MFA in Music Composition

Summer 2017 String Trio / Visiting Ensemble

Strings

The String Trio is comprised of members of the Secret Quartet and the Power Quartet, both of which were formed at VCFA during previous MFA in Music Composition residencies and have continued to play and perform together.

Jennifer Choi, violin   

Violinist Jennifer Choi has charted a career that breaks through the conventional boundaries of solo violin, chamber music, and the art of improvisation.  She has performed across the globe since giving her debut recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as Winner of the Artists International Competition in 2000, and has championed new music compositions with a host of premieres by composers like John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Elliott Sharp and more, while also performing standard classical literature.  2016 season highlights have included collaborations with the TALUJON Percussion Ensemble in Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Percussion, guest appearances with the Austin Classical Guitar Society, the New Baroque Soloists, and performances with composer/improvisors, Susie Ibarra, Ches Smith, and Erik Friedlander.

A prominent chamber musician, Jennifer was a former violinist of the Miró String Quartet.  With her involvement, the group won Grand Prize at the 1996 Fischoff and Coleman chamber music competitions.  She has since performed for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums, MOMA Summer Garden Series, Ravinia Festival, Barge Music, Caramoor Music, and Strathmore Mansion series.  Jennifer was a member of ETHEL during their 2011-2012 season and is currently violinist for Either/Or Ensemble, Classical Jam, and the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (ECCE).  She can be heard on over a dozen recordings on TZADIK record label, as well as Starkland, and New Focus labels.

Jessica Meyer, viola   

With playing that is “fierce and lyrical” and works that are “other-worldly” (The Strad) and “evocative” (NY Times), Jessica Meyer is a versatile composer and violist whose passionate musicianship radiates accessibility, generosity, and emotional clarity. Ms. Meyer’s compositions explore the wide palette of emotionally expressive colors available to each instrument while using traditional and extended techniques inspired by her varied experiences as a contemporary and period instrumentalist. Recent commissions include works for cellist Amanda Gookin of the Public String Quartet and the Nautilus Brass Quintet as the composer in residence at the 2016 Women Composers Festival of Hartford. Upcoming commissions include works for pianist Molly Morkoski, the Mana Saxophone Quartet, and soprano Melissa Wimbish for her Carnegie Hall debut. Her current solo show and “intriguingly vivid” debut solo CD, Sounds of Being, is a surround-sound sensory experience of her own compositions for viola and loop pedal where she turns her viola into an orchestra to take the audience on a journey filled with joy, anxiety, closeness, anger, bliss, torment, loneliness, and passion. Performances include iconic NYC Clubs such as Joe’s Pub and SubCulture, to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and across the pond at Sunset Sunside in Paris.

Yves Dharamraj, cello

Yves Dharamraj has earned a worldwide reputation as a dynamic cellist who blends an immaculate command of the instrument with deep musical understanding to express his fresh and elegant interpretations. 

As soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and teaching artist, he enjoys a multifaceted career that takes him to the major stages of the United States and abroad.

As an artist dedicated to the performance of contemporary music, Dharamraj is a founding member of the genre-defying Bohemian Trio and indulges in the avant-garde as the cellist of Ne(x)tworks. He followed his passion for teaching artistry, arts advocacy, and engaging new audiences as a fellow of the Academy, a musical initiative between Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, the Weill Music Institute, and the New York City Department of Education. He continues outreach activities as a member of Decoda, and cofounded New Docta International Music Festival in Cordoba, Argentina in 2013 to mentor and nurture Latin American talent.

Dharamraj was a pupil of Aldo Parisot at Yale University and further studied in Joel Krosnick and Darrett Adkins’s studio at the Juilliard School where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He has also worked with Paul Katz at the New England Conservatory. 

In his leisure time, he loves to learn about and taste the great wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux, and is a zealous supporter of the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Arsenal FC.