“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. Comprised of Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violins; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass, Sybarite5 has taken audiences worldwide by storm, 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. Spanning from Mozart to Radiohead and Visconti to Akiho, Sybarite5’s eclectic repertoire and commanding performance style is turning heads throughout the music world: the quintet’s debut EP Disturb the Silence, featuring music by Radiohead and Piazzolla, plus original works written for Sybarite5, was released in 2011 and quickly reached the top ten on the Billboard charts. Their follow-up album Everything In Its Right Place was released at Carnegie Hall in 2012.
Career performance highlights include Sybarite5’s Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall, Library of Congress, Wolf Trap, and Washington Performing Arts Society in DC, Caramoor Center, Grand Tetons Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Celebrity Series of Boston, New Docta International Music Festival in Argentina, Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Tuckamore Festival in Newfoundland, Canada, UC San Diego ArtPower, Cliburn Concerts in Texas, Indiana State University Lively Arts and Weis Center at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, University of Arizona, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Fairbanks and Anchorage Concert Associations in Alaska, and in New York at Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center, Tishman Auditorium, SubCulture, Galapagos Artspace, Mannes School of Music, 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. In spring 2015, the quintet gave the world premiere of BEATBOX, the very first concerto for string quintet and orchestra, written by acclaimed American composer Dan Visconti with a consortium of orchestras including the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Midland Symphony.
Formed at the Aspen Music Festival, Sybarite5 was the first string quintet admitted to the Aspen Advanced String Quartet Studies program in 2008. From 2009-2013 the ensemble continued its tenure at the Aspen Music Festival in a new capacity as the AMFS Alumni Ensemble. Most recently, Sybarite5 received an award from the American Composers Forum to commission three composers to write new works that will tour in 2016-2017. Sybarite5 was also awarded the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize, and has received commissioning awards from BMI, Chamber Music America, Concert Artists Guild and the Look & Listen Festival. The ensemble is now based in New York City and maintains a residency at the cell theatre.