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Breshears Quartet: From SFCM to the World's Stages

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Pre-College students Dustin, Valery, Colin, and Starla Breshears picked up a silver medal in the Junior Strings division at the 51st Annual Fischoff Competition in May.

June 13, 2024 by Alex Heigl

Taking second place in a 51-year-old international chamber music competition is a pretty outstanding way to start the summer, but for the Breshears Quartet, it's par for the course.

The family ensemble, composed of Dustin, 17 (violin), Valery, 15 (violin), Colin, 12 (viola), and Starla, 16 (cello) picked up the Silver Medal in the junior strings division at the Fischoff Competition in May, run by the The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association. All four Breshears siblings study at SFCM in the Conservatory's Pre-College division, and have been involved with the program since 2015.

"We were working on these pieces since the beginning of the school year," Starla explains. "I think the ones we chose are some of our favorites in the entire quartet repertoire," Valery adds.

When the Quartet told the Pre-College department they'd been accepted into Fischoff, the Conservatory's Chair of String and Piano Chamber Music, Dimitri Murrath, stepped in to coach them, with assistance from violin faculty Wonhee Bae. "It was good to get a different perspective on the pieces," Starla says. "Dimitri really helped us to find a more natural flow with the Brahms."

Despite the high stakes of the competition, the Breshears were able to relax and mingle at Fischoff. "All of us play chess," Starla says, "especially Valery, so we played a lot of chess with the other competitors."

Meanwhile, a chance meeting with another cellist at Fischoff led Starla to a new private teacher: Richard Aaron, who joined the Conservatory last year and has been accepting students for Fall 2024.

After some summer intensives, the Quartet will be headed to Italy to study at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana's Summer 2024 Academy. After that, who knows where their talents will take them next?

Learn more about SFCM's Pre-College division.