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Opus 1 Episodes

Episode 1: Once Upon a Time (July 14, 2020)
Summary: The Skyros Quartet discusses the role of narrative in music, creating storylines, characters, and colors. Featuring special guest: actor, singer, and educator Shaunyce Omar.
Worksheet: Character Map – Create characters in your music as you rehearse, and construct a narrative arc across each movement of your music.

Episode 2: One Pulse to Rule Them All (July 28, 2020)
Summary: The Skyros Quartet discusses musical pulse within a chamber ensemble, exploring how to find the heartbeat of a piece of music, start and stop, speed up and slow down as one. Featuring special guest: the percussion ensemble arx duo.
Worksheet: Counting Out Loud – Use counting techniques to create a unified sense of pulse, creating a solid foundation for the musical ideas you wish to express.

Episode 3: The Well-Tempered Quartet (August 4, 2020)
Summary: Well, just really how many ways are there to play equally in tune? The Skyros Quartet investigates different tuning systems and how to establish common pitch within a chamber ensemble. Featuring special guest: violist and professor John Largess of the Miró Quartet.
Worksheet: Ensemble Scales & Chorales – Use drone scales and chorale techniques to help your ensemble temper pitches and create perfect intervals in your rehearsals.

Episode 4: Let it Go: Centering for Performance (August 11, 2020)
Summary: Skyros Quartet violinist Sarah Pizzichemi guides a journey through centering for performance, discussing preparation, stage presence, and everyone’s favorite: nerves! Featuring special guest: violinist Hyeyung Yoon of the former Chiara String Quartet.
Worksheet: Centering – A seven-step guide channeling excess energy into a productive part of your performance. Practice these exercises to channel the energy that builds up before performing in a productive way.

Episode 5: May the Paycheck Be With You (August 18, 2020)
Summary: So you think you want to enter the music industry as a professional? The Skyros Quartet explores the variety of jobs available to music majors after university and how to create a sustainable career in music. Featuring special guest: concert violinist Augustin Hadelich.
Worksheet: Careers Within the Music Industry – View the many careers, jobs, and opportunities that are part of the music business.

Opus 2 Episodes

Episode 1: Got Folk?! (October 20, 2020)
Summary: The Skyros Quartet begins the second season of The Counterpoint Club with an exploration of the influence of folk music in chamber music composition and performance. Featuring special guest: contemporary Northwest Celtic band The Gothard Sisters
Worksheet: A Guide to Researching for a Concert Lecture – A step by step process for researching a pre-performance talk as a teaching-artist.

Episode 2: No Time to Practice (October 27, 2020)
Summary: The Skyros Quartet explores a topic that is universal to every musician: practice time and how to use it. Featuring special guest: viola professor and neuroscience researcher Dr. Molly Gebrian.
Worksheet: A Guide to The “Hourglass” Practice Technique – An outline for organizing a practice session.

Episode 3: Performing from the HIP (November 3, 2020)
Summary: Historically Informed Performance — or HIP –became a movement in Western classical music in the 1970s, and this has been changing the way many choose to perform early chamber music ever since. Featuring special guest: 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grantee, violinist Rachell Ellen Wong.
Worksheet: A Guide to Historically Informed Performance (HIP) – A guide to researching and understanding elements of HIP unmarked common practice.

Episode 4: How to Train Your String Quartet (November 10, 2020)
Summary: The Skyros Quartet investigates the innovations in how chamber music is taught and how an evolution in pedagogy was needed to elevate the genre to its current standards. Featuring special guests: violinist Annie Fullard of the Cavani String Quartet, and violist James Dunham of the former Cleveland String Quartet.
Worksheet: Three Useful Techniques for Rehearsing and Coaching Chamber Music Ensembles – These techniques, discussed in the interview with Annie Fullard, are designed to help your ensemble sound like a single organism.

Episode 5: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (November 17, 2020)
Summary: Skyros Quartet takes a look at the integral role of women in the development of the chamber music genre, and the continuation of women composing for chamber ensembles. Featuring special guest: composer Kaley Lane Eaton.
Worksheet: Incorporating Diversity into Your Musical Library and Repertoire – Four steps to bring more diversity into your music-making.

Opus 3 Episodes

Episode 1: The Plan (March 16, 2021)
Summary: The Skyros Quartet begins the third season of The Counterpoint Club with an episode about organization. In the history segment, Justin explores how famous string quartets got started. Next in technique, Brandon discusses a great organizational method called Scrum that creates maximum efficiency in team settings. Our special guest is cellist Gregory Beaver, who joins Sarah and Willie for a fantastic conversation about planning. Finally, we begin a new segment called Skyros Chats, a short discussion between members of the Skyros Quartet.

Episode 2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T (March 23, 2021)
Summary: In the second episode of Opus 3 of the The Counterpoint Club, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the Skyros Quartet explores how to work with your colleagues in a respectful and constructive manner. Sarah explores how Haydn wrote parts that were more equal in interest across all four voices in his Opus 20 string quartets. In the technique segment, Willie outlines strategies that will allow all members of an ensemble to feel respected and their ideas heard. This episode kicks off a three-part series of interviews with the members of the world-renowned Lafayette String Quartet, who are based in Canada and are in residence at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Our Skyros Chat in this episode features a conversation between Brandon and Willie.

