The Ulysses String Quartet has been praised for their “textural versatility,” “grave beauty,” and “gentle blanket of colour,” (The Strad) as well as “avid enthusiasm ... [with] chops to back up their passion” and a “vibrant sonority” (San Diego Story).
Founded in the summer of 2015, the group won the grand prize at the Vietnam International Music Competition in 2019, first prize in the 2018 Schoenfeld International String Competition and the grand prize and gold medal in the senior string division of the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Ulysses also finished first in the American Prize and won second prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2017. The quartet garnered a career development grant in the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. In 2019, they were named Graduate Quartet in Residence at the Juilliard School. Ulysses is very pleased to have recently signed with Judson Management Group, Inc. for exclusive worldwide representation.
Hailing from Canada, the United States and Taiwan, the Ulysses String Quartet has performed in such prestigious halls such as the Harbin Grand Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Taiwan National Recital Hall. Recent season highlights have included appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, debuts at Premiere Performances Hong Kong, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and the Vietnam Connection Festival, as well as a quartet residency for the Zukerman Young Artist Program. Upcoming engagements include a debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and the Eastman School of Music. For the last three years, Ulysses was in residence at the Louis Moreau Institute in New Orleans, working with the composer Morris Rosenzweig. As a special project, the group will record the quartets of composer Joseph Summer at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, over the next several years.
The group’s name pays homage to Homer’s hero Odysseus and his 10-year voyage home.
Additionally, the quartet’s members live in close proximity to the resting place of former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant in Upper Manhattan. The Ulysses String Quartet believes intensely in the power of music to inspire, enlighten and bring people together. The quartet is committed to sharing this passion by increasing access to and appreciation for classical music while enhancing audience engagement. To this end, the quartet offers interactive programs and workshops for all ages that serve to demystify the traditional repertoire while introducing audiences to exciting new works. Their programs frequently enable participants to learn about the inner workings of a string quartet, and to explore the connections between classical music and our world today.
The members of Ulysses hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory and Yale University. The musicians perform on instruments and bows graciously on loan from the Canada Council of the Arts Instrument Bank and the Maestro Foundation.
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.” Her recent prizes include 1st Prize at the Schoenfeld International String Competition in the chamber division, Grand Prize at the Fischoff Competition, 1st place in the American Prize, and 2nd prize at the Osaka International Chamber Competition. Among her other top awards include the 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 Greenwich Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Salina Symphony, River Cities Symphony, Symphony of the Mountains, Tonkünstler Ensemble, Metro Chamber Orchestra, Bergen Symphony, Prince Edward Island Symphony, Banff Orchestra, Shattered Glass and the Hemenway Strings. Her solo and chamber credits include Carnegie Hall, Esterházy Palace, Taiwan National Recital Hall, Harbin Grand Theatre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Schneider Series, Rockefeller Tri-I Noon Series, Dame Myra Hess series, La Jolla Summer Fest, Premiere Performances Hong Kong, Vietnam Connection Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Festival, Emilia Romagna Festival, Harvard Club of New York, Montreal Chamber Festival, Debut Atlantic, Kansas International Music Festival, L'Archet Concert Group and the Indian River Festival. She has also been featured on WQXR New York. Christina has collaborated with artists such as David Chan, Jeremy Denk, Paul Coletti, Lynn Chang, Robert DeMaine, Steven Doane, Rosemary Elliott, David Geber, Clive Greensmith, Toby Hoffman, Chee-Yun Kim, Yura Lee, Cho-Liang Lin, 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 June 2014, as part of the 150 year celebrations on PEI, professional dancers from Ballet Jazz de Montreal performed a modern dance to her first compositional commission for solo violin, with Christina playing it on the violin. Christina is currently serving as concertmaster of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, is a member/founder of the Ulysses String Quartet, and plays in a duo with pianist Tatiana Tessman. She plays an 1820 Pressenda on generous loan from the Canada Council Instrument Bank. To keep up to date with Christina, you can follow her website www.christinabouey.com.
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.
Praised by ConcertoNet as a “master of the strong lines”, versatile violist Colin Brookes is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Brookes is a founding member of the award-winning Ulysses Quartet, and has performed as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Colin is a winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society, Symphony North Competition, Tuesday Musical Club and Music For Mount Lebanon Competition.
Mr. Brookes has taught in the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School, 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.
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. In June 2013 he gave a solo recital with pianist Euntaek Kim in Cornish, New Hampshire, for the St. Gaudens Concert Series.
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, Marylene Gingras-Roy, Roger Chase, Jeffrey Irvine, 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.