• About The Quartet
  • Quartet Bios
  • Daniil Kharms Bio
  • In Kharms Way

The Madison String Quartet, praised for its energetic performances and inventive programming, is bringing a new side of classical music to the New York metropolitan area. Drawing on the international experience of its members, the Quartet "has carved a niche out for themselves by exploring Hispanic literature from both sides of the Atlantic". (Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey) The Quartet is involved in blurring the line between performer and audience, creating a comfortable performance atmosphere for masterworks from past and present. The Madison String Quartet is essential listening.

The Quartet's 2004 recording, Life is a Dream, was received with rave reviews, and displays the eclectic programming that has become its hallmark. It includes the world premiere of pieces by award-winning composers Miguel del Aguila and Dave Rimelis, as well as quartets by Silvestre Revueltas and Peter Schickele. In addition to championing Latin works, the Quartet has also collaborated with many composers in its home state of New Jersey, including Dale Trumbore, Paul Moravec, and Charles Griffin. Paul Moravec's Vince and Jan: 1945 was featured by the Quartet at the first annual "Facebook Friends" performance organized by composer Douglas Townsend. New York-based poet Kate Light has worked with MSQ to present her collection "Einstein's Mozart", a performance including poems from her book intertwining the two mens' lives and work.

Since 2008, MSQ has been quartet-in-residence at the Kenai Peninsula Summer Festival in Alaska. In 2010, the Quartet was presented at the Museum of the City of New York by Musica de Cámara, highlighting the quartet by 19th-century Venezuelan composer Teresa Carreño. Other highlights of recent seasons include a performance at Carnegie Hall of Imitación Serial para Cuerdas by composer Modesta Bor, as well as engagements with several chamber series, including the Friends of Music in Westchester, Mozart and Friends in Princeton, and the Rhinebeck Chamber Series. In Rhinebeck, the Quartet gave "a mesmerizing performance of Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden,' a quartet the house listened to like a story heretofore untold". (Kitty Montgomery, Kingston Daily Freeman)

Evelyn Estava, violin

Violinist Evelyn Estava has earned recognition as one of the top EvelynEstavapictureperforming artists in her native Venezuela. She has made many guest soloist appearances with orchestras in North and South America, including the Mexico State Symphony, the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Falcón. This season she will perform as soloist with the Central Jersey Symphony and Orquesta Filarmónica Nacional.

At age 15, Ms Estava became a member of the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the crowning jewel of that country's celebrated music education program "El Sistema". Later she won the Associate Concertmaster position in the Orquesta Filarmónica Nacional, where she was also the first violinist of that orchestra's string sextet. Ms. Estava completed her musical studies at the Simón Bolívar Conservatory in Caracas, where she was a student of José Francisco Del Castillo. She has studied chamber music with Josef Gingold, Philip Setzer, Lawrence Dutton and Arnold Steinhardt, and performed for six years at the Killington Music Festival in Vermont, where she was a scholarship student and assistant of Margaret Pardee. She has also played in Master Classes for Augustin Dumay, Olivier Charlier, Ruggiero Ricci, Eugene Fodor and Henryk Szeryng.

Ms. Estava performs regularly with the Harrisburg Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Westfield Symphony. She currently serves as concertmaster of the Plainfield Symphony, and is the first violinist of the Madison String Quartet. As winner of the Artists International Special Presentation Award, Ms Estava made her New York debut in 2005 at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.

Rebecca Harris-Lee, violin

Rebecca Harris-Lee has been a mainstay in the New York musical scene for several years. She has performed with orchestras and Rebecca Harris-Lee picturechamber ensembles across the region, ranging from the Westfield Symphony, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and the Princeton Symphony to appearances on Broadway.

Ms. Harris-Lee began her studies with Linda Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a recipient of the Margaret Randall scholarship. She received degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute, studying under Stephen Clapp and Donald Weilerstein.

An active chamber musician throughout her career, Ms. Harris-Lee has appeared with members of the Cavani Quartet, Eunice Podis, as well as numerous performances with her father, cellist Alan Harris. She was principal second violin of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra and an active freelance performer in Cleveland prior to moving to the New York area.

In addition to her performance career, she maintains an active teaching studio in Montclair. She has three wonderful children with her husband, saxophonist Mike Lee.

