“Thalea never failed to deliver a stirring performance” - Calgary Herald
Formed in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, the Thalea String Quartet has been praised for their “vibrant performance” and “sincere expressivity” (SF Classical Voice). The quartet has performed recitals in Italy, the United States and Canada and recently completed their tenure as the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. They were named one of the “Top 10 Bay Area Quartets You Should Know” by CultureTrip.com and were the recipients of the 2016 Barbara Fritz Chamber Music Award from the Berkeley Piano Club. They made their debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in early 2016.
Recent collaborations include a performance of Mendelssohn’s Octet in its original manuscript form with the award-winning Borromeo Quartet and performances of works for voice and string quartet with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. They were invited to participate in the 2017 KRONOS Festival, where they performed works from the Kronos Quartet's "50 for the Future" project. The Thalea Quartet has also shared the stage with Geoff Nuttall of the St. Lawrence String Quartet , Jeffrey LaDeur of the Delphi Trio, Jodi Levitz and composer Mason Bates as part of his Mercury Soul Project. They have been fortunate to have worked with members of the Juilliard, Kronos, Takács, Pacifica and Danish String Quartets.
The members of the Thalea String Quartet are dedicated educators and bring their commitment to teaching and outreach to their frequent educational and community performances. They have performed educational concerts to students of all ages and regularly perform at care facilities across San Francisco.
This summer sees the Thalea String Quartet return to the Banff Centre for a residency with the Miró and JACK quartets, a collaboration with the Joe Goode Performance Group at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, and the quartet's orchestral debut with the Bear Valley Symphony, performing Spohr's Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra.
Christopher Whitley (violin) is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Kumiko Sakamoto (violin) is from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada; Luis Bellorín (viola) is from Naperville, Illinois, and cellist Titilayo Ayangade is from Chicago, Illinois.