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The Biscopink String Quartet wins first prize in USC’s Chamber Music Competition

Regional high school string students get coached by members of the Parker Quartet

Eight talented high school string quartets from South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee were on campus March 21 for the second annual University of South Carolina Chamber Day and Competition with the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet.

The students spent an intensive day of master classes and coaching with members of the Parker Quartet: Ying Xue, Jessica Bodner, Kee Kim and Daniel Chong, and USC’s string faculty: Neil Casey, Rebecca Hunter, Robert Jesselson and William Terwilliger.

Competing during an evening concert in the School of Music’s Recital Hall, the high school string ensembles performed the music of Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Dvorak and Shostakovich. After the concert, three cash prizes were awarded, as well as an Honorable Mention and an Audience Favorite prize.

William Terwilliger, program director, said, “The quartets were finalists chosen out of 17 quartets who applied from five states, and we were all happy to hear how the general level had improved substantially from last year. There was such energy and dedication to string quartet playing in these students, several of whom were as young as 12 and 14.”  

2015 USC Chamber Music Day Winners

First Prize ($500):
The Biscopink String Quartet - Spartanburg, S.C. - April Chen, violin I, age 18; Sarah Coomes, violin II, age 15; Chase Makdera, viola, age 17; Steven Chen, violoncello, age 18
(Coach: Susan Baier, Dorman High School)

Second Prize ($350):
The Jolly String Quartet - Mt. Juliet, Tennessee - Viktor Jolly, violin I, age 16; Gorsha Jolly, violin II, age 14; Yara Jolly, viola, age 16; Kristina Jolly, violoncello, age 17
(Coach: Alan Rafferty, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music)

Third Prize ($150):
The Potter Quartet - Greenville, S.C. - Rachel Yi, violin I, age 14; Sam Parrini, violin II, age 14; Hannah Patskoski, viola, age 15; Samuel Tam, violoncello, age 14
(Coach: John Ravnan, Greenville Fine Arts Center)

Honorable Mention:
The Havillten String Quartet - Columbia, S.C. - David Pazderski, violin I, age 18; Austen Speare, violin II, age 18; Billy Tidwell, viola, age 17; Hannah Knott, violoncello, age 18
(Coaches: Neil Casey and William Terwilliger, USC)

Audience Favorite Prize ($50):
The Havillten String Quartet

2015 USC Chamber Day Finalists

•    The Biscopink String Quartet - Dorman HS (sponsor), Spartanburg SC
•    The Cantella String Quartet - Chapel Hill, NC
•    The Havillten Quartet - Columbia, SC
•    The West End Quartet -  The Greenville Fine Arts Center, Greenville, SC
•    The Potter Quartet - The Greenville Fine Arts Center, Greenville, SC
•    The Beauvais String Quartet - North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, GA
•    The Fuoco String Quartet - North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, GA
•    The Jolly String Quartet - Nashville, TN

About the Parker Quartet

The Parker Quartet has distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation and has been hailed by The New York Times as “something extraordinary” and by the Boston Globe as “intense, virtuosic and utterly assured.” The quartet began its professional touring career in 2002 and garnered international acclaim in 2005, winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition and the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France. In 2009, Chamber Music America awarded the Quartet the prestigious biennial Cleveland Quartet Award for the 2009-2011 seasons.
Parker Quartet members, violinists Daniel Chong and Ying Xue, violist Jessica Bodner and cellist Kee-Hyun Kim, are known for their k-12 educational programs, which are based on age group, musical experience and curriculum and help to educate young people about string quartets and what a composer does.

The University of South Carolina began its Quartet-in-Residence program with the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet in 2012.