Michael Avagliano, viola

With a tone described as "both bold and graceful" by The Washington Post, violinist/violist Michael Avagliano has received acclaim as a MichaelAvagliano picturesoloist and chamber musician in the United States and Europe. Mr. Avagliano has performed with the New Jersey Symphony, the Singapore Symphony, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. He currently serves as concertmaster of the Baroque Orchestra of North Jersey and the Metropolitan Orchestra, as well as principal second violin for the Plainfield Symphony. He has appeared as soloist with the New Sussex Symphony, the Plainfield Symphony, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia and the New Jersey Youth Symphony, as well as in numerous solo recital engagements.

Also an active freelance musician, Mr. Avagliano frequently performs with several orchestras in the region, including the Harrisburg Symphony, the Westfield Symphony, and the Princeton Pro Musica. He has also served as concertmaster for many orchestras and summer festivals, including the Garden State Philharmonic, the Plainfield Symphony, and the National Orchestral Institute. Praised for his versatility as a musician, Mr. Avagliano covers a wide variety of musical genres, having worked with artists ranging from Jaime Laredo and Seiji Ozawa to the Moody Blues and Ray Charles.

Mr. Avagliano received a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University in 1995, studying under Mimi Zweig and Yuval Yaron. He completed a Master's degree at Rutgers University studying under Arnold Steinhardt. Also an accomplished violist, he has performed at the Killington Music Festival, the Brevard Music Center and with the Singapore Symphony in that capacity.

Gerall Hieser, violoncello

Praised for her beautiful tone and musicianship, cellist Gerall Hieser began her musical education in Newport News, Virginia, studying Gerall Hieser picturepiano and singing harmony with her mother, also a cellist. After moving to Pennsylvania she fell in love with the cello and studied with Metta Watts and Orlando Cole at the New School of Music in Philadelphia. Gerall continued studies with Mr. Cole earning a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Temple University. She received her Master of Music degree from the Mason Gross School for the Arts at Rutgers University as a student of Paul Tobias.

In the 1980s she began playing Southern Appalachian style fiddle and traveled to North Carolina and Virginia to study with some legendary old fiddlers including Tommy Jarrell. Gerall has played for square dances and has won a few fiddle competitions!

Ms. Hieser is a passionate and devoted cello teacher and maintains an active studio at her home in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and at Drew University. She is a founding member of the Madison String Quartet, and performs with the Gabriel Chamber ensemble as well. Gerall is the Assistant Principal cellist of the Westfield Symphony (NJ), and is Music Director of the Vermont Music and Arts Center, a summer program for adult amateur musicians.

Gerall is married to French Hornist Tony Cecere and they perform as a Duo inventing new sonorities for cello and horn.

Daniil Ivánovich Yuvatchov (Даниил Иванович Ювачёв) was born in DaniilIvanovichpictureSt. Petersburg, into the family of Ivan Yuvachev, a member of the revolutionary group The People's Will. By this time the elder Yuvachev had already been imprisoned for his involvement in subversive acts against tsar Alexander III and had become a philosopher.

Daniil invented the pseudonym Kharms while attending Saint Peter's School. There are some assumptions that it might be influenced by his fascination with Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, as the two words (Holmes and Harms) sound vaguely similar in Russian, as well as number of other theories. While at Saint Peter's, he learned the rudiments of both English and German, and it may have been the English "harm" and "charm" that he incorporated into "Kharms". Throughout his career Kharms used variations on his name and the pseudonyms DanDan, Khorms, Charms, Shardam, and Kharms-Shardam, among others.

In 1924, he entered the Leningrad Electrotechnicum, from which he was expelled for "lack of activity in social activities".

After his expulsion, he gave himself over entirely to literature. He joined the circle of Aleksandr Tufanov, a sound-poet, and follower of Velemir Khlebnikov's ideas of zaum (or trans-sense) poetry. He met the young poet Alexander Vvedensky at this time, and the two became close friends and collaborators.

In 1928, his play "Elizabeth Bam" ("Елизавета Бам") premiered; it is said to have foreshadowed the Theatre of the Absurd.

In 1927, the Association of Writers of Children's Literature was formed, and Kharms was invited to be a member. From 1928 until 1941, Kharms continually produced children's works, to great success.

