"Not your grandparents' chamber music" (Observer): Sybarite5 performs music by Radiohead, Piazzolla, Mozart and Brubeck

Washington D.C., January 4, 2014, (Washington Bangla Radio): The first string quintet to be selected (in 2011) in its 60 year history as winners of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, New York-based SYBARITE5 embraces the plurality of creative expression ranging from Mozart to Radiohead, and juxtapositions of Dvořak with Led Zeppelin. In doing so, they offer audiences a chance to hear familiar music in a new way — whether rock music arranged for string quartet, or well-known music of one era nestled alongside influential work and artists from a more contemporary era and sound world. On February 8 they will perform the D.C. premiere of a string quintet version of Yann's Flight by Shawn Conley, in a program titled Everything In Its Right Place; a cohesive showcase of Sybarite5’s playlist, including music by Radiohead, Piazzolla, Mozart and Brubeck, as well as new compositions by Eric Byers, Piotr Szewczyk and Dan Visconti. The complete program will be announced from the stage. Said the Washington Post of a performance here, "SYBARITE5 excelled at the exquisite…[they played] with relish, a sense of comfort, and a frisson of missionary zeal."

SYBARITE5’s musicians–violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett, cellist Laura Metcalf, and bassist Louis Levitt–released their first CD, Everything in its Right Place,at their Carnegie Hall debut in November 2012. Featuring a collection of ten Radiohead covers arranged by Maryland-based composer-arranger Paul Sanho Kim, the CD reflects the ensemble’s deep affinity for what they call “the sonic universe of the band,” the CD realizes Radiohead lead vocalist, principal songwriter, guitarist and pianist Thom Yorke’s spirit, creativity and edge on acoustic string instruments. The set has been a crowd pleaser at venues like the Manhattan Apple Store, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center.  They can also be heard performing some of their eclectic repertoire on their five-track EP disc, Disturb the Silence, featuring music by Radiohead and Piazzolla, plus two original works written for the quintet. The EP made its debut at number elevenon Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart.

SYBARITE5 has “set out on a mission to be the first string quintet to tour all 50 states,” says the group’s bass player Louis Levitt. Traveling to Alaska in early 2014, they already have 40 states under their belts. Next May in Sarasota, Florida, they will present the inaugural Forward Festival, the first portable Chamber Music Festival, which Levitt describes as “Musicians from Marlboro meets Lollapalooza.” The festival will feature collaborations with local artists and Metropolitan Opera singer Blythe Gaissert. Through its Alternative Venues Initiative, the quintet has also performed at such diverse locations as Galapagos Artspace, the Museum of Sex, the Core Club, the Cutting Room, and the Cell Theatre, a not-for-profit collective for artists to incubate and present new work in New York, where it is resident. The group has also performed on the CBS Early Show and for his Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The 2013-14 season sees the premiere of a concerto for string quintet and orchestra by American composer Dan Visconti, whose compositions have been honored with numerous prizes, including the Rome Prize and Berlin Prize fellowships, the Bearns Prize from Columbia University as well as a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship.


Originally formed at the Aspen Music Festival, SYBARITE5 was the first string quintet admitted to the Aspen Advanced String Quartet Studies program, where they worked with Earl Carlyss of the Juilliard Quartet, bassist Edgar Meyer, and the Cavani, American and Ying Quartets. They continue their tenure at the Aspen Music Festival as the AMFS Alumni Ensemble.