Our Mission

We as the Ivalas Quartet believe that representation matters.
The Ivalas Quartet was formed after a conversation about a feeling of absence we shared - how we rarely saw our own faces and cultures in classical music. As members of Black and Latinx communities, we saw a lack of representation, of celebration, and of classical music making from our own communities and to our own communities.
Ivalas seeks to disrupt and enhance the classical music world with voices less known and sometimes unheard. By performing works for string quartet written by underrepresented BIPOC composers, the Ivalas Quartet strives to bring all kinds of audience members together in musical celebration.
Through the tool of representation, Ivalas looks to inspire young musicians and musicians-to-be with the sounds of music from cultures and communities that echo their own.
We as Ivalas are deeply focused on renewing and uplifting the classical music industry through the amplification of BIPOC voices. We have set our sights on creating community, making exceptional art, and inspiring the future of classical music. Join us.

Our Story

Composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Tiani Butts, violist Aimée McAnulty and cellist Pedro Sánchez, the Ivalas Quartet has been changing the face of classical music since their inception at the University of Michigan in 2016. Dedicated to the celebration of BIPOC voices, Ivalas seeks to disrupt the classical music world by introducing more audiences to BIPOC composers, including Jessie Montgomery, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The Ivalas Quartet had the pleasure of performing George Walker’s Lyric for Strings at their debut at Carnegie Hall in January of 2020. Later that year, they worked in collaboration with Walker’s son to program his String Quartet No. 1 with Friends of Chamber Music Denver and the Colorado Music Festival. In 2021, they created the first recording of Carlos Simon’s Warmth of Other Suns for string quartet under Lara Downes’ digital label Rising Sun Music.
The Ivalas Quartet is currently the Graduate Quartet in residence at The University of Colorado-Boulder where they study under the renowned Takács Quartet. During the summer seasons, Ivalas has worked with the Ying Quartet at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in 2018 and the Pacifica Quartet, American Quartet, and Escher Quartet at the Aspen Music Festival in 2019. Ivalas has also spent the past 3 summers at the Great Lakes Music Festival working with the Emerson Quartet and had the opportunity to perform Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in concert with Eugene Drucker in 2019. The quartet has additionally been coached by Peter Oundjian, Paul Katz, Ayano Ninomiya, Masumi Rostad, Kirsten Docter, Jeffrey Zeigler, Danielle Belen, Richard Aaron, Kathryn Votapek, and Mikhail Kopelman, and worked with composers Samuel Adler, Carlos Simon, and Missy Mazzoli.
Ivalas has performed in various concert series, including Detroit’s WRCJ Classical Brunch, the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend, the Crested Butte Music Festival, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts, and CU Presents concert series, where the quartet performed alongside the Takacs Quartet in 2020. Winners of the 2019 WDAV Young Artist Chamber Music Competition in Davidson, North Carolina, the Ivalas Quartet will return to perform in the Davidson College concert series in 2022.
The members of the Ivalas Quartet have a shared dedication to their roles as educators. Through the Sphinx Organization, Ivalas has presented educational programming in the Metro Detroit area, with an emphasis on community engagement in schools with Black and Latinx communities. In Colorado, they have worked with El Sistema Colorado and the Aspen Music Festival Musical Connections program. The quartet has also been in residence at the University of Northern Iowa in early 2020, and more recently at the University of Central Arkansas in the fall of 2021.
Ivalas would like to extend a special thank you to the following organizations and individuals for their generous support of the quartet’s endeavors through travel funding and scholarships: The Takács Society, The University of Colorado – Boulder, The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Center Stage Strings, the Sphinx Organization, EXCEL, the Mandell Collection of Southern California, Maurice Binkow and Freyja Harris at the SMTD Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Meet Ivalas

We put our minds and hearts at work in every rehearsal because we trust in the power of music to create a positive change in our community.
Reuben Kebede, Violinist
Violinist Reuben Kebede has been heard in recital across the US, Europe, and in China. He is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in string quartet performance at CU Boulder under the tutelage of the Takács Quartet. Previously, he studied with Danielle Belen at the University of Michigan, where he served as concertmaster of both university orchestras, and with Sarah Plum at Drake University. He has appeared in masterclasses for Jaime Laredo, Paul Kantor, Olivier Charlier, and Robert Chen, as well as for members of the Emerson, Brentano, St. Lawrence, Miro, Calidore, and Chiara string quartets. Reuben has spent the last few summers studying and performing at the Zodiac Music Festival in Nice, France, Center Stage Strings at the University of Michigan, the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival in Alaska, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and most recently at the Aspen Music Festival.
Tiani Butts, Violinist
Tiani Butts is a passionate solo and chamber musician that strives to use the arts to encourage and inspire young students from all backgrounds. She has performed in numerous concert venues throughout the US as well as internationally in Germany, Austria, Iceland, and Italy as a violinist in the Rome Chamber Music Festival. Tiani has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy, and the Philadelphia International Music Festival. In addition to a notable performance career, Tiani is dedicated to teaching and engaging with the community through the arts. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, and a dual Master’s degree in violin performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan.
Aimée McAnulty, Violist
Argentine-American violist Aimée McAnulty is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, having studied with Yizhak Schotten and has recently been accepted to the University of Colorado-Boulder, to study under the world-renowned violist Geraldine Walther. She has participated in masterclasses with many accomplished artists, including Atar Arad, Stephen Wyrczynski, and Michelle LaCourse. She has performed at the Eastern Sierra Symphony Chamber Festival, Idyllwild Summer Academy, Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival, Montecito International Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and is an active chamber music coach; working with young musicians at the Pasadena Conservatory Chamber Music Intensive. In Southern California, Aimée was a member of the Colburn Conservatory Chamber and Youth Orchestras, was principal violist of the Olympia Youth Orchestra, and was a featured soloist. Aimée was recently awarded with fellowships at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and Aspen Music Festival. Aimée hopes to inspire younger generations to use their talents collaboratively, and is an enthusiastic advocate for chamber music, new music, and solo repertoire
Pedro Sanchez, Cellist
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Pedro Sanchez was the winner of the Emil Friedman Cello Competition of Venezuela in 2010. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Virtuosi de Caracas and Arcos Juveniles de Caracas and has performed under Maestros Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel and Tan Dun, among others. In Venezuela, Pedro’s education was centered in the Emil Friedman Conservatory and School, and he was trained through “El Sistema”. In the United States, he has attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Eastman School, the University of Michigan, The University of Colorado-Boulder and has been selected for summer festivals such as Meadowmount, the Chautauqua Institution, The Bowdoin Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, Center Stage Strings and Colorado Music Festival, among others. Throughout his career Pedro has studied with Astrid Schween, Alan Harris, Clive Greensmith, Richard Aaron, Anthony Elliott and he is currently studying under Hungarian cellist András Fejér of the Takács Quartet. He has also performed recitals in Africa, South America and the US.  He was a faculty member for the University of Michigan’s Michigan Artist Citizen, a program Inspired by El Sistema that brings free education to a very diverse community of kids in Ann Arbor. Pedro plays a 2010 Marten Cornelissen Cello loaned to him by the Maestro Foundation in California.