Sphinx Performance Academy (Catalyst Quartet, Gabriel Cabezas)

Faculty Recital | June 28, 2022 7:00 p.m.

Curtis is proud to partner with the Sphinx Organization in a collaborative model. The Sphinx Performance Academy is a full-scholarship intensive chamber music and solo performance program, with a focus on cultural diversity, for string musicians ages 11-17. The Academy seeks to recruit and engage students from cultural backgrounds that are underrepresented in the field of classical music.

Tickets are free and open to the public. View our COVID-19 policies here.

COLOMBI Ciaconna a basso solo

Gabriel Cabezas, cello

STILL Lyric Quartette

The Sentimental One
The Quiet One
The Jovial One

HAYDN Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 76, No. 4 (“Sunrise”)

Alegro con spirito
Minuetto: Allegro
Finale: Allegro ma non troppo

Catalyst Quartet:
Abi Fayette, violin
Karla Donehew-Perez, violin
Paul Laraia, viola
Karlos Rodriguez, cello

  • June 28, 2022
  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Curtis Institute of Music, Field Concert Hall


  • Cellist GABRIEL CABEZAS is a true 21st century musician. A prolific and sought-after soloist and collaborator, he is as comfortable interpreting new works as he is with the pillar scores of the cello repertoire. Gabriel has appeared with America’s finest symphony orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland and New York, and has premiered dozens of new works by some of the most brilliant composers of his time.

    He recently released Lost Coast, a dynamic album of original music composed by Gabriella Smith inspired by her reflections on climate change, which she has seen devastate her home state of California. The album was named one of NPR Music’s “Favorite Albums Of 2021” and a “Classical Album to Hear Right Now” by The New York Times.

    Gabriel will premiere Lost Coast, reimagined by the composer as a daring work for solo cello and orchestra, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in May 2023.

    Gabriel is a member of the acclaimed chamber sextet yMusic. Their virtuosic execution and unique configuration have attracted high profile collaborators—from Paul Simon to Bill T. Jones to Ben Folds—and inspired an expanding repertoire of original works by prominent composers including Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly and Andrew Norman.

    He is a co-founder of Duende, a new music and contemporary dance collective that focuses on the interaction between musicians and dancers in the realization of new scores. Gabriel has recorded extensively as a studio musician, appearing on releases by Phoebe Bridgers, John Legend, Rufus Wainright and Taylor Swift, among many others.

    In 2016, Gabriel received the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a career grant awarded to extraordinary classical Black and Latinx musicians, who, early in their professional career, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and ongoing commitment to leadership. Gabriel studied at the Curtis Institute of Music under Carter Brey.

  • Hailed by The New York Times at its Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished… playing with earthy vigor,” in 2020 the Grammy Award-winning CATALYST QUARTET celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its founding by the Sphinx Competition. The ensemble believes in the unity that can be achieved through music and imagine their programs and projects with this in mind, redefining and reimagining the classical music experience.

    Catalyst Quartet has toured widely throughout the United States and abroad, including sold-out performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., at Chicago’s Harris Theater, Miami’s New World Center, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Quartet has been guest artists with the Cincinnati Symphony, New Haven Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, and has served as principal players and featured ensemble with the Sphinx Virtuosi on six national tours. They have been invited to perform by prominent music festivals ranging from Mainly Mozart in San Diego, to the Sitka Music Festival and Juneau Jazz and Classics in Alaska, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival, where they appear annually. Catalyst Quartet was ensemble-in-residence at the Vail Dance Festival in 2016. In 2014, they opened the Festival del Sole in Napa, California with Joshua Bell and participated in England’s Aldeburgh Music Foundation String Quartet Residency with two performances in the Jubilee Hall.

    Recent seasons have brought international engagements in Russia, South Korea, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Puerto Rico, along with regular tours throughout the United States. Residents of New York City the ensemble has performed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, City Center, Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, The New School (for Schneider Concerts), and Lincoln Center. They played six concerts with jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant for Jazz at Lincoln Center. The subsequent recording won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
    Catalyst Quartet launched its own New York series CQ@Howl in 2018.
    Recent collaborations include Encuentros, a program with cellist Gabriel Cabezas with the premiere of a new work by Cuban composer Jorge Amado Molina; (im)igration, with the Imani Winds; and CQ Minute, 10 miniature string quartets commissioned for the quartet’s 10th anniversary, with works by Andy Akiho, Kishi Bashi, Billy Childs, Paquito D’Rivera, Tania Leon, Jessie Montgomery, Kevin Puts, Caroline Shaw, Joan Tower, and a to-be-named composer selected from a national call for scores, which premieres in 2022. UNCOVERED, a multi-CD series of recordings for Azica Records celebrating beautifully crafted works by composers overlooked and sidelined because of their race or gender. Volume 1, released to acclaim in February 2021 with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Stewart Goodyear, includes the string quartet and quintets of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Forthcoming releases will feature music of Florence Price, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, William Grant Still and George Walker, among others. In October 2021 San Francisco Performances opened their season with the first of a four-concert Uncovered series.

    Catalyst Quartet’s other recordings span the ensemble’s scope of interests and artistry. The Bach/Gould Project, features the Quartet’s arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations paired with Glenn Gould’s String Quartet Op. 1. Strum is the debut album of composer Jessie Montgomery, former Catalyst Quartet violinist. Bandaneon y cuerdas features tango-inspired music for string quartet and bandoneon by JP Jofre, and Dreams and Daggers is their GRAMMY-winning album with Cecile McLorin Salvant.

    Catalyst Quartet combines a serious commitment to diversity and education with a passion for contemporary works. The ensemble serves as principal faculty at the Sphinx Performance Academy at The Cleveland Institute of Music and Curtis Institute of Music. Catalyst Quartet’s ongoing residencies include interactive performance presentations and workshops with Native American student composers at the Grand Canyon Music Festival and the Sphinx Organization’s Overture program, which delivers access to music education in Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Past residencies have included concerts and masterclasses at the University of Michigan, University of Washington, Rice University, Houston’s Society for the Performing Arts, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, The Virginia Arts Festival, and Pennsylvania State University, the In Harmony Project in England, The University of South Africa, and The Teatro De Bellas Artes in Cali, Colombia. The ensemble’s residency in Havana, Cuba for the Cuban American Youth Orchestra in January 2019, was the first by an American string quartet since the revolution.

    Catalyst Quartet members hold degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, The Curtis Institute of Music, and New England Conservatory. Catalyst Quartet is a Sphinx ensemble and proudly endorses Pirastro strings.

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