Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Sybarite5’s Jan. 22 concert to feature Radiohead music and other unconventional string quintet repertoire

Sybarite5, a classical string quintet that embraces the challenges of re-creating rock music and champions works by living composers, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, in Schwab Auditorium. The program will be announced from the stage.

Sybarite5, presented by the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, will also perform at a free and informal Classical Coffeehouse while in residence at the university.

Purchase tickets for the Jan. 22 concert—$42 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student, and $32 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

Sybarite5—bassist and founder Louis Levitt, violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett and cellist Laura Metcalf—formed at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2011, the ensemble became the first string quintet to win the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. That recognition prompted the musicians to make a career of performing music they love, however nontraditional the fare for string ensemble.

“One of the things we can all agree on right at the beginning is that we wanted to play Radiohead music,” Levitt said. “We eventually amassed so many [songs], and it became such a popular thing that we enjoyed playing, … that we decided to release an album of all Radiohead covers.”

That album, “Everything in its Right Place,” was released in 2012. It came two years after the group’s debut “Disturb the Silence,” which featured renditions of contemporary works by Piotr Szewczyk, Taraf de Haidouks, Dan Visconti and Astor Piazzolla.

Listen to a Center for the Performing Arts conversation with Levitt

Read a Center for the Performing Arts feature article about the quintet.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring members of the quintet, takes place in Schwab one hour before the concert and is free for ticket holders.

This presentation is a component of the Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project.

With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project provides opportunities to

engage students, faculty and the community with classical music artists and programs.

Tom and Mary Ellen Litzinger sponsor the concert. WPSU is the media sponsor. The engagement of Sybarite5 is funded through the Mid Atlantic Tours program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Foundation for the Arts.

Related no-cost Classical Coffeehouse

Sybarite5 will perform and discuss selected music in a Classical Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, in Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall. Complimentary refreshments will be provided. Attendees will receive a Classical Coffeehouse mug, while supply lasts. Each Penn State student in attendance will receive—at the end of the coffeehouse—a voucher for a serving of Berkey Creamery ice cream.

Classical Coffeehouse is presented in partnership with the Blue & White Society and the Penn State Alumni Association. Penn State Council of LionHearts also provides support.

For information about Sybarite5 and other no-cost engagement activities, go to Fab Five.

Watch the ensemble’s “Why I Play Music” video.

See Sybarite5 perform a cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes.”