Episode 3: Transfigured Night (April 6, 2021)
Summary: In the third episode of Opus 3, “Transfigured Night,” the Skyros Quartet dives into the ever-mutable subject of transitions. Sarah and Willie begin with a conversation about the complex emotional transformation depicted in Schoenberg’s famous “Transfigured Night” for string sextet. Next, Justin talks about some of the practical techniques Skyros uses to really iron out those transitions. This episode includes the second installment of our roundtable interview with the Lafayette String Quartet. The New “Skyros Chats” segment features a conversation with Sarah and Justin.

Episode 4: Let Them Eat Cake (April 13, 2021)
Summary: Finding the right balance between each individual voice in a chamber ensemble isn’t easy. In the history segment, Willie discusses the hierarchy of voices in an ensemble and how these roles changed and evolved across different eras. Justin explores a method to balance voices in rehearsal and performance, using the tasty analogy of a layer cake. Our guest interview features the third and final installment of our roundtable discussion with the Lafayette Quartet. And in the Skyros Chat, Willie and Sarah discuss their favorite books about classical music.

Episode 5: “Play It Like Chamber Music!” (April 20, 2021)
Summary: In the fifth episode of Opus 3 “Play It Like Chamber Music” the Skyros Quartet looks at how the chamber music and orchestra genres are intertwined. Brandon examines the historical links of the two traditions, starting with composers such as Lully. Next, Sarah explains how chamber music techniques are also effective orchestral techniques, including leading from every seat and purposeful listening to other sections. Our interview for this episode features Mr. Dennis Bourret, a wonderful and experienced educator, violinist and violist from Tucson Arizona. Our Skyros Chat to wrap up Opus 3 is between Sarah and Brandon.

ENCORE Interviews

Learn more from our Counterpoint Club guests by listening to these unabridged versions of our guest interviews! NOTE: Links to Encore interviews will be added on the indicated release dates.

Opus 1, Episode 1: Shaunyce Omar (July 14, 2020)
Summary: Sarah and Justin speak with actor Shaunyce Omar, discussing her role as an artist, ice breaker games for students, her greatest influences, and the parallels between acting and music.

Opus 1, Episode 2: arx duo (July 28, 2020)
Summary: Mari Yoshinaga and Garrett Arney of arx duo, a percussion ensemble, join Brandon and Willie for a conversation about musical pulse. We also discuss the arx duo’s music, recent performance highlights, and how they are keeping busy during lockdown.

Opus 1, Episode 3: John Largess (August 4, 2020)
Summary: John Largess, violist of the Miro Quartet explores intonation with Sarah and Justin. In addition to discussing tuning tips and techniques, John shares more about his extra-musical interests including musical history, books, and cooking.

Opus 1, Episode 4: Hyeyung Sol Yoon (August 11, 2020)
Summary: Violinist Hyeyng Sol Yoon, who was a member of the Chiara Quartet for 18 years, joins Sarah and Willie to discuss methods to bring chamber music closer to its audiences, the Korean music performance tradition of madang, and her work presenting the stories and music of Asian musicians in America. Along the way, she shares her personal advice on grounding and releasing energy while practicing and performing.

Opus 1, Episode 5: Augustin Hadelich (August 18, 2020)
Summary: Internationally renowned violinist Augustin Hadelich shares an engaging conversation with Sarah and Justin about the necessary skills beyond musical artistry to be a successful performer, how he is inspired, and his thoughts about social media and creative outlets in this time of pandemic restriction.

Opus 1, Episode 5: Alyssa Saint (September 8, 2020)
Summary: Willie speaks with violinist Alyssa Saint about the impact of her musical training on the development of her professional career. Now working in music conservatory admissions, Alyssa offers career advice to high school students who want to study music at the university level.

Opus 2, Episode 1: The Gothard Sisters (November 24, 2020)
Summary: Sarah and Brandon interview folk music ensemble, The Gothard Sisters. They discuss how the group evolved from classical violinists into a multi-instrumental Celtic band, exploring their biggest musical influences, how studying chamber music made them the musicians they are today, their new Patreon, and more.

Opus 2, Episode 2: Dr. Molly Gebrian (December 1, 2020)
Summary: Justin and Sarah interview Dr. Molly Gebrian, assistant professor of viola at the University of Arizona. Dr. Gebrian discusses her ensemble, Trios for Two, and dives into the subject of neuroscience, exploring how musicians can apply some of this knowledge to practice more efficiently and effectively.

Opus 2, Episode 3: Rachell Ellen Wong (December 8, 2020)
Summary: Brandon and Sarah interview Rachell Ellen Wong, violinist and recipient of a prestigious 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant (the first baroque recipient). Rachell shares the story of how she became a HIP artist, some of her personal hobbies, and her insights into sports psychology and its relationship to music.

Opus 2, Episode 4: James Dunham (December 29, 2020)
Summary: James Dunham, viola professor at Rice University and member of the former Cleveland and Sequoia Quartets, discusses chamber music pedagogy with Justin and Willie. James offers his observations on the evolution of chamber music teaching methods, and advice to students who are interested in pursuing careers as full-time chamber musicians.

Opus 2, Episode 4: Annie Fullard (December 15, 2020)
Summary: Justin and Brandon interview Annie Fullard, violinist, professor, and member of the Cavani String Quartet. Annie talks about chamber music technique, compatibility in chamber ensembles, her new book about chamber music, and how she has been spending time during COVID-19.

Opus 2, Episode 5: Kaley Lane Eaton (December 22, 2020)
Summary: Sarah interviews Kaley Lane Eaton, interim professor of composition at Cornish School of the Arts. Kaley talks about her path to becoming a composer, and how identifying as a woman has affected her journey along the way. Kaley also discusses her use of electronics in music, her experience as a teaching artist and mentor, and her opinions on music and social action.