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March 2023

We recently sat down with violinist Amelia Sie to talk about the Arrow Quartet, GEMS’ newest fiscally sponsored group…

Sie Amelia Headshot webAmelia, could you tell us about your quartet members, how you met, why you chose to form an ensemble, and how you arrived at the name “Arrow Quartet”?

The four of us met as students in the Historical Performance program at The Juilliard School. I was personally drawn to Vivian, Jimmy, and Chelsea, because of their honesty, thoughtfulness, and conversational style of playing! I would like to think that they feel the same about me, too.

The idea to create the Arrow Quartet was born in Chelsea’s car. I had asked her for a ride to Boston over winter break of 2021, and as she was driving us, we got talking about how much we wanted to create a quartet. Chelsea asked me what we should name the quartet. Her dog, Arrow, was sitting next to me, so I said “the Arrow Quartet!” and the name stuck. I think it’s particularly fitting because it also implies direction, which as historical performers living in the 21st century is something that we think about on multiple levels—historically, professionally, and musically, to name a few. And Arrow is hands down the perfect dog, so naming the quartet after her is the least we can do to honor her.

There are so many string quartets playing on modern and period instruments. What does the Arrow Quartet bring to the genre?

The Arrow Quartet brings two things to the genre: A fresh take on making a more accessible and inclusive concert experience, and a desire to expand the historical performance canon past the standard classical music repertoire. The quartet is so lucky to have musicians who specialize in genres outside HP and modern classical performance. Jimmy is an incredible fiddler; Vivian has extensively studied the music of the Americas; and Chelsea was in a rock band before college! Their interests outside of classical performance are such a gift for the quartet, because it expands the possibilities of pieces we feel comfortable and are excited to perform.

For me, as an Asian-American person, I know too well the feeling of out-of-placeness and how it has prevented me from trying new things. I think that the classical music concert experience can give people that feeling sometimes. Therefore, it’s really important to me that, no matter what music we play or what venue we play in, we’re creating a welcoming environment for all listeners to come and take in the experience in a way they feel is most truthful for them. This can happen in multiple ways, like having a sliding scale ticketing system, speaking to the audience, or performing in a way that inspires the audience to listen with honesty. I’m incredibly grateful that Vivian, Jimmy, and Chelsea so ardently feel the same. Their willingness to give each other and the audience their full selves makes every performance meaningful!

If you were to look out five years, what are your hopes and dreams for the Arrow Quartet?

We would love to make an album! We’re constantly sharing music and possible program themes with each other, and have a Google Doc overflowing with album ideas. Currently, we’re thinking about creating an album on either the music of the Americas or Minuets across time and genres. It would be so special to have either (or both!) of these out in the world to share with people.

Why did the Arrow Quartet choose to become a GEMS fiscal sponsored ensemble?

We chose GEMS because we strongly connected with their mission. GEMS is one of the few early music corporations that clearly states a goal to expand and diversify the early music audience, and it has the evidence to back it up through the Open Gates Project. This is something that is very important to us, because we truly believe that music is for all people to experience and enjoy.

When and where can we hear the Arrow Quartet perform?

We have a few performances coming up, in New York City and beyond!

On 3/24, we’ll be performing Mozart’s Quartet in F Major, K 590 on our violist Jimmy Drancsak’s recital. It’s at 5:30 pm in Morse Hall at The Juilliard School.

On 3/25 and 3/26, we’ll be taking our program “It Takes A Village” on the road. This program explores patron-composer relationships from the 1600–1800s, and features music by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Our two performances are:

3/25 at 4:00pm at the Dedham Museum & Archive in Dedham, MA

3/26 at 2:00pm at the Roger Williams University Performing Arts Center in Bristol, RI.

We have a few more concerts slated in the Spring and are just now finalizing the dates for those…we’ll make sure to update everyone! We’d love to see you there!


Visit the Arrow Quartet website for more info




GEMS is a non-profit corporation that supports and promotes the artists and organizations in New York devoted to early music — playing repertoire from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical periods.