A conversation with the legendary Garth Newel Piano Quartet at Garth Newel Music Center

Jul 1, 2017

Credit Garth Newel Music Center

Garth Newel Music Center, situated in the Allegheny Mountains in Bath County, Virginia, is less than 3.5 hours from Washington D.C., but it’s a world away. Founded in 1973 Garth Newel is home to one of America’s premier chamber quartets. Join the conversation with violinist Teresa Ling, Evelyn Grau (viola), Isaac Melamed (Cello), and Jeanette Fang (piano).

Garth Newel Music Center has been presenting world-class chamber music performances since its founding in 1973 by Luca and Arlene di Cecco. 

The Garth Newel Piano Quartet is known for their spirited and impassioned performances that offer an enlivened interpretation of both standard and new repertoire. 

As artists-in-residence at Garth Newel Music Center, one of the premiere and most active chamber music organizations in the United States, they program and perform over 50 concerts each year, engaging with audiences through conversational and interactive programs.

An active presence on the national and international stage, the Garth Newel Piano Quartet has performed throughout the United States and on five continents, at such prominent venues as Carnegie Hall, Strathmore Hall, The Chautauqua Institution, and the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop.  

The Garth Newel Piano Quartet believes strongly in promoting creativity of today, and holds an annual competition for rising composers aimed at bolstering the piano quartet genre. 

They have commissioned prominent composers such as Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Moravec, and regularly premiere works of their contemporaries.

The Garth Newel Piano Quartet maintains a strong dedication to education and to nurturing the next generation of chamber musicians. 

They serve as faculty and directors for the Emerging Artist Fellowship Program, which gives talented college-age musicians an opportunity to study and perform chamber music under the guidance of the Quartet and world-renowned guest musicians. 

Other prominent programs include an annual Amateur Retreat weekend and an ongoing partnership with the Appomattox Regional Governor's School for the Arts and Technology. 

Additionally, the Quartet has given master classes at Universities and Conservatories throughout the world.  

Teresa Ling
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Teresa Ling, violin, has performed at Garth Newel Music Center since 1998 and serves as resident violinist and Co-Artistic Director.  

She has served on the faculties of the Washington Conservatory, University of the Pacific, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of South Dakota, and Augustana (South Dakota), Northwestern (Iowa) and Dordt Colleges, and has been a member of the Dakota String Quartet, Mariposa Piano Trio, and the Aurelian Trio.  

Additionally, she has performed and taught at the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival (Italy), the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop, and the Las Vegas Music Festival.  Her awards and prizes include an Artist Fellowship from the South Dakota Arts Council, the Winnifred Small Solo Prize in London, and a Rotary Fellowship resulting in an Advanced Diploma from London's Royal Academy of Music.  

She has a Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and a Master's degree in Performance from Eastman School of Music.  Her teachers have included Paul Kantor, Donald Weilerstein, and Carmel Kaine.

Evelyn Grau
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Evelyn Grau, viola, has been violist with the Garth Newel Music Center since 1983, initially as a visiting guest artist and now as a full-time resident musician and Co-Artistic Director.  

She has served on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Western Michigan University, and has participated in such festivals as Tanglewood, Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, Italy; and the American Institute, Graz, Austria.  

An active performer of chamber music, Evelyn has performed worldwide as a member of the Garth Newel Chamber Players, the Atlanta Virtuosi, the Colden String Quartet, and the Alexander String Trio.  

Evelyn holds a Master of Music degree from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts from Peabody College at Vanderbilt, with further studies at the University of Michigan and Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy.  

Her teachers have included Raphael Hillyer, Bruno Giuranna, Jean Dane, Paul Makanowitzky, and Russell Gerhart.

Jeanette Fang
Credit Garth Newel Music Center

Jeanette Fang is an imaginative and expressive pianist whose dynamic performances have attracted the attention of both professionals as well as the concert going public. 

She has been featured at such prestigious venues as Alice Tully Hall, John F. Kennedy Center, and Zankel Hall, as well as appearing on stages in Europe and Asia.  

Her past awards include Gold Medal of the Seattle International Piano Competition, the Earl V. Moore Award and Gottlieb Award from the University of Michigan, and the Elizabeth J. Parisot award from Yale School of Music. 

She is the winner of Juilliard’s Karlfried Nordman Scholarship Competition and has been awarded top prizes in the Dallas Chamber Symphony International Piano Competition and MTNA Young Artist National Competition.

She has soloed with numerous orchestras including University of Michigan’s Symphony Band, New Jersey Philharmonic, Battleground Symphony, and St. Mary’s Chamber Orchestra, where she was Artist-in-Residence.  Jeannette is a founding member of the new music group Khemia Ensemble. 

As a chamber musician, she was a young artist at the Taos Music Festival, and a three time participant of the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival. 

She received her DMA from the University of Michigan, and holds degrees from Juilliard and Yale. 

Her principal teachers have been Robert Mcdonald, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Julian Martin, Peter Frankl, and Logan Skelton.

Isaac Melamed
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Isaac Melamed's musical endeavors connect him to some of the greatest musicians and artists of our time.  As a member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Isaac has toured nationally to critical acclaim under music director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

Since joining the Garth Newel Piano Quartet in 2014, Isaac and the quartet have performed throughout Croatia, at the Chautauqua institution, and around much of Virginia and West Virginia.  

A San Francisco native, Isaac studied with Grammy Award-winning cellist Antonio Lysy in Los Angeles, where he enjoyed solo engagements with the UCLA Philharmonia and Symphony Orchestras, and the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra.  

While studying in Manhattan with Alan Stepansky and David Geber, Isaac participated in Manhattan School of Music’s prestigious Orchestral Performance program, including multiple performances in Carnegie Hall.  

In Amsterdam for a semester, Isaac studied under Dmitri Ferschtman and Daniel Esser of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, while performing in masterclasses for Steven Isserlis and Miklós Perényi.   

Isaac currently lives in Bath County, Virginia with his wife Ting-Ting and their cuddly cat, Milo.

Shawn Puller (left) with Garth Newel Music Center founder Lucca di Cecco
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Shawn Puller, Executive Director comes to Garth Newel with extensive experience as a performing artist and as university faculty at Albany State University, Ithaca College and State University of New York: Cortland. Puller spent several years as the assistant director and artist faculty for the Heifetz International Summer Music Institute in Wolfeboro, N.H.  Puller holds a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in post-secondary applied voice teaching from Florida State University and a master of music from Ithaca College. Puller also serves as a member of the board for both the Bath County Arts Association and Bath County Chamber of Commerce.

Arlene di Cecco, co-founder Garth Newel Music Center
Credit Thomas Wilmer
The setting is enchanting at Garth Newel Music Center
Credit Thomas Wilmer
Fans gather for live performance at Garth Newel Music Center
Credit Thomas Wilmer
Manor house at Garth Newel Music Center with nine guest suites
Credit Thomas Wilmer
Allegheny Mountain vistas from Garth Newel Music Center in Bath County Virginia
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Sunset at Garth Newel Music Center
Credit Thomas Wilmer
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