Music Makers

String musicians playing at the I/O festival at the Clark.

Photo by Keith Forman

At the Williams College Department of Music’s I/O fest in January, the student group Axxea String Quartet performed a suite by Sato Matsui ’14 as well as a new piece by composer and visual artist Tristan Perich. Violinist Jeffrey Pearson ’20 says it was “a rare and exciting experience to work with living composers and perform new music.”

Founded two years ago, the group maintains a busy performance schedule, including an annual full-length spring concert, and a standard repertoire of Mozart, Brahms and Bartók. But the members agree there’s something special about playing new compositions. “We really enjoy the challenges that seizing such opportunities presents,” says cellist Caroline Tally ’21.

Last winter they performed the work of local composer Stephen Dankner at Sweetwood retirement community. And in April they joined pianist and Williams artist-in-residence Doris Stevenson at Bargemusic in Brooklyn for a piano quintet by Williams music professor Zachary Wadsworth.
Each member has been playing since childhood and came to Williams with an interest in performance. Tally says the group gels, in part, because they “all share a level of intensity about music and an interest in seeking new challenges.”