The Inside Story: Altius Quartet

Altius Quartet is made up of Andrew Giordano and Joshua Ulrich on violin, Andrew Krimm on viola, and Zachary Reaves on cello. The Classics Artists Alive Grand Prize-Winning string ensemble is currently holding the position of Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Today the quartet is our next featured ensemble/artist for “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the personalities and inner workings of our artists. Read on to see how these guys keep a sense of humor.

 *This is Zack answering for the group.

What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?

This is a funny story that actually led to a great friendship and to the production of this album!  A few years back we performed at a fundraising event for a concert series and the presenter had asked us to make a sales pitch for the silent auction before we began the 2nd half.  One of the auction items was to sponsor the various artists that would be performing at the festival a few months later, including us.

At this particular performance, we were wearing brightly colored bow ties with our suits, which many of the patrons commented on.  So to people to bid on our sponsorship, we jokingly offered a house concert to be performed in “only our bow ties.”  Several old women ran to the back to bid on us and the laughter among the audiences took several minutes to die down.  Ultimately two couples won with bid somewhere around $20,000.  They ultimately got their house concert, but (thankfully) our wardrobe was not bow ties only. One of these couples has become great friends and supporters of ours and gave us our first major donation towards funding this album!

Moral of the story: Always keep a sense of humor!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Fantasy Football!  We’ve had a league for about 5 years with friends from school.  None of us have won yet…  Two of us have achieved the last place.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?

Our spouses (assuming they’re not already zombies…), Torchy’s Tacos, and some good scotch.

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?

Being based in Colorado makes for a pretty special place to rehearse and be creative.  The weather, the scenery, the proximity to the mountains.  It’s a pretty great place to be.  That said, we recently spent some time in Vienna and were very inspired by the musical culture there.  We had some deep and effective rehearsals while we were there.  So perhaps that would be our top spot for a creative destination.


What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

For me, it’s the opening section of Stairway to Heaven.  I’m very proud of how that turned out and it’s a beautiful showcase of what a string quartet can bring to something normally played by a classic rock guitarist.

Was there a piece on your album that you found more difficult to compose/perform than the others?

“Take It,” for sure.  The solo section is really tough for each member to not get separated from the underlying groove.

What does this album mean to you personally?

This our way of saying that music is music and doesn’t necessarily have to be put in a specific box or category. We’re passionate classical musicians, but there is so much music out there to be excited about.  We wanted to bring a fun attitude to this album that bridges genres and gets listeners to hear something they might not expect from a classical ensemble.

Altius Quartet’s debut release on Navona Records DRESS CODE is available for purchases April 14th. Pre-order on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic. Until then, here’s a sneak peek:

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