the Darmstadt Summer Festival of New Music, the Banff Center, and the Green Umbrella Series in Los Angeles. He has been featured playing new music with sfSoundGroup, Earplay, San Francisco Contemporary Players, the Berkeley New Music Ensemble, Sonor, and Octagon, and is a member of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. As a composer, David has had world premieres played by the Villa Sinfonia, an orchestra piece called Friend commissioned by Croi Glan dance troupe in Ireland, and worked in residency with Kate Weare company (New York) and locally with Dandelion Dance Theater.

Native of Iran, Omid Assadi, viola, holds a B.M. and M.M. from San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with Jodie Levitz and Bettina Mussumeli. Mr. Assadi is an active ensemble player and soloist; he has concertized with many of the Bay Area’s orchestras and has appeared numerous times as soloist with Golden Gate Philharmonic, City College of San Francisco String Orchestra, Kensington Symphony Orchestra, and Villa Sinfonia. Omid’s love for chamber music has led him to study chamber music with the members of the Kronos String Quartet as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music faculty members.

An active chamber musician, David Wishnia, cello, routinely concertizes with both the Circadian String Quartet and the Villa Piano Trio, and has taught at the Zephyr Point Chamber Music Camp and Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop. David has also appeared as a soloist with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra and Villa Sinfonia. He is currently a member of the Marin Symphony, and has performed in numerous Bay Area ensembles, including the Berkeley Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Sacramento Symphony, Russian Chamber Orchestra, and Marin Oratorio, among others. David received his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Aldo Parisot.