Caroline Shaw and The Calidore String Quartet

name of work

First Essay:  Nimrod by Caroline Shaw

Second Essay:  Echo and Third Essay:  Ruby by Caroline Shaw

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November 6, 2016 (First Essay: Nimrod) - Soka Performing Arts Center

July 16, 2018 (Second Essay: Echo & Third Essay: Ruby) - The Proms in London, England


In 2015, Caroline Shaw was commissioned by Coretet to compose a piece for the Calidore String Quartet:  Jeffrey Myers, violin, Ryan Meehan, violin, Estelle Choi, cello and Jeremy Berry, viola. Calidore and Caroline Shaw have been friends for some time and this was a piece written by a friend for friends.  This became First Essay:  Nimrod that was premiered by the Calidore String Quartet on November 6, 2016, at Soka Performing Arts Center.  

This piece was followed by a co-commission by Coretet, again for the Calidore String Quartet.  This became Second Essay:  Echo and Third Essay:  Ruby.  Along with First Essay:  Nimrod, these two new pieces were premiered by the Calidore String Quartet at the Proms in London, England on July 16, 2018.

These pieces by Caroline Shaw have now been recorded by the Calidore String Quartet in the album Babel. This recording is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Performance of
First Essay: Nimrod

First Essay by Calidore String Quartet performed at BBC Maida Vale Studios in London


Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician—vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer—who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, Seattle Symphony, Anne Sofie von Otter with Philharmonia Baroque, the LA Philharmonic, Juilliard 415, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry. Caroline’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National, and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Once she got to sing in three part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center, and that was pretty much the bees’ knees and elbows. Caroline has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton, currently teaches at NYU, and is a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.

Caroline Shaw
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The Calidore String Quartet

The Calidore String Quartet has been praised by the New York Times for its “deep reserves of virtuosity and irrepressible dramatic instinct.” The Los Angeles Times described the quartet as “astonishing,” their playing “shockingly deep,” approaching “the kind of sublimity other quartets spend a lifetime searching” and praised its balance of “intellect and expression.” The Washington Post has said that “Four more individual musicians are unimaginable, yet these speak, breathe, think and feel as one.”

Recipient of a 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, the Calidore String Quartet first made international headlines as winner of the $100,000 Grand Prize of the 2016 M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition. The quartet was the first North American ensemble to win the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and is currently in residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bowers Program.

During the 20/21 season heavily affected by the pandemic, the Calidore continue to reach out to online audiences performing in empty concert halls or from their home studio including the opening concert of the newly created series by the Chamber Music Society in New York, a rare outdoor performance on the Lincoln Center Plaza and a concert at the Kennedy Center. They performed streamed concerts from the Caramoor Festival, Spivey Hall, Emerald City Music, Asheville Chamber Music Series, Chamber Music Monterey Bay and the Music@Menlo Festival. In 2021, the Calidore will premiere a new string quartet by Hannah Lash commissioned by the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Baltimore’s Shriver Hall. They also  In February 2021 the Calidore begin their recording of the complete Beethoven String Quartet cycle for Signum Records.

In the 2019‒20 season, the Calidore String Quartet celebrates both its tenth anniversary and the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by presenting cycles of his string quartets at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, and the Universities of Buffalo, Toronto, and Delaware. In Europe, they will perform Beethoven quartets in Antwerp, Dresden, and at and the Rheingau Musik Festival.  Additionally, the Calidore premieres a new work by composer Anna Clyne inspired by Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge and commissioned by Music Accord in performances at Lincoln Center, Princeton University, Penn State University, Caramoor, San Francisco Performances, and Boston’s Celebrity Series. The quartet also makes its debut at Strathmore and with Kansas City’s Friends of Chamber Music. In Europe, the Calidore performs in respected series in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Poland, Spain, and Switzerland. The quartet continues to collaborate with artists including pianists Marc-André Hamelin, Pavel Kolesnikov, Yeol Eum Son, Sophiko Simsive, and Henry Kramer, violists Lawrence Power and Matthew Lipman, cellist Clive Greensmith, bassist Xavier Foley, guitarist Sharon Isbin, and oboist Cristina Gómez Godoy.

Highlights of recent seasons have included performances in major venues throughout North America, Europe, and Asia including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center, Konzerthaus Berlin, Brussels’s BOZAR, Cologne Philharmonie, Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall, and at significant festivals including the BBC Proms, Verbier, Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Music@Menlo, Rheingau, East Neuk, and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

On the Calidore String Quartet’s 2018 Signum release, Resilience, it “presents an impressive sense of ensemble” in a “cleverly devised selection of quartets” (Strad) by Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Janáček, and Golijov. The Calidore’s other commercial recordings include two albums recorded live in concert at the Music@Menlo Festival; Serenade, featuring music for string quartet from the Great War by Hindemith, Milhaud, Stravinsky, Ernst Toch, and Jacques de la Presleon the French label Editions Hortus; and their 2015 debut recording of quartets by Mendelssohn and Haydn, which prompted Gramophone to call the Calidore String Quartet “the epitome of confidence and finesse.” The Calidore’s members were featured as Young Artists in Residence on American Public Media’s Performance Today, and their performances have been broadcast on NPR, the BBC, the CBC, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Korean Broadcasting System, Bayerischer Rundfunk (Munich), Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Hamburg), and were aired on German national television as part of a documentary produced by ARD public broadcasting.

The Calidore has given world premieres of works by Caroline Shaw, Hannah Lash, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Benjamin Dean Taylor. Its collaborations with esteemed artists and ensembles include Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Joshua Bell, David Shifrin, Inon Barnatan, Paul Coletti, David Finckel, Wu Han, Paul Neubauer, Ronald Leonard, and Paul Watkins among others. The Calidore has collaborated and studied closely with the Emerson Quartet and Quatuor Ébène, and has also studied with David Finckel, Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, Günter Pichler, Guillaume Sutre, Paul Coletti, and Ronald Leonard, among others.

As a passionate supporter of music education, the Calidore String Quartet is committed to mentoring and educating young musicians, students, and audiences. The Calidore serves as Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Delaware and the University of Toronto. It has conducted master classes and residencies at Princeton, Stanford, the University of Michigan, the Colburn School, Stony Brook University, UCLA, and Mercer University.

The Calidore String Quartet was founded at the Colburn School in Los Angeles in 2010. Within two years, the quartet won grand prizes in virtually all the major US chamber music competitions, including the Fischoff, Coleman, Chesapeake, and Yellow Springs competitions, and it captured top prizes at the 2012 ARD International Music Competition in Munich and the International Chamber Music Competition Hamburg. An amalgamation of “California” and “doré” (French for “golden”), the ensemble’s name represents its reverence for the diversity of culture and the strong support it received from its original home: Los Angeles, California, the “golden state.”

The Calidore String Quartet
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