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School of Music


The Fourth Wall Ensemble

Spark’s Chamber Music Competition winners announced

Winners will perform at Tapp’s Art Center during Columbia’s First Thursday celebration June 5

Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory holds its second annual summer workshop June 5 – 8, and the 4-day workshop kicks off with a concert featuring winners from its Chamber Ensemble Competition. Winners were chosen based on artistic excellence and innovative event design. The competition, hosted by the University of South Carolina School of Music, is open nation-wide. Both students and professional groups can apply.

In addition to music excellence, the winners expand beyond the musical-only concert format with the use of unexpected innovations like multi-media, choreography, audience engagement, theatrical elements, or unusual performance practices. Winners are chosen through a competitive juried process.

Spark’s summer workshop, The Savvy Musician in ACTION, is an intensive, experiential four-day workshop designed to help musicians generate more income and impact. Participants learn to sharpen entrepreneurship and leadership skills from some of the most innovative thought leaders in the industry. Learn more about Spark’s Summer Workshop and register to attend.

Workshop director and associate professor of music entrepreneurship, Dr. David Cutler said, “The winning groups this year feature outstanding musicianship matched with fiery imaginations. These fine musicians don’t just play great, they are working to build new audiences and change the world.”

First place winner: The Fourth Wall Ensemble
Based in Indiana and founded in 2010, The Fourth Wall explores a new hybrid of the performing arts in which musicians are also dancers and actors. Stretching the boundaries of instrumental performance, the ensemble commissions new interdisciplinary works and reinterprets established repertoire to make music that literally leaps from the stage. A flutist dancer, a trombonist choreographer, and a percussionist narrator took the first-place prize and were awarded the opening night performance, full tuition scholarships to the workshop, a cash stipend and professional development coaching with Dr. Cutler.

Runner-Up: Warp Trio
On piano, cello and violin, Warp Trio push the boundaries of music through inter-disciplinary collaborations and eclectic programming that includes electrifying original material, dynamic interpretations of popular music, improvisation and unique takes on classical repertoire. For this performance, they are joined by a drummer and dancer.

Runner-Up: Ensemble39
Ensemble39’s unique mix of strings and winds embraces many musical styles from the classical oboe to the jazz bass, the klezmer clarinet to the old time fiddle. The group, featuring graduates of Curtis, changes the conventional concert paradigm, exploring new venues, seeking diverse collaborators, loosening the presentation protocol and pursuing mixtape-style programming.

Honorable Mention: Duo Anova
Based in New York City, the cello and guitar duo
opens up listeners’ minds to a new dimension of textures and sounds unique to cello and guitar.

Honorable Mention: invoke
Believing that the string quartet remains one of the most maneuverable ensembles, Maryland-based invoke, aims to reinvent the string quartet as a relevant 21st-century medium.

Winners Concert at Tapp's Art Center

Thursday, June 5, Tapp's Art Center (1644 Main St.)
7:15 p.m. Warp Trio
7:45 p.m. Ensemble 39
8:20 p.m. Duo Anova
8:40 p.m. invoke
9:15 p.m. The Fourth Wall

Learn more about Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory.