The Ulysses String Quartet has been praised for their “textural versatility,” “grave beauty,” and “gentle blanket of colour,” (Strad) as well as “avid enthusiasm ... [with] chops to back up their passion” and a “vibrant sonority” (San Diego Story). Winners of First Prize in the 2018 Schoenfeld International String Competition, along with the Grand Prize and Gold Medal in the Senior String Division of the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the group was founded in the summer of 2015. Ulysses also won First Place in the American Prize, and 2nd Prize of the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2017. The quartet competed in the Semifinals Round of the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition where they garnered a Career Development Grant.
Hailing from Canada, the United States and Taiwan, members have performed in prestigious halls such as Harbin Grand Theatre, Carnegie Hall, and the Taiwan National Concert Hall. Recent season highlights include appearances at the Vietnam Connection Festival, Chamber Music Society of Hong Kong, a debut at Taiwan National Recital Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Emilia Romagna Festival, and the Schneider Concerts. Members perform on instruments and bows graciously on loan from the Canada Council of the Arts Instrument Bank and the Maestro Foundation.
The name ‘Ulysses’ pays homage to Homer’s hero Odysseus and his ten year voyage home. The quartet is based in Washington Heights, New York City, and its members live in close proximity to the resting place of former U.S. president, Ulysses S. Grant. The Ulysses Quartet believes intensely in the power of music to inspire, enlighten, and bring people together. They are committed in sharing this passion by increasing access and appreciation for classical music while enhancing audience engagement. To this end, the quartet offers interactive programs and workshops for all ages that demystify traditional repertoire while introducing new and exciting works. Their programs invite participants to learn about the inner workings of the string quartet. Quartet members explore connections that music makes with our world today, through the rich history of its creation.
Along with active chamber music careers, Ulysses members hold principal positions with groups such as the Cape Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, International Chamber Players, and Miami Symphony and Shattered Glass. They received degrees from the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory and Yale University. Members are pursuing their Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree at the City University of New York and Manhattan School of Music.
Canadian violinist, Christina Bouey, is hailed by the New York Times for playing “beautifully,” by the New York Post, “When violinist Christina Bouey spun out that shimmering tune, I thought I died and went to heaven,” and by Opera News, for playing “with exquisite, quivering beauty.” Among her awards and prizes include the Canada Council of the Arts Instrument Bank, Hugo Kortchak Award for outstanding achievement in chamber music, Heida Hermann International, Canadian National Music Festival, Queens Concerto Competition, and the Balsam Duo Competition.
Christina has performed as soloist with the Tonkünstler Ensemble, Metro Chamber Orchestra, Bergen Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, Prince Edward Island Symphony, Banff Orchestra, Shattered Glass and the Hemenway Strings. Her solo and chamber performance credits include Carnegie Hall, Esterházy Palace, Yamaha Center Auditorium, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard Club of New York, the Chromatic Club of Boston, and the Indian River Festival. Christina has collaborated with artists such as Paul Coletti, Lynn Chang, David Geber, Clive Greensmith, Joji Hattori, Nicholas Mann, Irina Muresanu, and Bright Sheng.
Christina graduated from Manhattan School of Music (2013) with a Professional Studies Certificate in Orchestral Performance, studying with Glenn Dicterow and Lisa Kim as a full scholarship student, (2012) with a Professional Studies Certificate, studying with Laurie Smukler, and in 2011 she received a Master of Music, while studying with Nicholas Mann. Her Bachelor of Music (Magnum cum laude) is from The Boston Conservatory; where she studied with Irina Muresanu as a full-scholarship student. In her spare time, following in her parents footsteps, Christina enjoys singing coloratura arias by Mozart, Gounod and Donizetti, and has won first prize for her singing in the PEI Music Festival.
In June 2014, as part of the 150 year celebrations on PEI, Juilliard dancers performed a modern dance to her first musical commission for solo violin, with Christina playing it on the violin. Christina is currently serving as concertmaster of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. She plays a 1900 Scarampella on generous loan from the Canada Council Instrument Bank.
Violinist Rhiannon Banerdt made her solo debut at age 14 with the New England Symphonic Ensemble in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has since made solo and chamber music appearances at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, New York's Weill Hall at Carnegie, and Boston's Jordan Hall, among others, with performances hailed by Edith Eisler of Strings Magazine as “real music-making–concentrated and deeply felt.” Ms. Banerdt performs regularly throughout New England with a variety of ensembles and is a founding member of the Ulysses String Quartet, winners of the First Prize at the 2018 Schoenfeld International Chamber Music Competition, Grand Prize at the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, First Prize at the 2017 American Prize Chamber Ensemble, and Silver Medal at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition.
