Real Vocal String Quartet began with violinist Irene Sazer’s inspiration to combine her musical passions: chamber music, improvising, composing, and singing. With violinist Alisa Rose, violist Dina Maccabee, and cellist Jessica Ivry, Sazer’s vision sparked the creation of a truly collaborative ensemble that freely mixes and ultimately transcends genres.
RVSQ’s surprisingly broad repertoire embraces the diverse influences of all four players, from classical, jazz, and rock, to songs and styles from West Africa, Brazil, and rural America. Yet while four distinct voices can be heard, in seven years of performing together, the Quartet has achieved a true group sound.
Starting from the eclectic, musically sophisticated base of the San Francisco Bay Area, RVSQ has found a national audience since releasing their debut CD in 2010. Recent accomplishments include:
- Selection by the U.S. State Department to perform as musical ambassadors with the American Voices program, which will send RVSQ to 5 countries in Europe for concerts and educational programs in Fall 2012.
- Quartet Residencies at University of Delaware School of Music and Cal Poly Pomona
- Booking by nationally recognized presenters including San Francisco Performances, Folk Yeah, U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and Switchboard Festival
- Appearances on local and national television (including appearance with Canadian Grammy Nominee Feist on The Tonight Show) and radio
- Press coverage in national publications including Christian Science Monitor, Paste, Relix, Strings Magazine, and The Strad.
- Collaboration and/or recording credits with nationally recognized artists including Feist, Mirah, Beats Antique, Vetiver, Aaron Novik, and Spencer Day
RVSQ’s second album, produced by Lee Townsend, will be released in October 2012.
Irene Sazer is an improvising violinist, composer, arranger, and singer whose unique style combines world and roots music with classical, jazz, and pop sensibilities. Known internationally as a founding member of the Turtle Island String Quartet, Sazer’s career has encompassed success as a concerto soloist, a concertmaster, an established recording artist, and a recognized educator of music and improvisation. She founded and directs the School of Strings and String Improvisation in Berkeley, California. Sazer’s own recording First Things First highlights her original voice as a singer and songwriter. An in-demand genre-hopping violinist, Irene has recorded and/or performed with Jai Uttal, Ali Akbar Khan, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, Smoky Robinson, David Grisman, Linda Rondstadt, Bjork, Maria Marquez, and Billy Joel. Passionate about combining her musical interests in new ways, Sazer continues to push boundaries, exploring the world with her violin, her voice, and her imagination.
Violinist, improviser, and composer Alisa Rose pursues music across many genres. In addition to Real Vocal String Quartet, Alisa is also a member of Grammy nominated Quartet San Francisco. Alisa has played with diverse artists including singer Michelle Shocked, A.J. Roach and the Strange Pilgrims on PBS’s Song of the Mountains, with the Keisa Duo at Carnegie Hall, with Quartet San Francisco on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and with the bluegrass band 49 Special at the 2009 Rockygrass Festival where they took first prize in the band competition in 2008. Alisa received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied with Camilla Wicks and Bettina Mussumeli. Other performance highlights include appearances with Martha Katz, Bauhaus, ALO, Anais Mitchell, and Josh Ritter. Alisa teaches young violinists at the SF Friend’s School and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music preparatory department.
Dina Maccabee performs with some of the Bay Area’s most eclectic ensembles as a violist, violinist, and vocalist. Dina’s albums of original music include Who Do You Suppose You Are? (Antephonic, 2010) and three CDs with the collaborative duo Ramon and Jessica (Porto Franco, 2011). She has performed across the U.S., Russia and Europe with Beth Custer’s live film score project, My Grandmother, and songwriter Vienna Teng. In 2009 she was music director of Fire Throws for New York’s Ripe Time Theater and Jewlia Eisenberg’s Charming Hostess. Active on stage or in the studio with Wilco, Donovan, Sufjan Stevens, Tin Hat, Vetiver, The Cuts, Vienna Teng, Spencer Day, Morning Benders, Thao and Mirah, and Carla Bozulich, Dina has composed scores for Shotgun Players, Just Theater, and several San Francisco filmmakers. An alumna of the Henry Mancini Institute and University of Michigan School of Music, Dina teaches youth and adult string players in San Francisco. She was recently selected for a composer’s residency at Byrdcliffe Arts Colony.
In addition to holding down the groove in Real Vocal String Quartet, cellist Jessica Ivry plays with avant-cabaret composer and singer Amy X Neuburg & the Cello ChiXtet. An instructor of music at College of Marin, Jessica has also toured with the Beth Custer Ensemble, singer-songwriter Vienna Teng, and Balkan women’s choir Kitka. For San Francisco company A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Jessica scored and performed original music for The Bright River, a hip-hop retelling of Dante’s Inferno (2005), and Death of a Salesman (2007). Jessica is featured on the Grammy nominated album Blueprint of a Lady by jazz vocalist Nneena Freelon. In summers 2008 and 2009, Jessica performed in Poland and Ukraine with The Ark Project, an ensemble of Bay Area and New York Klezmer and Balkan musicians that has been featured on Spark, KQED public television’s series highlighting independent Bay Area artists. Jessica holds degrees from Skidmore College and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.