Violinist Sam Weiser Joins Carpe Diem String Quartet

September 12, 2023, 2:19 PM · The Columbus, Ohio-based Carpe Diem String Quartet has announced the appointment of violinist Sam Weiser as the quartet's new first violinist, as it enters its 18th season.

"After a thoughtful search process over the last eight months, our quartet is once again complete," said Korine Fujiwara, the CDSQ’s violist and Executive Director. Other members of the quartet are violinist Marisa Ishikawa and cellist Ariana Nelson.

Carpe Diem String Quartet
L-R Members of the Carpe Diem String Quartet: Sam Weiser, Marisa Ishikawa, Korine Fujiwara and Ariana Nelson.

Fujiwara co-founded the quartet in 2005 with violinist Charles Wetherbee, who died last January at the age of 56 after a long struggle with cancer, leaving the quartet without a first violinist. Wetherbee also was the former concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony, where he held that position from 1994 to 2011.

Weiser, formerly a member of the Del Sol Quartet, is a lifelong chamber musician and advocate of contemporary music, who has performed all over the country, from the Herbst Theater and the Kennedy Center to a raft floating along the Yampa River. He has premiered more than 150 new works by composers such as Vijay Iyer, Huang Ruo, and Chen Yi. Sam is the violinist in sfSound, a member of One Found Sound, and the Assistant Concertmaster of the California Symphony. He studied with Ian Swensen, Lucy Chapman, James Buswell, and Patinka Kopec. He holds bachelors’ degrees from Tufts University (computer science) and the New England Conservatory (violin), as well as a master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (chamber music).

"Over the last eight months, we auditioned and interviewed some wonderful and exciting candidates," Fujiwara said. "However, we knew immediately that we had found our new partner in Sam. He has an adventurous and multilingual musical spirit and his warm and compelling personality both onstage and off engages everyone around him and draws them into the magical musical storytelling world created on the stage. We are thrilled that Sam has joined us in this new chapter of the quartet’s journey."

With programming that reflects its passions for Romani, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music alongside the traditional string quartet repertoire, Carpe Diem is a group that defies easy classification. Carpe Diem has recorded extensively, including the complete cycle of the nine string quartets of Sergei Taneyev for Naxos, as well as the complete string quartets of Jonathan Leshnoff, Korine Fujiwara’s string quartets Fiddle Suite: Montana and Entangled Banks, Reza Vali’s The Book of Calligraphy and Longing, and many more. Carpe Diem's recordings have received honors including the Gold Prize at the Global Music Awards (Midkiff and Eryilmaz), and inclusion as part of producer Judith Sherman’s 2022 Grammy Award Win (Eryilmaz).

The quartet’s 2023-2024 season, Forward in All Directions, begins in November in Columbus, Ohio and features works by Paul Wianko, Emilie Mayer, Joaquín Turina, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Arensky, Ravel, and Dohnanyi. Carpe Diem will also present world premieres by Akshaya Avril Tucker, Reza Vali, Mark Lomax II, and Paul Frucht as part of their “15 for 15” commissioning project.

"The 2022-23 season was the most challenging season in our 17-year history, with the tragic loss of our co-founder and first violinist Charles Wetherbee to cancer," said a statement on the CDSQ's website. "It was Chas’ and all of our collective wishes to continue to seize the music as a quartet, so CDSQ is now moving forward in all directions."

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September 14, 2023 at 01:48 PM · Is there any possibility that the Quartet's name was inspired by Dead Poets Society?

September 14, 2023 at 02:09 PM · John, I hadn't heard of them before, but exploring their work via YouTube helped me make the most of my day.

September 14, 2023 at 07:02 PM · I went to school with Sam at SF Conservatory! Awesome news!!

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