Winner, 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition
Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize
“Their rock star status… is well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixes the audience…” That is how The Sarasota Herald Tribune described SYBARITE5, the first string quintet ever selected as winners of Concert Artists Guild International Competition in its 60 year history. Comprised of Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violins; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass, SYBARITE5 has taken audiences by storm all across the US, forever changing the perception of chamber music performance. From the moment their bows hit the strings, this quintet of talented, diverse musicians takes the audience on an exciting ride that engages the senses and redefines the rules.
From Mozart to Radiohead, SYBARITE5’s eclectic repertoire and dynamic performance style is turning heads throughout the music world: “[SYBARITE5] excelled at the exquisite…[playing] with relish, a sense of comfort, and a frisson of missionary zeal” (The Washington Post). Their five-track EP disc, Disturb the Silence, features music by Radiohead and Piazzolla, plus two original works written for the quintet, and it made its debut at number 11 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart.
As a result of its fall 2011 victory at the CAG competition, SYBARITE5 makes its Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall in November 2012 on the CAG series. Other featured performances upcoming include Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (as part of the Five Boroughs Music Festival), as well as concerts in Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Nevada.
Recent performance highlights include the Library of Congress, Aspen Music Festival, and in New York at Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center, Tishman Auditorium and Bohemian National Hall. Through its Alternative Venues Initiative, the quintet has also performed at such diverse locations as Galapagos Artspace, the Apple Store, the Museum of Sex, the Core Club, and the Cutting Room, and at the Cell Theatre, where SYBARITE5 maintains a residency. The group has also performed on the CBS Early Show and for his Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Ongoing programs include the Radiohead Remixed Project, TheShuffle Effect, New Music IDOL (featuring a series of short new works by student composers), and The DIDO Project(a ground-breaking multimedia presentation of Purcell’s opera Dido & Aeneas, melding art, technology & humanism). Also at the 2011 CAG Competition, SYBARITE5 was awarded the new Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize, which will be used to commission a new piece for the ensemble. In 2013-14, the quintet looks forward to premiering the world’s first concerto for string quintet and orchestra by the acclaimed American composer Dan Visconti.
Originally formed at the Aspen Music Festival, SYBARITE5 was the first string quintet admitted to the Aspen Advanced String Quartet Studies program, where they worked with Earl Carlyss of the Juilliard Quartet, bassist Edgar Meyer, and the Cavani, American and Ying Quartets. Currently they continue their tenure at the Aspen Music Festival in a new capacity as the AMFS Alumni Ensemble.