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Press Release

Eric C. Sloss

For immediate release:
April 10, 2003

Carnegie Mellon's School of Music Presents The Starling String Quartet

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music created an honors string quartet to address the importance of chamber music in the educational development of young classical musicians. This quartet, the Starling String Quartet, will perform a free recital at 8 p.m. on April 15, 2003, in Kresge Recital Hall, in the College of Fine Arts building on the Carnegie Mellon campus. The quartet will perform works by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Dmitri Shostakovich and Maurice Ravel.

Founded in the fall of 2002, the quartet was created to address the influential and educational aspect of chamber music in music education programs. While chamber music playing has always been something that the best orchestral players and soloists sought out for their own pleasure and musical development, it is now central to the musician's career experience, both in the chamber music societies, sponsored by most leading orchestras, and in outreach programs.

Alan Fletcher, head of the School of Music, said, "This year's founding membership of the Starling Quartet has excelled in artistry, ensemble and outreach. Their performance of a Shostakovich piece for Mstislav Rostropovich was one of the highlights of the year for the School of Music. They have proven themselves highly effective ambassadors for the School of Music and their recital is sure to be a significant musical event for Pittsburgh music lovers."

Toby Appel, artist lecturer in viola, coaches the honors quartet. Appel has appeared in recital and concerto performances throughout North and South America, Europe and the Far East. He has been a member of such renowned ensembles as TASHI and the Lenox and Audubon Quartets. Appel currently teaches viola and chamber on the music faculties at the Juilliard School and Carnegie Mellon.

The quartet comprises the School of Music's elite students. Violinist Jan Fiser, originally from the Czech Republic, currently studies in the Artist Diploma program with Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Andrés Cárdenes, the Dorothy Richard Starling and Alexander C. Speyer Professor of Violin. Eunice Keem is a violin performance major studying with Cyrus Forough and is the recent winner of the 2002 School of Music Concerto Competition. Violist Virna Cornejo, a native of Mexico, studies with viola professor Appel. Nicole Myers, a cellist, studies with Pittsburgh Symphony principal cellist Anne Martindale Williams.

The Starling String Quartet was made possible by a gift from trustee Alexander Speyer Jr. and the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation.

The School of Music is one of five schools in Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into five schools, Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs. For more information on the Starling String Quartet contact 412-268-2372. For more information on the College of Fine Arts visit or contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765, by email


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