Vision

Recognition as the premier conductorless string orchestra.

Mission

Present a conductorless string orchestra of the highest caliber with musicians from the most elite orchestras, universities and chamber groups in a repertoire of standard string orchestral works and chamber music arranged for the new format. It is our hope that the high quality of performance will expose audiences to music previously heard only as chamber music and will set a new standard for ensemble string performance.

Introduction

Throughout musical history, there have been great ensembles of many kinds. The symphony orchestra has served humanity well since its inception and throughout history there have been many outstanding examples. The string quartet is also a well established form and is represented by great players such as The Emerson and Juilliard Quartets.

Surprisingly, there has never been a great string orchestra dedicated solely to the performance of the string repertoire and arranged works for the string ensemble. In the spring of 2002, we created just that--a string orchestra made up of fifteen exceptional artists from all over the world, brought together to present three concerts of string music written for smaller ensemble, and arranged in a never-before-heard format. Our upcoming concerts at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall will be the continuation of this exciting effort.

Genesis

As a double bassist, Barry Lieberman has had the great pleasure of working with and becoming friends with many of today’s great string players. Several of these friendships reach back twenty or more years.

In the last several years, Barry has presented concerts at the University of Washington known as "Barry Lieberman and Friends," where he has arranged chamber music works to include the double bass and performed them with great success along with his wife, Maria Larionoff, and other guest artists. His dream was to form a larger ensemble and continue performing great string music on a larger scale, but at a very high performance level. The American String Project fulfills this dream.

The Ensemble

The fifteen member ensemble is comprised of five first violins, four second violins, three violas, two violoncelli and one double bass. To maintain a chamber music ambience, the ensemble cannot be too large. With the right players, the sound created by this group is substantial in the proper venue.

As the ensemble is conductorless, leadership is primarily in the hands of the concertmaster, a position that is rotated amongst the violinists. Rehearsals are a combination of suggestions, arguments, resolutions, compromise and laughter. This egalitarian effort results in total commitment on the part of each player to the quality of the performance that the audience experiences.

All of the players involved in The American String Project are of the absolute highest caliber, drawn from the title positions in major orchestras, soloists, and renowned chamber music musicians. Most are already known to one another, and will likely have played together in the past. The camaraderie factor is accentuated here as one of the major attractions for the musicians themselves. Playing chamber music together brings musicians closer together.

This camaraderie greatly enhances the audience experience. The intimate scale of our performance venue provides a unique opportunity for our patrons to feel as though they are truly part of the performance. Pre-concert talks, and question and answer sessions with the musicians offer audience members an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the musicians. Open rehearsals for donors, sponsors, and students also provide a unique, inside glimpse into the work that goes into presenting world-class music for the concert stage.