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.
Praised for their “huge range of dynamics, massive sound and spontaneity” (American Record Guide), the Viano String Quartet are First Prize winners of the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Formed in 2015 at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where they are Ensemble-in-Residence through the 2020-21 season, the quartet has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Place Flagey, Konzerthaus Berlin, and Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Viano String Quartet has been actively presenting virtual and socially distanced live concerts for various organizations, including the Dallas Chamber Music Society, the Schneider Series at the New School, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Friends of Chamber Music of Troy, the Salt Lake Chamber Music Society, and the Banff International String Quartet Festival. With their colleagues in the Calidore String Quartet, they presented a movement of the Mendelssohn Octet while distanced across countries in a film project “The Way Forward.” As part of the Banff International String Quartet Competition prize, the quartet will be in residence at the Meadows School of Music at the Southern Methodist University through the 2022-23 season. For two weeks each semester, they will perform side-by-side concerts, coach chamber ensembles, and initiate projects within the SMU community.
Their 2019-20 season saw performances on three continents, including debuts in Berlin, Paris, Bremen, Brussels, Vancouver, and Beijing among other cities. The quartet also gave several performances within Los Angeles at Boston Court, the Music Guild, and Zipper Hall, and produced a recording with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. They have collaborated with world-class musicians such as pianists Emanuel Ax and Elisso Virsaladze, violist Paul Coletti, violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley, and vocalist Hila Plitmann.
The quartet received the Grand Prize at the 2019 ENKOR International Music Competition and second prize at the 2019 Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition. At the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition they received Third Prize, the Haydn Prize for the best performance of a Haydn quartet, and the Sidney Griller Award for the best performance of the compulsory work, Thomas Ades’ “The Four Quarters”. They received the Silver Medal at the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Third Prize at the 9th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2017.
Committed to engaging with communities outside the concert hall, the Viano String Quartet has given presentations for school children and students of all ages through residencies in Bellingham, Washington—the “Play it Forward” residency, a collaboration between the Bellingham Festival of Music and the Whatcom Symphony to reach school children in the northern Washington State area—Northern Michigan University, and the Santa Monica Conservatory. In 2019 they gave multiple performances of “Over the Top”, a Musical Encounter Interactive presentation they scripted, developed and performed at the Colburn School for inner city school children.
The Vianos work primarily with members of the Colburn School faculty, including Martin Beaver, Scott St. John, Clive Greensmith, Paul Coletti and Fabio Bidini. They have received coachings from artists such as David Finckel, Gary Hoffman, Arnold Steinhardt, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and members of the Alban Berg, Brentano, Emerson, Miró, Shanghai, St. Lawrence, and Takács String Quartets. They have attended the Ravinia Steans Chamber Music Institute, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, the Festival d’Aix en Provence, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the McGill International String Quartet Academy.
The name “Viano” was created to describe the four individual instruments in a string quartet interacting as one. Each of the four instruments begins with the letter “v”, and like a piano, all four string instruments together play both harmony and melody, creating a unified instrument called the “Viano”.