ELLSWORTH — A sprightly string quartet, whose members draw from rich experiences performing across the nation and abroad, will perform online at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, through the Ellsworth Community Music Institute (ECMI). The musicians’ program will range widely from Beethoven to Jamaican reggae musician and songwriter Bob Marley. Admission is free.
Violinist and ECMI teacher Luke Fatora, violist Colin Wheatley and violinists Josie Davis and Sophie Davis make up the Quartet of Strings that will perform as part of ECMI’s Virtual Midday Concerts series. The concert is funded in part by the Onion Foundation. The public may access the pre-recorded concert at 1 p.m. via Facebook, ECMI’s website or by a link sent by email.
For 15 years, Wheatley has taught violin and viola to students of all ages. He currently is the orchestra director for the Waterville Public Schools. He previously taught at East Lyme Middle School in Connecticut and the Rhode Island Philharmonic School. From Bellingham, Wash., he earned his Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance at Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Peter Slowik. He received his Master of Music degree in viola performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he was a student of Atar Arad, and his graduate degree in teaching from Oberlin Conservatory. An avid chamber musician, he plays with Halcyon String Quartet and has performed for members of the Emerson, Pacifica, Cleveland, Concord and Takas quartets and for Yo Yo Ma. He has collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Robert Spano, Menahem Pressler and Jeremy Denk. When not performing and teaching, he enjoys spending time outdoors, running marathons, beekeeping, cooking and traveling.
Josie Davis received her undergraduate degrees in violin and sociology at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she was a student of David Bowlin, and her Master of Education (Ed.M) degree from Harvard University. She has performed in a wide range of venues from Carnegie Hall to the Monte Music Festival in India and has appeared with her sister Sophie Davis on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” program. She actively explores ways to share classical music in new contexts and has performed with Emanuel Ax in a taco shop, played solo Bach for Chris Thile and is currently a member of Halcyon String Quartet and Palaver Strings. Her teaching has brought her to Panama, India and Community MusicWorks in Rhode Island, where she completed a two-year fellowship. In past summers, she has studied at the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, Bowdoin International Music Festival and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. As a violinist, educator and arts administrator, she is interested in how the arts can be used as a form of cultural empowerment to build bridges and strengthen communities.
Hailing from Colorado, Fatora was drawn to the violin after hearing fiddle music in the hills of Appalachia. He has performed in different contexts from fiddling for square dances, improvising with dancers and DJs, and performing contemporary and traditional classical music in the World Financial Center and Carnegie Hall. Also having pursued an interest in conducting, he served as the music director for the Summit Community Orchestra between completing a Bachelor of Music at the Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He served as a 2017-2019 Musician Fellow at Community MusicWorks in Providence, R.I., where he taught individuals and coached ensembles while also performing chamber music in experimental and traditional concert series.
From Maine, Sophie Davis studied violin with Janet Ciano and Gilda Joffe. She later received degrees in violin performance and environmental studies from Oberlin College and Conservatory. Playing and sharing music are integral to Sophie’s creative and professional practice. She has participated in the Perlman Chamber Music Workshop, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Program, as a soloist with Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble and with her sister on NPR’s “From the Top.” She has performed at the Kennedy Center, Chicago’s Symphony Hall, the Monte Music Festival in India, and with the Jordan National Orchestra (JOrchestra) in Amman, Jordan. In 2017, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to spend nine months in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, where she explored the ways in which the arts can raise awareness of climate change. In addition to pursuing research, Sophie taught and performed with the National Orchestra of Samoa. Sophie collaborates with musicians throughout New England where she frequently performs with Palaver Strings and Halcyon.
ECMI’s other upcoming virtual concerts will include cellist and pianist Noreen and Phillip Silver at 1 p.m. March 8 and pianist John Blacklow at 1 p.m. on April 12. For more information, call 664-9258 or email [email protected]