February 12th & 13th, 2024
The Balourdet Quartet is an award-winning, dynamic ensemble that takes creative risks on stage, producing both emotionally intense and touching, intimate moments. The Balourdet journey began in 2018 in the mountains of New Mexico at the Taos School of Music, where violinists Justin DeFilippis, Angela Bae, and cellist Russell Houston first bonded as friends over long evenings of chamber music, luxurious Peppermint Schnapps and extravagant meals created by chef extraordinaire Antoine Balourdet, a renaissance man with an exceptional love of life and music. It was the friendships, a shared passion for music and food, and gratitude for the role the festival played in the formation of the quartet, that inspired the members to name the ensemble in Chef Balourdet’s honor.
Soon thereafter, in the heat of a waning Texas summer, Justin, Angela, and Russell joined with violist Benjamin Zannoni of Rice University, and the Balourdet Quartet was formed. Inspired by their love for the repertoire and the excitement of having found each other, the four friends found themselves playing quartets late into the night for fun. After having been together for only one year at Rice University, and a summer at the Aspen Music Festival, they took second prize at the Nielsen International String Quartet Competition, and were selected as the only quartet admitted to Boston’s prestigious New England Conservatory Professional String Quartet Program under the tutelage of Cleveland Quartet cellist Paul Katz.
In 2021, the Quartet won the Grand Prize at New York’s Concert Artists Guild Competition, which included joint management by Concert Artists Guild in the U.S., and Young Classical Artist’s Trust (YCAT) in the UK and Europe. In addition, the Balourdet has been prizewinners in Canada’s Banff International String Quartet Competition, the International Premio Paolo Borciani Competition in Italy, Gold Medal winners at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and Gold Medal and Audience Prizewinners at the Yellow Springs Competition.
Angela has appeared as a soloist in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, and Sydney Town Hall, and when she was 16, she became the youngest ever Concertmaster of the American Youth Symphony in LA. She has won awards in Korea and the United States. As a chamber musician, she has performed with artists including Gil Shaham, Kenneth Goldsmith, Geoffrey Nutall, and Alexander Sitkovetsky. Ms. Bae is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music Professional String Quartet Program where she studied with Donald Weilerstein.
Justin is a graduate of the New England Conservatory, Rice University Shepherd School of Music, and Juilliard School Pre-College Division, where his major teachers were Miriam Fried, Nicholas Kitchen, Cho-Liang Lin, Donald Weilerstein, and Elizabeth Chang. He has collaborated alongside artists including the Silkroad Ensemble, Jon Kimura Parker, and Matthew Lipman, as well as members of the Ying and American Quartets.
Benjamin has performed around the world and shared the stage with artists such as Ralph Kirshbaum, Elmar Oliveira, Cho-Liang Lin, Anthony McGill and Marc-André Hamelin. He is a recent graduate from the New England Conservatory and has also received degrees from Rice University, Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School, where he studied with Martha Katz, Mai Motobuchi, James Dunham, Karen Dreyfus, Pinchas Zukerman, Patinka Kopec, Heidi Castleman and Robert Vernon.
Russell is the winner of the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition and Sorantin International Competition and performed as soloist with orchestras including the Dallas and Plano Symphonies. Houston has shared the stage with renowned artists Denis Bouriakov, Cho-Liang Lin, Brinton Smith, and members of the Cleveland and Dover Quartets. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory, Rice University, Colburn Conservatory, and Northwestern University, where he studied with Paul Katz, Brinton Smith, Clive Greensmith, and Hans Jensen.