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News: Emory’s Vega String Quartet names rising star Elizabeth Fayette new first violinist

The new Vega Quartet lineup: (from left to right) Elizabeth Fayette, Jessica Shuang Wu, Yinzi Kong and Guang Wang.
The new Vega Quartet lineup: (from left to right) Elizabeth Fayette, Jessica Shuang Wu, Yinzi Kong and Guang Wang.

As it prepares to enter its 10th season in residence at Emory University, the Vega Quartet has announced that Elizabeth Fayette will join the group as their new first violinist.

Born into a family of musicians, all string players, Fayette is a graduate of the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School. At Curtis, she studied with Pamela Frank, Shmuel Ashkenasi and Arnold Steinhardt; at Juilliard School she was a student of Sylvia Rosenberg. This summer marks Fayette’s third season at the Marlboro Music Festival.

Fayette made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in October 2013 with the Juilliard Orchestra and conductor Alan Gilbert as winner of the Juilliard School’s Concerto Competition. More recently, Fayette performed with the Houston Symphony as a prizewinner in the Ima Hogg Competition. She was also a Second Prize winner in the 2013 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and was awarded the 2014 Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia Career Grant as well as the 2015 Juilliard/Tel Aviv Museum of Art Sanders Prize.

Elizabeth Fayette
Elizabeth Fayette

The New York Times has praised Fayette for her “alluring, lustrous sound and seasoned virtuosity” and for performing “with a chamber musician’s attention to the interplay of melodic lines and the expressive color of each harmony.” The Boston Globe described her rendering of the essential violin part of Stravinsky’s iconic L’histoire du Soldat as “incisive playing bristled with character.”

Fayette’s tenure with the Vega Quartet begins next month, with their first concerts together taking place in September: A noontime concert at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on Friday, September 16 and their first formal concert two days later at the Schwartz Center’s Emerson Concert Hall. The latter will be an all-Beethoven program featuring the composer’s String Quartet No. 7, Op. 59, No. 1, plus Fayette performing the Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2 with pianist Will Ransom.

Fayette is the fifth person to hold the position of first violinist with the Vega Quartet. The Quartet’s other three musicians, violinist Jessica Shuang Wu, violist Yinzi Kong and cellist Guang Wang, are all original Vega members.

The former first violinist of the Vega Quartet, Domenic Salerni, has moved back to his hometown of Philadelphia to become first violinist of the Dalí Quartet, a group particularly noted for its performances of music by Latin American composers. Salerni was a member of the Vega Quartet for four and a half years. In 2013 he was featured as one of ArtsATL’s 30 Under 30 artists.

In addition to his new position with the Dalí Quartet, Salerni will continue to perform as a part of the septet Foundry, an ensemble comprised of fellow Yale School of Music alumni that blurs the lines between musical genres through the synthesis of contemporary classical techniques, jazz, reggae, Caribbean and Soca.

Although the Vega Quartet is currently between the departure of Salerni and the imminent arrival of Fayette, the other members are not being idle. This weekend the Vega Quartet will perform two concerts with guest first violinist Helen Hwaya Kim at the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, in Highlands on Friday and in Cashiers on Saturday. They will share the stage with the Canterbury Quartet: violinists William and Alexandra Preucil, violist Sonja Braaten Molloy and cellist Martha Baldwin.

Once Fayette is in place in her new role with the Vegas, the two groups will perform together again on September 22 as part of the Wofford Chamber Music Series in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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