We consider ourselves fortunate to have all been exposed to the amazing world of classical music from a relatively early age in our lives. As we each eventually decided to pursue a career in performance, we were individually struck with the realization that this was not the norm for many people that looked like us. Our identities have always been centered around our upbringing as classical musicians but we have also had to acknowledge that we are musicians of color in a field where minority groups are seriously under-represented— and it is not for lack of talent. Ivalas’ members are from both the black and latinx communities and the group was formed with the intent to play a part in bringing greater visibility to musicians of color. Some of the most inspirational moments we’ve experienced together have been at performances for elementary and middle school aged children in Detroit and Flint who are experiencing a classical music concert for the first time. For us to be able to see young kids react positively to classical music performed by people who look like them on stage has cemented the validity of our mission as a young string quartet in today’s modern era. We feel a strong responsibility to not only play with all of our hearts but to strive for the highest standard of playing in every performance and to be living proof of the power of diversity in all art forms.
Founded in Ann Arbor in 2016, the Ivalas Quartet is composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Anita Dumar, violist Aimée McAnulty, and cellist Pedro Sánchez. Ivalas has performed with artists such as the Calidore String Quartet, Imani Winds, Danielle Belen, David Ying, and Patricia Terry-Ross. The quartet has also been heard on WRCJ 90.9 FM’s Classical Brunch series and appeared at the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend. Maintaining their commitment to community engagement, Ivalas has also represented the Sphinx Organization playing for students in Flint and the Metro Detroit area. Recently awarded first prize in the 2019 WDAV Young Artists Chamber Music Competition, the quartet also took first prize 2018 Briggs Chamber Music Competition and was named a semifinalist group at both the M-Prize competition and Concert Artists Guild competition in New York. Last summer Ivalas was the 2018 Fellowship Quartet at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and in 2017 the group was named the Fellowship String Quartet at the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival, where they had the privilege of coaching young chamber groups, as well as studying intensively under Ayano Ninomiya. This year, the group looks forward to a rewarding summer beginning with the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival where they will be studying under the renowned Emerson Quartet as the Sphinx Apprentice Ensemble, followed by the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at the Aspen Music Festival to study with the Pacifica Quartet. Ivalas has been coached by members of the Calidore, Brentano, St. Lawrence, Escher, Ying, Turtle Island, Jupiter, and Pacifica string quartets, as well as Paul Katz, Jeffrey Zeigler, Mikhail Kopelman, Kirsten Docter, Richard Aaron, Danielle Belen, Stephen Shipps, Andrew Jennings and Kathryn Votapek. This fall the Ivalas Quartet moves to CU Boulder as the new Graduate String Quartet in residence mentored by the famed Takács Quartet.
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 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.
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 has been heard in recital across the US and in Europe. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in violin performance under the tutelage of professor Danielle Belen at the University of Michigan, where he was recently appointed Concertmaster of the University Symphony Orchestra. A member of the Des Moines Symphony, Reuben received his bachelor’s degree from Drake University, studying with Dr. Sarah Plum. He has appeared in masterclasses for Jaime Laredo, Paul Kantor, Olivier Charlier, and Robert Chen, as well as for members of the Emerson, 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, and the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival in Alaska.
Anita Dumar already has an active performing career as a soloist and chamber musician. A Sphinx Competition Semi-Finalist in both 2017 and 2018, she also represented Detroit as a Finalist and Prizewinner at the 2017 NANM National Competition in New Orleans. She is also a founding member of the dynamic Ivalas Quartet, which was recently the recipient of the 2018 String Quartet Fellowship at Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine. Upon the completion of her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in April 2018, Anita was presented with the Willis Patterson Diversity Award for her contribution to the development of a more culturally and ethnically diverse community at U of M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. She has since returned to Michigan and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in violin performance studying with Professor Danielle Belen. Anita plays on a 1900 Bailley violin provided by a scholarship grant from the Virtu Foundation.
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.
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 and has been selected for summer festivals such as Meadowmount, the Chautauqua Institution, The Bowdoin Festival and Center Stage Strings. Throughout his career Pedro has studied with Astrid Schween, Alan Harris, Clive Greensmith, Richard Aaron and is currently studying under professor Anthony Elliott at University of Michigan, he has also performed recitals in Africa, South America and the US. He is a faculty member for the University of Michigan's String Preparatory Academy and also the Michigan Artist Citizen program. Inspired by El Sistema, this program brings free education to a very diverse community of kids in Ann Arbor. Pedro was appointed principal cello for UofM's University Symphony Orchestra for the 2017-2018 season.