Australian violinist SARITA KWOK has distinguished herself as a charismatic and powerful performer whose passion for performing is matched only by her commitment to education, cultural leadership and academic innovation. Born in Australia to Chinese parents, Kwok has performed as a solo artist, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.
Frequently sought after as a chamber musician and soloist, Kwok was the founding first violinist of the Alianza Quartet, a former graduate quartet at Yale School of Music (2006-2008) whose “unusually elegant sound” was praised by The New York Times following their Carnegie Hall debut. In 2012, Kwok formed the Arabella String Quartet with violinist Julie Eskar, violist Ettore Causa and cellist Alexandre Lecarme. The ensemble rapidly developed a reputation for its remarkable artistry. Their first recording, "In the Moment" (Naxos, 2017), was named Album of the Week by Classic FM and praised by The Strad magazine as “an artfully balanced mix of rarities … this is a fine disc, the Arabella digging deep to produce performances of great intensity and poise”. The quartet’s most recent recording of Six Concertante Quartets by Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Naxos, 2022) has also garnered extensive praise. BBC Music Magazine reported "there’s certainly no lack of prowess in these delightful performances ... This is wonderful advocacy of enchanting music". Fanfare Magazine applauds how the ensemble’s “phrasing brings out lyrical lines with decided ease and grace. Any afficionados of 18th-century chamber music or collector of quartets would be glad to have this disc in their collection. A fine job all around, excellent performance of extremely interesting and delightful works.” Kwok’s recording ‘Interchange: Violin and Piano Duos of the C20th’ with pianist Wei-Yi Yang (Genuin, 2016) was praised by the German periodical Deutschlandfunk as “electrifying … [Kwok and Yang] manage to make each work sound unique and yet make it recognizable as part of the same era”.
Kwok has appeared on concert series and festivals throughout the United States including the Embassy Series (Washington, DC), Flagler Museum Series (Florida), Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music, Rockport Chamber Music Festival and in performances at Weill and Zankel recital halls at Carnegie Hall. Abroad she has performed at the Aldeburgh festival, Aix-en-Provence festival, at Sapporo’s Kitara Hall (Japan), Villa Medici (Italy), the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume, and Salle Olivier Messaien (France), Melbourne Concert Hall and Sydney Opera House (Australia). She is an artist member of the Boston-based Mistral Music and also performs as a substitute player with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops during their regular season at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood. A persuasive advocate of contemporary music, Kwok recorded Ezra Laderman’s last three string quartets with the Alianza Quartet for Albany Records to critical acclaim. More recently, her recording on Starkland records of Martin Bresnick’s Josephine the Singer for solo violin was described by Gramophone as “gorgeously executed”.
For eight years, Kwok served as Director of the undergraduate lessons program at Yale School of Music while concurrently serving on the faculty of the Yale Department of Music. She is the inaugural recipient of the Adams Endowed Chair in Music at Gordon College, Wenham, MA, and since 2014 has been Chair of the Department of Music and Professor of Music. In addition to teaching violin, chamber music and a variety of performance and pedagogy classes, Dr. Kwok provides artistic and organizational leadership for a music program that supports a wide-range of students, and enjoys a robust presence on campus and in the community. Among her notable contributions: securing donor funding for a fully endowed music chair and numerous national and international student tour opportunities; successfully advocating for a significant increase in music scholarships; spearheading meaningful curriculum reform across all music degree programs to better prepare students for diverse career paths; and curating two new performance series.
A respected pedagogue, Kwok has given masterclasses at institutions such as the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Longy School of Music at Bard College, MIT, Credo Festival Oberlin, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Additionally she has presented at the American String Teacher Association National Conference (2022 and 2023) on topics of diversity, inclusion and equity in violin studio teaching. Kwok received the Doctor of Musical Arts and Artist diploma degrees from the Yale School of Music, where she was a student of Syoko Aki and the Tokyo String Quartet. She performs on a violin from 1736 by Italian maker Johannes Florenus Guidantus and a bow by Joseph Arthur Vigneron.
Last updated: February, 2023. Please discard previously dated materials. Do not edit without prior permission.