The Ivalas Quartet, consisting of Reuben Kebede, Tiani Butts, Aimée McAnulty, and Pedro Sánchez, was founded in 2017 at the University of Michigan. They aim to celebrate BIPOC voices and disrupt the classical music industry by spotlighting BIPOC composers such as Eleanor Alberga and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The quartet has worked with various esteemed musicians and composers and has performed in numerous concert series, including the Crested Butte Music Festival and the WDAV Young Artist Chamber Music Competition. In addition to their musical endeavors, the quartet is dedicated to education and community engagement. They have presented educational programming with the Sphinx Organization and partnered with El Sistema Colorado. The quartet has received support from various organizations and individuals, including the Takács Society and the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Tiani Butts, violist Aimée McAnulty and cellist Pedro Sánchez, the Ivalas Quartet has been changing the face of classical music since their inception at the University of Michigan in 2017. Dedicated to the celebration of BIPOC voices, Ivalas seeks to disrupt the classical music world by continuously spotlighting BIPOC composers such as Jessie Montgomery, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Eleanor Alberga. The Ivalas Quartet had the pleasure of performing George Walker’s Lyric for Strings at Carnegie Hall in January of 2020. Later that year, they worked in collaboration with Walker’s son to program his String Quartet No. 1 with Friends of Chamber Music Denver and the Colorado Music Festival. In 2021, they created the first recording of Carlos Simon’s Warmth From Other Suns for string quartet under Lara Downes’ digital label Rising Sun Music.
The Ivalas Quartet spent 2019-2022 in residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder under the mentorship of the Takács Quartet. During the summer seasons, Ivalas has worked with the Ying Quartet at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in 2018 and the Pacifica Quartet, American Quartet, and Escher Quartet at the Aspen Music Festival in 2019. Ivalas has also spent the past 3 summers at the Great Lakes Music Festival working with the Emerson Quartet and had the opportunity to perform Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in concert with Eugene Drucker in 2019. The quartet has additionally been coached by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Calidore String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Peter Oundjian, Paul Katz, Ayano Ninomiya, Masumi Rostad, Kirsten Docter, Jeffrey Zeigler, Danielle Belen, Richard Aaron, Kathryn Votapek, and Mikhail Kopelman, and worked with composers Samuel Adler, Carlos Simon, and Missy Mazzoli.
Ivalas has performed in various concert series, including Detroit’s WRCJ Classical Brunch, the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend, the Crested Butte Music Festival, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts, and CU Presents concert series, where the quartet performed alongside the Takacs Quartet in 2020. Winners of the 2019 WDAV Young Artist Chamber Music Competition in Davidson, North Carolina, the Ivalas Quartet returned to perform in the Davidson College concert series in February of 2022. They also received the grand prize at the 2022 Coltman Music Competition in Austin, TX. In the spring of 2022, Ivalas had the opportunity to perform in Community Concerts at Second in Baltimore, MD. Their 2022 summer season includes residencies at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Madeline Island Chamber Music, and Music in the Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA.
The members of the Ivalas Quartet have a shared dedication to their roles as educators. Through the Sphinx Organization, Ivalas has presented educational programming in the Metro Detroit area, with an emphasis on community engagement in schools with Black and Latinx communities. In Colorado, they have developed a partnership with El Sistema Colorado and have been a part of the Aspen Music Festival Musical Connections program. The quartet has also been in residence at the University of Northern Iowa in early 2020, and more recently at the University of Central Arkansas in the fall of 2021.
Ivalas would like to extend a special thank you to the following organizations and individuals for their generous support of the quartet’s endeavors through travel funding and scholarships: The Takács Society, The University of Colorado – Boulder, The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Center Stage Strings, the Sphinx Organization, EXCEL, the Mandell Collection of Southern California, Maurice Binkow and Freyja Harris at the SMTD Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.