Jun 21, 2016 10:06 PM EDT | Philip Trapp
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has announced two new additions to their ensemble. On Tuesday, SPCO principal violin and artistic director, Kyu-Young Kim, made known that violist Sifei Cheng and violinist Maureen Nelson will join the group.
"Besides playing terrific auditions to win the unanimous votes of their respective audition committees," Kim said in a news release, "(they) played numerous trial weeks as guests spanning a broad range of SPCO repertoire, and we knew the musical chemistry with these players was just right and that their personal qualities would add greatly to the ensemble."
Nelson comes to the SPCO from New York's Ensō String Quartet, forming the group in 1999. Ensō is an award-winning ensemble who previously captured prizes at both the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2004.
Nelson's replacement as first violin for Ensō String Quartet will be Yura Lee, who has previously performed as a soloist with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Lee spoke enthusiastically of her promotion:
"I am so excited to be joining the Ensō Quartet," said Lee. "String quartet repertoire is some of the most emotionally moving, and most satisfying music to play and hear. I feel very lucky that I get to spend time with, and explore this music with the Ensō Quartet. They are some of the most amazing musicians and people that I have been fortunate enough to know; each of them is unique and awe-inspiring."
Cheng, a Taiwanese national raised in California, has been with the Minnesota Orchestra since 1995. The musician has also moonlighted as a performer with the Charleston Symphony and Pacific Music Festival Orchestra. Cheng previously performed as an SPCO substitute player.
Below, watch SPCO perform the Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra in D minor, written by 19th century Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn at just 13.
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