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Quartet Degas

Maya Buchanan, violin (Rapid City, SD)
Joshua Brown, violin (Gurnee, IL)
Tess Krope, viola (Chicago, IL)
Josiah Yoo, cello (Northbrook IL)

Quartet Degas, coached by Roland Vamos and Sang Mee Lee, is comprised of Maya Buchanan and Joshua Brown, violins, Tess Krope, viola, and Josiah Yoo, cello. All four students are Laureate or Fellow scholarship recipients of the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago, a pre-college training program for gifted musicians. Quartet Degas will be competing in the quarter-final round of the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the 2016 A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition. They recently collaborated and performed in a clarinet quintet with Stephen Williamson, the principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at Nichols Hall in Chicago. The members of Quartet Degas have also individually won numerous competitions and prizes locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, both as solo and chamber musicians. Quartet Degas is named after the French impressionist painter Edgar Degas. Degas was fascinated with capturing chance occurrences in the study of human form and movement in ballet and musical performance. Like the works of Degas, the ensemble strives to capture the spontaneity inherent in a truly great artistic performance. On the more prosaic side, they are all avid Marvel Comics Avengers fans and draw inspiration from their superheroes. Maya, Joshua, Tess and Josiah align themselves with Hawkeye, the Hulk, Captain America and Ironman, respectively, and each brings different strengths to the ensemble to create a reckoning force!

Maya Anjali Buchanan (16) is a full-tuition merit scholarship Laureate at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, an elite pre-college training program where she studies with Almita and Roland Vamos. In 2015, Maya was awarded top prizes in two international competitions; The 2015 Cooper International Violin Competition and the Triennial 2015 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players where she was the only American violinist to be awarded a top prize. She has won the grand prize or a top prize in many competitions including the Walgreen’s National Concerto Competition, Dallas Symphonic Festival, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Junior Competition, Collin County Young Artist Competition, Kearney Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition and was the youngest Grand Prize winner in the history of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition which culminated in three performances of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at Washington Pavilion. She has performed in diverse venues including the King Summer’s Palace in Lyon, France, Aspen’s Harris Hall, Ravinia’s Bennett-Gordon Hall, and other venues throughout Chicago and the Midwest. Maya was featured in a live recorded performance at the National Music Museum, on NPR’s From the Top, showcasing America’s best young classical musicians. She has participated, since age nine, in the Aspen Music Festival, four consecutive summers in the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program, and was recently selected for the student artist program at the 2015 Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies held at The Juilliard School. In addition to her music, Maya enjoys life on her family ranch in the Black Hills National Forest.

Joshua Brown (16), the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Laureate, studies violin with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy. Joshua has won First Place in many competitions, including the MIC Concerto Competition, the Luminarts Classical Music Competition, the Sejong Competition, the Asian American International Music Competition, the Alexander and Buono International String Competition, the Confucius Competition, the DePaul Concerto Festival, the Stanger Young Artist Competition, and the Rockville Competition. Joshua was awarded both Second Place and the Audience Award in the 2015 Cooper International Violin Competition in Ohio. He had the distinct honor of playing with the Cleveland Orchestra. Critics wrote, “His interpretation of Dmitri Shostakovich’s first violin concerto was so maturely wrought that it might have come from a seasoned professional. Brilliantly played and expertly paced, Brown … was spellbinding throughout his entire time on stage.” Recently, Joshua received more awards than any other participant at the 2015 IX International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians held in Novosibirsk, Russia, taking home the Audience Award, Honorable Mention, the Academy of Arts Golden Medal, and the Siberian Academy of Arts Talent Award. Joshua has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Severence Hall, among others, and has soloed with the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra, Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, New North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and Waukegan Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Joshua has been featured on WFMT’s Introductions and on NPR’s From the Top. He plays on a 1910 Vincenzo Postiglione violin, generously on loan to him by the Virtu Foundation.

Tess Juliet Krope (17) is a scholarship recipient and member of the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program since 2010, where she studies viola with MIC artist faculty member and assistant principal violist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Li-Kuo Chang. As assistant concertmistress of the 2013 Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Youth in Music Festival, Tess had the opportunity to be guided by Guest Conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto and Guest Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya. She was also third chair violist of the 2015 Youth in Music Festival conducted by Riccardo Muti. As violist for Atara Quartet, Tess has won the first place in the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition (2015), first place in the Jules M. Laser Competition (2014), and honorable mention in the Fischoff National Chamber Competition (2015). She was recruited with three other musicians from the Youth in Music Festival in 2013 as Kunama Quartet to debut Michael Schelle’s Sprechstisambastimme for Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Citizen Musician initiative. As a soloist, Tess won first place in the 2012 Alton Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and performed with the Alton Symphony. She has performed in masterclasses with Pinkas Zuckerman, Peter Slowik, Ilya Kaler, Yair Kless, and Tong Wei-Dong. Tess has participated in David Finckel and Wu-Han’s Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival (2014, 2015), Aspen Music Festival (2015), and Madeline Island Chamber Music Festival (2014). Aside from music, Tess enjoys acting and recently played the role of Yenchna in her school’s production of Neil Simon’s Fools. She is a senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago where she is an honor roll student, Principal’s scholar and National Honor Society member.

Cellist Josiah Yoo (18) is the Bev and Warren Hayford Academy Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, a training center for gifted pre-college musicians. Josiah won the Illinois State and East Central Division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) in 2014-2015. He won first place at the Society of American Musicians Competition and the Chinese Fine Arts Society of Music Competition. In addition, Josiah has received top prizes from the Music Institute of Chicago’s Young Artist Concerto and Aria Competition, DePaul University’s Music Competition, and the Sejong Music Competition. Josiah was the cellist of Quartet Lumière, who won the gold medal at the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Junior Division. During the summer, he has attended the Meadowmount School of Music (2012-2014) and the Heifetz International Music Institute (2015). Josiah currently studies privately with MIC artist faculty member Hans Jørgen Jensen. His previous teachers include Gilda Barston and Richard Hirschl. Josiah has worked with distinguished artists such as Ronald Leonard, Richard Aaron, Steven Doane, Laurence Lesser, and Clive Greensmith. Josiah was recently named a 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Scholar and performed on National Public Radio’s From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley. He was also the recipient of the Bette scholarship, the Venzon cello scholarship, and Mabie Family Scholarship. Josiah performs on a Lawrence Wilke cello (2010).

In Performance


Competition Repertoire

HAYDN: Quartet in C major, Op.76 No.3 “Emperor” - II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
RAVEL: Quartet in F major - II. Assez vif--Très rythmé
BRAHMS : Quartet in C minor Op.51 No.1 - I. Allegro