In 1928, Daniil Kharms founded the avant-garde collective Oberiu, or Union of Real Art. He embraced the new movements of Russian Futurism laid out by his idols, Khlebnikov, Kazimir Malevich, and Igor Terentiev, among others. Their ideas served as a springboard. His aesthetic centered around a belief in the autonomy of art from real world rules and logic, and the intrinsic meaning to be found in objects and words outside of their practical function.

By the late 1920s, his antirational verse, nonlinear theatrical performances, and public displays of decadent and illogical behavior earned Kharms – who dressed like an English dandy with a calabash pipe – the reputation of being talented and highly eccentric.

In the late 1920s, despite rising criticism of the OBERIU performances and diatribes against the avant-garde in the press, Kharms sought to unite progressive artists and writers of the time (Malevich, Filonov, Terentiev, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Kaverin, Zamyatin) with leading Russian Formalist critics (Tynianov, Shklovsky, Eikhenbaum, Ginzburg, etc.,) and a younger generation of writers (all from the OBERIU crowd—Alexander Vvedensky, Konstantin Vaginov, Nikolai Zabolotsky, Igor Bakhterev), to form a cohesive cultural movement of Left Art.

Kharms was arrested in 1931 and forced to live in Kursk for most of a year. He was arrested as a member of "a group of anti-Soviet children's writers", and some of his works were used as an evidence. Soviet authorities, having become increasingly hostile toward the avant-garde in general, deemed Kharms' writing for children anti-Soviet because of its refusal to instill materialist and social Soviet values. He continued to write for children's magazines when he returned from exile, though his name would appear in the credits less often. His plans for more performances and plays were curtailed, the OBERIU disbanded, and Kharms receded into a very private writing life.

Kharms was arrested on suspicion of treason in the summer of 1941. He was imprisoned in the psychiatric ward at Leningrad Prison No. 1. and died in his cell in February 1942—most likely, from starvation, as the Nazi blockade of Leningrad had already begun.

His "adult" works were not published during his lifetime with the sole exception of two early poems. His work was saved from the war by loyal friends and hidden until the 1960s when his children's writing became widely published and scholars began the job of recovering his manuscripts and publishing them in the west and in samizdat.

His reputation in the 20th century in Russia was largely based on his popular work for children. His other writings (a vast assortment of stories, miniatures, plays, poems, and pseudo-scientific, philosophical investigations) were virtually unknown until the 1970s, and not published officially in Russia until "glasnost"

Kharms' stories are typically brief vignettes (see also short prose and feuilleton) often only a few paragraphs long, in which scenes of poverty and deprivation alternate with fantastic, dreamlike occurrences and acerbic comedy. Occasionally they incorporate incongruous appearances by famous authors (e.g.: Pushkin and Gogol tripping over each other; Count Leo Tolstoy showing his chamber pot to the world; Pushkin and his sons falling off their chairs; etc.)

Kharms' world is unpredictable and disordered; characters repeat the same actions many times in succession or otherwise behave irrationally; linear stories start to develop but are interrupted in midstream by inexplicable catastrophes that send them in completely different directions.

His manuscripts were preserved by his sister and, most notably, by his friend Yakov Druskin, a notable music theorist and amateur theologist and philosopher, who dragged a suitcase full of Kharms's and Vvedensky's writings out of Kharms's apartment during the blockade of Leningrad and kept it hidden throughout difficult times.

Kharms' adult works were picked up by Russian samizdat starting around the 1960s, and thereby did have an influence on the growing "unofficial" arts scene. (Moscow Conceptualist artists and writers such as Kabakov, Prigov, Rubinstein, were influenced by this newly found avant-garde predecessor).

A complete collection of his works was published in Bremen in four volumes, in 1978–1988. In Russia, Kharms' works were widely published only from the late 1980s. Now several editions of Kharms's collected works and selected volumes have been published in Russia, and collections are now available in German, French and Italian. In 2004 a selection of his works appeared in Irish.

In Kharms Way Links:
More about Daniil Kharms and In Kharms Way

Selections from In Kharms Way on Youtube

In Kharms Way Complete on Youtube

In Kharms Way complete on Youtube


Madison QuartetThe Madison Quartet

The Madison String Quartet, praised for its energetic performances and inventive programming, is bringing a new side of classical music to the New York metropolitan area. Drawing on the international experience of its members, the Quartet "has carved a niche out for themselves by exploring Hispanic literature from both sides of the Atlantic".


logoDulce Horta, Director
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