Violist Caitlin Boyle and cellist Rachel DeSoer, members of the critically acclaimed Cecilia Quartet join first violinist Valerie Li from the Afiara Collective and Catherine Cosbey, founding member of the Linden String Quartet, to form this exciting ensemble. In their respective groups, these artists have won prizes at several international competitions, including Osaka (2008) and Bordeaux (2010), Banff International String Quartet Competition Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. They have held prestigious residencies at Yale University, Juilliard and Royal Conservatory of Music and performed across North America, Europe, and Asia.
Together for a week-long residency at Music at Port Milford, the members of this ensemble will bring together their vast wealth of experience as chamber musicians.
From its inception in 2006, Afiara was built on the Spanish word fiar, meaning trust. It is with this spirit of trust that Afiara moves forward as a flexible collective of core and guest artists, continuing forward with its pursuit of beauty, meaning, and growth as musicians and ambassadors. Profiled by CBC Q, The National, Discovery Channel, and the Toronto Star ("one of the most attention-grabbing concerts of the year"), the Afiara is a dynamic and award-winning ensemble. It has been described as "a revelation" (La Presse) with performances balancing "intensity and commitment" and "frequent moments of tenderness" (Montreal Gazette). Afiara has held residencies at The Juilliard School and San Francisco State University, and Fellowship Ensemble at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Afiara is also winner of the Young Canadian Musicians Award, Concert Artist Guild, Munich ARD, and Banff International String Quartet Competitions, including the latter's Szekely Prize for the best interpretation of Beethoven.
Afiara has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, at such venues as Carnegie Hall’s Zankel and Weill Halls, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Library of Congress in DC, Sao Paulo’s Museum of Modern Art, Pro Musica of San Miguel de Allende, London's Wigmore Hall, Austria's Esterhazy Palace, Munich’s Prinz Regenten Theatre, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, and the Royal Library in Copenhagen. Their journey is documented in over 30 commissions of new music, new educational outreach initiatives for school children funded by the Ontario Arts Council, and projects with jazz virtuoso Uri Caine, Latin Grammy Award-winning producer Javier Limon, and innovative scratch DJ, Kid Koala.
As Executive Producers, the Afiara's latest Juno-nominated recording, "Spin Cycle", was chosen as the Ten Best Classical Albums of the Year by both Forbes magazine and CBC Music. The project highlighted a ground-breaking process that begins with four Canadian commissions by composers Kevin Lau, Laura Silberberg, Rob Teehan, and Dinuk Wijeratne, which is then remixed by renowned DJ Skratch Bastid. The composers then compose to the remixes by writing quartet parts in response, creating an authentic and fully collaborative dialogue, with all three stages stand-alone works in their own right. Classicaliszt writes: "Like a tornado cutting a swath of chaos across cornfields and farmlands, Spin Cycle (Centrediscs) is knocking down those musical silos that once contained and kept classical music and hip hop at more than arms length from each other, and allows conversations across a musical void that I never expected to hear filled in."
Veterans of orchestral and chamber music performance and members of Port Milford's core Artist Faculty, the Port Milford Faculty Ensemble (Marie Berard, Rohan Gregory, Angela Rudden and Paul Widner) come together each summer to coach young musicians and to perform in concert with technical distinction and a sensitive rapport.
Praised for their "emotional investment" and "decisive" interpretations (Toronto Star) and "intense" and "hot-blooded" performances (Globe and Mail), the Tokai Quartet is one of Canada's leading string quartets. In September 2007, the quartet became prizewinners at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the first Canadian group to do so since 1992. The vibrancy that this exciting young ensemble brings to their performances is gaining them enthusiastic audiences across Canada, and has earned the Tokai Quartet a growing demand for performances at concert series across the country.