A rare combination of string quartet—2 violins, viola and cello—and trumpet, the Kassia Strings, joined by renowned trumpeter Mary Bowden, offer a unique and bold program of classical favorites.The poet and hymnographer Kassia was a byzantine abbess in the 9th century. A woman born into a wealthy family, she is said to have been in the running to marry the Emperor Theophilus. The emperor, however, found her too witty and chose another. Kassia went on to found an abbey and became a prolific composer, one of the first in medieval history of either gender whose scores are both extant and able to be understood in modern notation. It is her spirit that the Kassia Ensemble seeks to emulate.
The composition of the full ensemble is quite unique, being that of the traditional string quartet, plus double bass, clarinet, and harp. This alternate format features renowned trumpeter Mary Bowden along with the Kassia strings, for a quintet ensemble. The Kassia Ensemble features Dawn Posey (Violin), Ashley Freeburn (Violin), Si Yu (Viola), and Katya Janpoladyan (Cello)