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The Callino Quartet :
The Callino Quartet is widely considered to be one of the finest young ensembles to have emerged in Europe in recent years. They were formed at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in 1999 where they immediately felt a deep musical affinity. Since then they have impressed audiences and critics both at home and abroad with their fresh and enthusiastic performances.
Based now in London, the Quartet has cultivated a wide ranging, diverse and challenging repertoire. They have performed and collaborated with many diverse musicians including the Belcea string quartet, double bassist Edgar Meyer, pianist Barry Douglas, singer Patricia Rozario, rock band Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre and jazz musicians John Abercrombie and Sophie Dunér. They are passionately committed to contemporary music and have worked with composers Edgar Meyer, Peteris Vasks, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Alexander Knaifel, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Ian Wilson, Raymond Deane, Ronan Guilfoyle and Kimmo Hakola closely on their works for string quartet. The quartet’s first commercially successful CD of the complete quartets by Ian Wilson was followed by a recent Louth Contemporary Music Society recording of music by Arvo Pärt, Valentin Silvestrov, John Tavener and Alexander Knaifel. They have also recorded Ben Dwyer’s guitar quintet with the composer which is shortly due for release.
Winners of several international prizes and distinctions, including second prize in the 2008 Tromp International String Quartet in the Netherlands, the development of the quartet has included studies in 2008 with Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet) at the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland. The quartet were also invited to Italy to work with the distinguished Hungarian composer and pedagogue Gyorgy Kurtàg.
In February 2010 they were a resident quartet at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and gave their Carnegie Hall début in March, at the invitation of the Kronos Quartet. They have recently commissioned a new quartet by Kevin Volans with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland and this will be premiered in 2012.
The Callino Quartet take their name from the Irish air ” Cailin cois tSuir a me” which means Girl by the River Suir. This song was the first Irish air to be notated in the late 16th century and became known as the Callino manuscript. It is now on display in Trinity College library, Dublin.
The Quartet is very grateful to John Whibley for his sponsorship and continued support.
Holidays with Music (www.whibley.co.uk)
Sarah Sexton studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Erich Gruenberg and Lydia Mordkovich, graduating with a Dip. RAM in 2002. Whilst a student, she was awarded many prizes and scholarships, including the Principal’s Prize for Violin Playing, the Beare’s Bow Award, the Boise Foundation Scholarship and the Heineken Ireland Violin Competition.
Sarah became the first Irish person to lead the European Union Youth Orchestra in 2001, when she led the orchestra under Sir Colin Davis and Paavo Jarvi in European tours. More recently, Sarah has been invited to perform as guest leader of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the RTE Concert Orchestra and Camerata Ireland.
Sarah regularly appears as soloist, most recently performing on RTE television playing Mozart’s 5th Violin Concerto with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland as part of their ‘Mozart Sessions’ series. She has enjoyed performing as soloist with many other orchestras including the RTE Concert Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, the Cork Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Cecelia and the London Irish Chamber Orchestra in concerts throughout Ireland, the U.K., Sweden and Denmark.
Sarah is a founder member and leader of the Callino Quartet, which was established at the 1999 West Cork Chamber Music Festival. Since then, a busy concert schedule has taken them to many countries including the U.K., Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, Hungary, Canada and the Netherlands. 2006 saw the exciting launch of their own annual festival called ‘Callino and Friends’ which is held every Easter in Bantry House in West Cork.
Sarah also enjoys playing baroque violin and performs regularly with The King’s Consort, The Sixteen and the Classical Opera Company. She has also performed as guest leader of the Sixteen and the Irish Baroque Orchestra.
She plays on a violin made by Nicolo Gagliano made in Naples in 1769 purchased with the generous help of the Arts Council of Ireland and Music Network.
Tom Hankey studied the violin with David Takeno, Krzyzstof Smietana, Levon Chilingirian and Yossi Zivoni. As a chamber musician he has performed at major concert halls and festivals in Europe and Canada, and won prizes including the 2006 Royal Over-Seas League ensemble prize. He was a BBC Radio Three New Generation Artist with the Aronowitz Ensemble.
He is a member of the Na Mara Ensemble which specializes in the repertoire for string trio and piano quartet. The group regularly tours in Scotland and often collaborates with violinist/fiddler Donald Grant in mixed programmes of classical and folk music. He is also a member of the Kreisler Ensemble and the Sounds Underground Ensemble, both of which are committed to the performance of contemporary music.
As a soloist he has performed concertos by Prokofiev, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi. Tom has worked with the Britten Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia, and as leader of Opera East, Iford Opera, and the Southbank Sinfonia.
Rebecca Jones completed her studies at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg in September 2005 where she was a pupil of Thomas Riebl. While a student there, she was invited to perform the Balcom concerto for viola and cello with the Universität Mozarteum Orchestra under Dennis Russell Davies. This performance, part of Salzburg’s ‘Mozartwoche’, was broadcast on Austrian national radio.
In addition, Rebecca has been successful in national and international competitions including 4th prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, 2nd prize in the Texaco Young Musician of Wales, the Bernard Shore Scholarship for viola (part of the Royal Overseas League Competition), the Trevor Snode Memorial Prize (from the Martin Musical Scholarship fund) and 2nd prize in the NYOS Staffa competition. She also received a ‘star award’ from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and plays with a Pfretzschner bow bought by the Myra Hess Trust.
As well as being a keen chamber musician, Rebecca has been a guest principal with many orchestras, including Camerata Salzburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Camerata Ireland.
Sarah McMahon began her cello studies with Nora Gilleece at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin in 1987. In 1995 she moved to London where she studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Strange, Jenny Ward-Clarke and Colin Carr, graduating in 2001 with a first class B Mus degree and a Dip RAM distinction.
Sarah is a passionate chamber musician and is a founder member of the Callino String Quartet. They have a busy performing schedule, touring widely throughout Europe, performing at numerous festivals and collaborating with diverse artists such as Barry Douglas, Belcea Quartet, Edgar Meyer, rock band Arcade Fire and John Abercrombie.
In addition to her commitments with the Quartet, Sarah is deeply committed to historical performance and is the principal cellist with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and a member of Camerata Kilkenny. She is also regularly invited to play as guest principal cellist with Arcangelo, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Aurora orchestra and the Academy of Ancient Music.
In August 2009 Sarah toured Ireland with the Irish Baroque Orchestra performing the Haydn C major concerto. She has also appeared as concerto soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and featured in a critically acclaimed disc for Hyperion of the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto with Jonathan Cohen and the Kings Consort.
Sarah McMahon gratefully acknowledges the support of The Arts Council and Music Network through the Music Capital Scheme 2009.