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November 13, 2009: News & Views

Korine Fujiwara works with students at the Tokyo College of Music.
Photo courtesy of Korine Fujiwara

Carpe Diem String Quartet in Residence at Ohio Wesleyan
Group’s work with students in Japan, community outreach follows OWU philosophy

Ohio Wesleyan’s instructor of violin and viola, Korine Fujiwara, is a founding member of the Carpe Diem String Quartet, an innovative chamber music group in residence at Ohio Wesleyan University. Quartet member Diego Fainguersch recently joined the OWU faculty as instructor of cello. The group seeks to attract new audiences for chamber music by incorporating innovative programming, thematic concerts, and popular music.

The group recently returned from a trip to Japan, where the four musicians performed and taught their techniques to students at Tokyo College of Music, its affiliated high school, and Rikkyo University. Their travel overseas brings Carpe Diem’s community outreach and “giving back to the community” efforts to an international level.

“Working with the Japanese students was fantastic,” Fujiwara says. “As professional musicians, we sometimes lose sight of some of the reasons we originally chose music as our profession. We, in turn, learned so much from these very enthusiastic students who were so committed to the art of making music. The joy they brought to the process was contagious.”

At Rikkyo University, a liberal arts institution, they worked with a volunteer orchestra of non-music majors who were very committed to their music. Fujiwara says the students and faculty at both institutions were appreciative, making their work there “a wonderful experience.”

Fujiwara says this project evolved from a mutual professional friendship between members of the quartet and faculties from the institutions in Japan. The quartet hopes to return to work with students from these schools in the future.

Locally, their CarpeDiemMusiCare program provides free performances in nursing facilities, hospitals, hospices, and similar institutions where the population is unable to leave the facility because of health issues and other restrictions. Their goal is to provide a valuable healing experience for those otherwise not able to attend concerts.

The Carpe Diem String Quartet received nominations for 2009 Grammy Awards in four categories: Best Classical Album, Best Chamber Music Performance, Best New Artist, and Best Engineered Album-Classical.

Fujiwara plays viola, and is joined by Fainguersch (cello), Charles Wetherbee (1st violin), and John Ewing (2nd violin). Three of the members are affiliated with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra: Wetherbee is concertmaster, Ewing is principal second violin, and Fujiwara is acting assistant principal second violin.

The Ohio Wesleyan community and the public will have an opportunity to attend a free concert of the Carpe Diem String Quartet at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 in Jemison Auditorium in Sanborn Hall.

To learn more about the Carpe Diem String Quartet, visit their Web site. To view comments from the Japanese students and others, visit visiting the quartet’s Facebook page. To learn more about the OWU Music Department, visit the department’s Web site.

– Linda O’Horo