The Afiara Quartet, an ensemble for the 21st century, is a string quartet defined by its pursuit of beauty, meaning, and growth as musicians and ambassadors for its genre.
The Afiara Quartet is a dynamic and award-winning ensemble, described as "a revelation" (La Presse) with performances balancing "intensity and commitment" and "frequent moments of tenderness" (Montreal Gazette). After residencies at The Juilliard School and San Francisco State University, the Afiara are currently Fellowship Quartet at the Royal Conservatory of Music. The ensemble is winner of the Young Canadian Musicians Award, Concert Artist Guild, Munich ARD, and Banff International String Quartet Competitions, including the latter's Szekely Prize for the best interpretation of Beethoven. The Afiara has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, at such venues as Carnegie Hall’s Zankel and Weill Halls, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Library of Congress in DC, Sao Paulo’s Museum of Modern Art, Pro Musica of San Miguel de Allende, London's Wigmore Hall, Austria's Esterhazy Palace, Munich’s Prinz Regenten Theatre, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, and the Royal Library in Copenhagen. Their relentless pursuit of beauty and discovery is documented in over 25 commissions of new music, new educational outreach initiatives for school children funded by the Ontario Arts Council, and projects with jazz virtuoso Uri Caine, Latin Grammy Award-winning producer Javier Limon, and ground-breaking scratch DJ, Kid Koala.
Valerie Li, first violinist of the Afiara Quartet since its founding, has enjoyed performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, and touring across North America, Europe, Brazil, Mexico, and China. In 2008, the quartet won the Concert Artists Guild International Competition as well as a top prize at the Munich ARD International Music Competition, and in 2010 won the Young Canadian Musicians Award and top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Ms. Li received her Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Conservatory, where she won the Marbury Prize and the Hulsteyn Award, and her Master of Music from the New England Conservatory. Her primary teachers include Miriam Fried, Herbert Greenberg, and Gwen Thompson, with whom she studied in her hometown of Vancouver. During her studies, Ms. Li was a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival, performed at Taos School of Music, served as Concertmaster of the New England Conservatory Philharmonia and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and performed with the Baltimore Symphony.
Violinist Timothy Kantor is the second violinist of the Afiara Quartet. He is the former concertmaster of the Evansville Philharmonic in Evansville, Indiana and a founding member of the Larchmere String Quartet, the Eykamp String Quartet in Residence at the University of Evansville. He has also performed as a member of the Kuttner String Quartet in residence at Indiana University, the chamber music and “Quartet in the Community” residencies at the Banff Centre, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and the St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar. He has performed with many of today’s leading musicians, including Joshua Bell, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, Atar Arad, Alex Kerr and the Pacifica Quartet.
American violist Eric Wong received both graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying violin with Paul Kantor, viola with Lynne Ramsey and Kirsten Docter, and chamber music with Peter Salaff and the Cavani Quartet. He subsequently earned an artist diploma from the Yale School of Music where he worked with Kazuhide Isomura. His chamber music collaborators have included the Tokyo Quartet, Sharon Isbin, Itzhak Perlman, Richard Stoltzman, Donald Weilerstein, and pianist and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others. Mr. Wong has served as principal violist of CityMusic Cleveland, Assistant Concertmaster of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, and Associate Concertmaster of the Canton Symphony Orchestra.
Canadian cellist Adrian Fung is a founding member of the Afiara String Quartet, winners of the Young Canadian Musicians Award, Concert Artist Guild International Competition in New York and prizes at the Munich ARD and Banff International String Quartet Competitions, including the latter’s Szekely Prize for the best interpretation of Beethoven. With the Quartet, he has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. As a soloist, he has been praised for his “superb” and “brilliant” performance (New York Concert Review), for his virtuosity (San Francisco Classical Voice), and as a “consummate interpreter” (Ontario Arts Review).
Mr. Fung has given recitals in New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Goethe Institute, Montreal’s Pollack Hall, Toronto Centre of the Performing Arts, Living Arts Centre, and Taiwan’s National Concert Hall. As a soloist, Mr. Fung has performed with Ensemble 212, Columbia Chamber Players, Oakville Symphony Orchestra, Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Mississauga Symphony. Mr. Fung earned his Bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and his Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School. He also holds diplomas from McGill University and the Mannes College of Music. His teachers were Bonnie Hampton, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Fred Sherry, Antonio Lysy, David Hetherington, and Susan Gagnon. He has been invited to teach at Indiana University’s Summer String Academy, San Francisco State University, the Yehudi Menuhin Seminar, Chamber Music of the Rockies, Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute, Orkester Efterskolen in Denmark, University of Alberta, Oakville Suzuki Institute, and the Royal Conservatory of Music. He was a teaching assistant to the Alexander and Juilliard String Quartets.