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Life & Work with Edgewood String Quartet

Today we’d like to introduce you to Edgewood String Quartet.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
We are the Edgewood String Quartet: Alice Hong, violin, Josiah Coe, viola, Joyce Yang, cello and me, Adelaide Federici, violin.

We started playing together in September, 2020 for Fever’s Candlelight series that had just opened in Atlanta. At that point, none of us had played a live concert in over six months. Needless to say, we were thrilled. We were happy to have an audience and our audience was happy to be out in the community sharing the experience. Since then, we have played hundreds of shows as a quartet and performed not just classical music but also pop, jazz, anime, rock, and more.

Through these performances, we have had the opportunity to become closer with our audience in a way that was never possible when we were playing in a larger ensemble. We are closer physically but we also talk to our audience during performances helping them find little elements to listen for in each piece like a sommelier or chef might point out flavors to taste for. We have been studying music for so long but not everyone has that background. By giving just a little context to the works we play, the music becomes so much more accessible.

We have also met so many wonderful people who come and talk with us after our performances. There have been couples who came to one of our shows on a date and we later played at their weddings! Many audience members are new parents and are enjoying their first night out alone. We have met people in many different industries who we have gone on to collaborate with on different projects. And, sadly, we’ve lost some dear fans who came to spend their final days being supported by music. It made us truly realize how impactful music can be in supporting all of us through life’s ups and downs. As much as we try to give to our audiences every performance, we also learn so much from them and are incredibly grateful to every person who comes to hear us.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Focus can sometimes be a challenge because we have lots of fun ideas we’re really antsy to share. We want to do everything right now so it’s hard to pick our priority. Funding our ideas can also be difficult but we’ve had the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many different people which has been extraordinarily helpful. We’re currently working on recording an album of original covers arranged by Alice and Josiah including artists like Lizzo, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Outkast, and more! We’ve started a kickstarter to fund this recording project and it’s been awesome to see how many people are excited to be partnering with us on our first recording project.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As we have found our own distinct voice, we have dedicated ourselves to breaking down the wall between performers and audience, and classical and non-classical music. Lately, we have been curating immersive, accessible, and unique concert experiences in collaboration with artists of other mediums and fields, providing concert experiences where the audience can enjoy themselves without worrying about “rules” while being transported through the music and atmosphere. Most recently, we did a performance inside of the “Imagine Picasso” exhibit at Pullman Yard where we played music inspired by the life of the artist. We played Spanish dances from his childhood, music by his friends like Poulenc, Milhaud, Satie, and Stravinsky, music he enjoyed at the Parisian clubs like Germaine Montero, and music inspired by Picasso like Miles Davis, David Bowie, Astor Piazzolla, and The Clash.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
I used to play a chamber music program for elementary school kids called “Chamber Music Means Teamwork” and this is so true for a successful quartet. We have to work together to prepare music that is technically proficient and emotionally meaningful. On top of that, we have to work together to decide the artistic and business trajectory of our group. So kindness, grace, brains, creativity, patience, tenacity, compassion and musicianship all need to be a part of our ensemble.

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Image Credits
Rachel McGiboney Joyce Yang Antonenko Brandon Harding

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