CSMA welcomed the Stars Aligned Siblings for a free concert on Saturday, January 29, 2022 in Tateuchi Hall and livestreaming on CSMA’s YouTube channel. This all-sibling string quartet featuring Dustin, Starla, Valery and Colin presented a night of chamber music to inspire audiences of all ages.

We spoke with their father and manager Dustin Breshears to learn more about his talented children and what the audience can expect from the quartet’s performance in Tateuchi Hall.

Dustin Breshears, manager

How did your children become interested in music?

I used to manage a youth orchestra and when the oldest kids were ages three, two and one, I would take them with me once a week to watch the youth orchestra rehearse. The children were always very excited and interested. After a year when they were ages four, three and two, we decided to see if they could start lessons with the teachers that we knew well from the youth orchestra. By the time Colin came along he just followed suit.

How did they choose their instruments?

Starla chose the cello because it was big and had a deeper sound. She also liked the conductor of the youth orchestra who was a cello teacher and who became her first teacher. Dustin chose the violin because he wanted to have something different than Starla. Valery chose the same instrument as Dustin because she wanted to be like him. Colin started violin at age three, but by the time he was six, he was starting to play together with his older siblings. It was just natural for him to switch over to the viola and play quartets with them at that point.

What is it like to have such a musical family?

Being a musical family, all of the kids influence and push each other beyond what they can do on their own. The kids benefit from pushing and competing with each other, but also by being able to collaborate. There’s always some sort of solo, quartet or ensemble performance so our schedule is busy.

What are your children’s favorite pieces to play and why?

They are always excited to learn and perform new things. Their favorite pieces are usually whatever they’re rehearsing the most for upcoming performances. They have fun exploring the vast literature available for solo and chamber ensembles.

What activities outside of music do they enjoy?

All of the kids love playing tennis, ping-pong and wall ball. They are always playing together in the backyard with their younger siblings and during this Christmas break they played outside in the snow every day at their grandparent’s house.

Dustin enjoys reading about World War II and the Civil War. Dustin and Valery enjoy playing chess. Starla and Valery enjoy surprising the family with their baking and cooking skills. Starla enjoys making crocheted stuffed animals for her little sisters. Colin likes to write letters to friends and relatives and send them snail mail.

Could you talk about your experience studying with Dr. Ayke Agus and following the Daniel Heifetz Heifetz tradition?

Dr. Ayke Agus draws from her many years of experience playing chamber music with renowned international concert violinist and teacher Daniel Heifetz and his colleagues. She remembers the way Heifetz performed and taught chamber music, as well as his solo master classes at the University of Southern California. Studying with Dr. Agus is like having a direct link to Heifetz’s teaching. The kids have benefited greatly by learning things as they were taught by Heifetz.

What can the audience expect during your performance in Tateuchi Hall?

What the audience can expect is to see the quartet performing without music stands and without chairs (except for the cellist). They do this not only because they memorize their music so quickly, but also they are able to communicate with each other visually. This makes for a better chamber music ensemble, as well as a more entertaining experience for the audience. Visual and physical movements that they use to communicate are according to the Heifetz tradition.

Watch the Quartet’s concert on CSMA’s YouTube channel and subscribe so you don’t miss out!

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