“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 to win the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. 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 Elgar to Radiohead and Visconti to Akiho, SYBARITE5’s eclectic repertoire and commanding performance style is turning heads throughout the music world: “…in a program of serial high points, there were too many to mention” (The Washington Post). The quintet’s debut album Disturb the Silence, was released in 2011 and quickly reached the top ten on the Billboard charts. The group’s follow-up album, Everything in its Right Place, was released in 2012 at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. SYBARITE5 recently completed its latest album, Outliers, featuring all new works from American composers. It will be available in the 2016-2017 season.
With their dynamic view on 21st-century entrepreneurial musicianship, the group will conduct residencies and workshops at major institutions and conservatories including the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory among others. SYBARITE5 will serve as the resident ensemble for the American Composers Forum National Competition in the fall of 2016 to be held at (le) poisson rouge in New York City.
Highlights of recent seasons have included performances in 41 states and counting, from the Library of Congress and St. Paul (MN)’s Schubert Club to Anchorage (AK) Concert Association and Sun Valley (ID) Center for the Arts as well as concerts in their home of New York City at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, National Sawdust, the Apple Store and an ongoing residency at the cell. In addition to their own groundbreaking, portable music festival Forward Festival, SYBARITE5 has appeared at Ravinia, Caramoor Center for the Arts, Wolf Trap Opera, Grand Teton Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Music in the Mountains, Chautauqua Music Festival, Green Lake Music Festival, Look and Listen Festival and many others. International appearances include Canada’s Tuckamore Music Festival, the New Docta International Music Festival in Cordoba, Argentina, and the Osaka International Competition and Festa. SYBARITE5 was the Classical Contemporary Artist selected for the prestigious 2015-2016 Mid Atlantic Arts Tour funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and was appointed to the New Music USA’s Impact Fund Cohort in 2016. The group was also awarded the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize from Concert Artists Guild.
In 2015 the quintet gave the shared world premiere of BEATBOX–the very first concerto for string quintet and orchestra–written by acclaimed American composer Dan Visconti. The commissioning orchestras included Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra (MN), South Carolina Philharmonic and the Midland Symphony (MI).
SYBARITE5 is deeply committed to education and outreach as well as performance. In addition to presenting masterclasses and workshops for over 25,000 students ages 5-25, they have worked closely with the composition departments of colleges and universities such as Luther College, Penn State, Samford University, New College (FL) and others to give students first-hand experience writing for string quintet in a popular program called “So You Think You Can Compose.”
SYBARITE5 got its start at the Aspen Music Festival and was the first string quintet admitted to the Aspen Advanced String Quartet Studies program; it later became the official AMFS alumni ensemble for four seasons.