A recipient of the 2012 Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist Award, Ms. Banerdt was invited to perform with the quartet in Jordan Hall. Other collaborations have included performances with the Chiara Quartet, Kim Kashkashian, Paul Biss, and Frans Helmerson. Ms. Banerdt has participated in numerous eminent chamber music festivals including La Jolla Summerfest, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Taos School of Music, and the Castleman Quartet Program.
Ms. Banerdt holds the position of Assistant Concertmaster with the Cape Symphony and has served as Principal Second Violin Boston’s Discovery Ensemble. She was one of two Violin Fellowships for the 2013-2015 seasons with the flagship music education organization Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI, where she taught individual lessons and group classes for disadvantaged youth and performed regularly with the Fellowship Quartet and Community MusicWorks Players. Ms. Banerdt is currently a member of the violin faculty at the Bloomingdale School of Music on New York City’s Upper West Side and a Graduate Teaching Fellow at CUNY's Brooklyn College.
A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Banerdt attended the New England Conservatory, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Lucy Chapman and Paul Biss, and is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the CUNY Graduate Center studying with Mark Steinberg.
Versatile and virtuosic violist Colin Brookes is a founding member of the Ulysses Quartet and a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Brookes has performed as a soloist with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In June 2013 he gave a solo recital with pianist Euntaek Kim in Cornish, New Hampshire, for the St. Gaudens Concert Series. Colin is a winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society, Symphony North Competition, Tuesday Musical Club and Music For Mount Lebanon Competition.
As a freelance musician, Colin works and performs with The Knights, A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Shattered Glass, Le Train Bleu, Cantata Profana, and on Broadway. He also performs regularly at the Geneva Music Festival, Manchester Summer Chamber Music, and has made appearances at Tanglewood Music Festival with The Knights.
Mr. Brookes has taught chamber music at Yale University, undergraduate viola studies at Stony Brook University, along with viola and violin at Fairfield School of Music and Mahanaim School.
Colin holds a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School along with a Master of Music and Artist Diploma from Yale University. Former teachers include Ettore Causa, Heidi Castleman, Misha Amory, Jeffrey Irvine, Marylene Gingras-Roy, Roger Chase, and Carolyn Hills. He currently plays on an Italian 19th century viola and bow generously on loan from the Maestro Foundation.
Cellist Grace Ho, a native of Taiwan, is an active soloist and chamber musician. Ms. Ho has appeared as a soloist with the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra,Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, Ho Chi Minh City Symphony Orchestra, Sun Taipei Philharmonic, Lewisville Lake Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Ensemble, Kansas Wesleyan Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Philharmonic Orchestra, and University of North Texas Chamber Orchestra.
Ms. Ho has achieved numerous awards including First Prize in the Manhattan School of Music Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition in 2011, winner in the University of North Texas Concerto Competition in 2007, and a silver medalist in the Crescendo Music Awards in 2007. Ms. Ho has performed in Carnegie Hall, Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Taiwan National Concert and Recital Halls, and the Opera Houses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. She was the soloist in the 2018 Toyota Tour in Vietnam.
Besides being a founding member of the Ulysses Quartet, Ms. Ho is also the Principal Cellist of Miami Symphony Orchestra, member of Shattered Glass string ensemble, and a board member of Vietnam Connection Music Festival. She has also participated in festivals including Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, ENCORE School for Strings, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Manchester Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, International Festival Institute at Round Top, and Teaching Assistant at Manhattan in the Mountains in 2013. Ms. Ho has worked with conductors such as Kurt Masur, Christoph Eschenbach, Anshel Brusilow, Thomas Hengelbrock, Andérs Orozco-Estrada, Iván Fischer, George Manahan, David Itkin, Honna Tetsuji, Eduardo Marturet, Aikuang Sun, Jesse Henkensiefken, and others.
Ms. Ho began the piano at age 6 with her mother, Dr. Aikuang Sun; at age 9, she began the cello with Professor David Liao. Her teachers in Taiwan include Che-Ming Chen, Shiow-San Lin, and Zau-Fu Lin, whom have a great influence on her career as a cellist. After moving to the United States at age 14, she continued cello studies with University of North Texas cello professor, Eugene Osadchy for eight years. Ms. Ho received her Bachelor or Music from the University of North Texas under the tutelage of Eugene Osadchy, and Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music under Clive Greensmith, graduating with the Pablo Casals Award. Ms. Ho is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with David Geber.