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 the Grand Prize and the 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 Esterházy Palace, Carnegie Hall, and the Taiwan National Concert Hall. Recent season highlights include appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Emilia Romagna Festival, Kneisel Hall and the Schneider Concerts. Upcoming appearances include the NOVA Chamber Series, a return to the Louis Moreau Institute in New Orleans, and a residency at L’Archet Concert Series. 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, Manhattan School of Music, and Stony Brook University.
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 given solo and chamber music performances at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, New York’s Weill Hall at Carnegie, and Boston’s Jordan Hall, among others. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Banerdt performs regularly throughout New England with a variety of ensembles.
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 Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Taos School of Music, and the Castleman Quartet Program. A former member of the Amethyst Piano Trio, Ms. Banerdt was selected for the semifinals of the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and the same year the trio was awarded First Prize in the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition, where their performance was hailed by Edith Eisler of Strings Magazine as “real music-making – concentrated and deeply felt.”
Ms. Banerdt holds the position of Assistant Concertmaster with the Cape Symphony and has served as Principal Second Violin of Boston’s Discovery Ensemble, as well as performing regularly with other orchestras in the New England and New York areas. 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 a member of the violin faculty at the Bloomingdale School of Music on New York City’s Upper West Side.
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. She plays on a Guarneri model violin made by Marco Coppiardi in 2012.
Versatile and virtuosic violist Colin Brookes is a founding member of the Ulysses Quartet. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his work as a chamber musician, soloist and teacher has taken him to cities across the United States, Europe, and South America.
Mr. Brookes has performed as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In 2013 and 2015 he performed in solo and chamber recitals in Cornish, New Hampshire for the Saint Gaudens Concert Series. Recent chamber engagements include performances with Ani Kavafian, Laurie Smuckler, Daniel Phillips, Tara O’Connor, Hagai Shaham, Colin Carr, Alan Kay and Ransom Wilson. As a freelance musician, Colin works in Broadway theaters, as well as with the ensembles A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, The Knights, Cantata Profana, Le Train Bleu and New York Chamber Soloists. He is a winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society, Tuesday Musical Club, and Music for Mount Lebanon Competition.
Colin holds a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School, along with a Master of Music, and Artist Diploma from Yale University where he received the Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at Stony Brook University under Nicholas Cords and Larry Dutton. Former teachers include Ettore Causa, Heidi Castleman, Misha Amory, Jeffrey Irvine, Roger Chase, Marylene Gingras-Roy and Carolyn Hills. He currently plays on an Italian 19th century viola and bow generously on loan from the Maestro Foundation.
Grace Ho, a native of Taiwan, is an active soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Asia. Solo performances with orchestras include the Lewisville Lake Symphony Orchestra, Ho Chi Ming City Symphony Orchestra, Sun Taipei Philharmonic, Manhattan School of Music (MSM) Philharmonic Orchestra, University of North Texas (UNT) Chamber Orchestra, and the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) and Dallas Asian American Youth Orchestra.
Grace 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 influenced her greatly on her career as a cellist. Grace moved to the United States at age 14, continued her cello studies with Eugene Osadchy (cello professor at UNT). Since then, her path as an active soloist has begun, with her first solo performance with the Dallas Asian American Youth Orchestra at age 14. Other awards include first prize in the 2006 GDYO Concerto Competition, youngest winner in the 2007 UNT Concerto Competition, Silver Medal in the 2007 Crescendo Music Awards, and first prize in the 2011 MSM Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition.
As a chamber musician, Grace was selected to be part of four groups in the Center for Chamber Music at UNT, and won the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition multiple times at MSM. In 2012, Grace was selected to perform the Mendelssohn Octet in New York with MSM faculty members. In May 2013, Grace made her Carnegie Hall debut in Zankel Hall with Shattered Glass, a 12-person string ensemble, and performed again in June 2014 in the Stern Auditorium in Carnegie.
Grace has worked internationally under conductors such as Kurt Masur, Christoph Eschenbach, Anshel Brusilow, Thomas Hengelbrock, Andérs Orozco-Estrada, Iván Fischer, Eduardo Maturet, George Manahan, David Itkin, Aikuang Sun, and others. Grace has attended many festivals including ENCORE School for Strings, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and full scholarships to Manchester Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, International Festival Institute at Round Top, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, and Teaching Assistant at the 2013 Manhattan in the Mountains music festival in New York. In the summer of 2014, Grace was invited to Vietnam for chamber music recitals with faculty members from UNT, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Conservatories; and a fellow at the Toronto Chamber Music Festival in Canada. Since 2014, Grace was appointed as Guest Principal Cellist of Miami Symphony Orchestra, and also performs chamber music with members of the orchestra. Highlights in 2015 include a solo piece in the Rioult Dance Company Concert in New York City in January; a recital with David Gerringas in New York City in February; concerto appearances with the Sun Taipei Philharmonic in Taiwan and Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra in China; and a chamber music concert tour in Vietnam.
Grace is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts at MSM with full scholarship, under the tutelage of David Geber. Grace also studies with Bonnie Hampton and David Gerringas. With full scholarships, Grace studied with Eugene Osadchy at UNT where she received her Bachelor of Music in 2010, and Clive Greensmith (former cellist of Tokyo String Quartet and current faculty at the Colburn School) at MSM where she received her Master of Music in 2012, graduating with the Pablo Casals Award.