Christina Bouey, Violin
Rhiannon Banerdt, Violin
Colin Brookes, Viola
Grace Ho, Cello
The Ulysses String Quartet has been praised for their “textural versatility,” “grave beauty” and “the kind of chemistry many quartets long for, but rarely achieve” (The Strad), as well as their “avid enthusiasm ... [with] chops to back up their passion” (San Diego Story), “delivered with a blend of exuberance and polished artistry” (The Buffalo News).
Founded in the summer of 2015, the group won the grand prize and gold medal in the senior string division of the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and first prize in the 2018 Schoenfeld International String Competition. Ulysses garnered a career development grant in the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. In 2017, the quartet finished first in the American Prize and won second prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. They were winners of the Vietnam International Music Competition in 2019. From 2016 to 2019, Ulysses was in residence at the Louis Moreau Institute in New Orleans, working with composer Morris Rosenzweig.
In fall 2019, the Ulysses Quartet were named as Lisa Arnhold Fellows of the Juilliard School, an appointment that has been extended through May 2022.
Consisting of Christina Bouey and Rhiannon Banerdt on violin, Colin Brookes on viola and Grace Ho on cello, the quartet’s members hail from Canada, the United States and Taiwan. They have performed in such prestigious halls as the Harbin Grand Theatre, Jordan Hall and the Taiwan National Recital Hall. Recent performance highlights have included their debut at Alice Tully Hall and appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Naumburg Orchestral Concerts. Other notable engagements have included the Buffalo Chamber Music Society; Cecilia Concerts (Halifax); South Orange Performing Arts Center (New Jersey); Sprague Hall at Yale University; Mostly Music (New Jersey); Rhode Island Chamber Music Concerts; Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania); Premiere Performances Hong Kong; National Arts Centre (Ottawa); Bargemusic; Eastman School of Music; and Vietnam Connection Music Festival.
The members of Ulysses are committed to their role as performers and educators in their communities and feel blessed to be able to bring joy to the public through their work during this difficult time. With this mission in mind, the quartet is planning a season that consists of virtual live performances and socially distanced concerts where and when safety concerns allow.
Ulysses has recently completed work on their debut album, to be released later this year, and four more albums are forthcoming in the near future, including collaborations with flutist Ransom Wilson and guitarist Ben Verdery, as well as albums of quartet works. As a special project, the group will record the quartets of composer Joseph Summer at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, over the next several years.
The group’s name pays homage to Homer’s hero Odysseus and his 10-year voyage home. Additionally, the quartet’s members live in close proximity to the resting place of former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant in Upper Manhattan. The Ulysses String Quartet believes intensely in the power of music to inspire, enlighten and bring people together. The quartet is committed to sharing this passion by increasing access to and appreciation for classical music while enhancing audience engagement. To this end, the quartet offers interactive programs and workshops for all ages that serve to demystify the traditional repertoire while introducing audiences to exciting new works. Their programs frequently enable participants to learn about the inner workings of a string quartet and to explore the connections between classical music and our world today.
The members of Ulysses hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory and Yale University. The musicians perform on instruments and bows graciously on loan from the Juilliard School, the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank and the Maestro Foundation. Ulysses is grateful for the support of Shar Music and Connolly Music.