The Cabaret Series takes place in the intimate Black Box Theater space which seats up to 130 people. The series includes evening and matinee shows featuring jazz, string groups, flamenco, comedy, jazz, vocalists, Broadway show tunes and soulful singers. The lounge setting has table seating, food, drinks and a relaxed atmosphere.
“Their rock star status…is well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixes the audience...” That is how The Sarasota Herald Tribune described Sybarite5, the first string quintet ever selected as a winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in its 60 year history. Comprised of Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violins; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass, Sybarite5 has taken audiences by storm all across the US, forever changing the perception of chamber music performance. From the moment their bows hit the strings, this quintet of talented, diverse musicians takes the audience on an exciting ride that engages the senses and redefines the rules.
From Mozart to Radiohead, Sybarite5’s eclectic repertoire and dynamic performance style is turning heads throughout the music world: “[Sybarite5] excelled at the exquisite...[playing] with relish, a sense of comfort, and a frisson of missionary zeal” (The Washington Post). The Quintet’s debut EP disc Disturb the Silence, featuring music by Radiohead and Piazzolla, plus two original works written for Sybarite5, was released in spring 2011 and quickly reached the top ten on the Billboard charts. The group’s follow-up CD, Everything in its Right Place, is a continuation of the Radiohead Remixed Project and was released in November 2012 on the CAG Records label.
The group visits sixteen states and the US Virgin Islands during the 2013-14 season, with featured performances for the Washington Performing Arts Society (DC); Strings in the Mountains Festival (CO), including a collaboration with Daniel Bernard Roumain; UTC Fine Arts Center (TN); South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (FL); Fairbanks Concert Association (AK); Indiana State University Lively Arts and Weis Center at Bucknell University (PA), University of Dayton and Ohio University (OH); University of Wyoming Cultural Arts (WY); Johns Hopkins University (MD), as well as Sybarute5’s own New York series at the cell theatre. Fall 2013 also includes a week-long educational residency with Quad City Arts (IL), culminating in a concert co-presented by the Quad City Symphony (IA).
Recent performance highlights include Sybarite5’s Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall on the CAG series, Library of Congress, Aspen Music Festival, UC San Diego, University of Arizona, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, University of Nevada/Reno, Chautauqua Institution, Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, and in New York at Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center, Tishman Auditorium and Bohemian National Hall. The Quintet has also performed at such diverse NYC locations as Galapagos Artspace, the Apple Store, the Museum of Sex, the Core Club and the Cutting Room. The group has also performed on the CBS Early Show and for his Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Ongoing programs include the Radiohead Remixed Project, The Shuffle Effect and New Music IDOL (featuring a series of short newly-commissioned works by student composers, in collaboration with University composition departments). Also at the 2011 CAG Competition, Sybarite5 was awarded the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize, which was used to commission new pieces for Radiohead Remixed and to produce the CD, Everything in its Right Place. In spring 2015, the Quintet looks forward to premiering the world’s first concerto for string quintet and orchestra by the acclaimed American composer Dan Visconti.
Formed at the Aspen Music Festival, Sybarite5 was the first string quintet admitted to the Aspen Advanced String Quartet Studies program, where the group worked with Earl Carlyss of the Juilliard Quartet, bassist Edgar Meyer and the Cavani, American and Ying Quartets. Currently the ensemble continues its tenure at the Aspen Music Festival in a new capacity as the AMFS Alumni Ensemble.