Echéa Quartet performers from the Royal Academy of Music in London include, from left to right: Aliayta Foon-Dancoes, Eliza Millett, Clara Loeb and Emily Earl. Photo provided

Echéa Quartet performers from the Royal Academy of Music in London include, from left to right: Aliayta Foon-Dancoes, Eliza Millett, Clara Loeb and Emily Earl. Photo provided

Four talented musicians bring chamber music to Langley stage

  • Friday, August 16, 2019 1:42pm
  • Life


When The Beatles first landed on American soil in what was dubbed the “British Invasion,” the world of music was forever altered.

Now, more than 50 years later, a new and powerful Fab Four is making a name for itself in the upper echelons of chamber music – and they happen to be dropping onto the WICA stage in Langley on Aug. 30.

At first glance, Eliza Millett, Aliayta Foon-Dancoes, Emily Earl and Clara Loeb could be just any foursome of 20-something besties frolicking down the street, laughing and chatting on an extended road trip. But all that changes when they bound onto a stage as the Echéa Quartet, dressed like regal divas and carefully sliding bows onto waiting violins, viola and violoncello.

The instruments spring to life under the expert hands of these highly trained musicians from the Royal Academy of Music in London. The room goes silent, and it’s obvious that something extraordinary is about to occur.

The foursome came together in 2017 as students from the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S., forming the Echéa Quartet and quickly blossoming under the tutelage of world masters. Similar to the Juilliard School of Music in New York, London’s Royal Academy of Music is Europe’s crème de la crème of performing arts conservatories.

As WICA board member Bill Nesbeitt puts it, the Academy is “no slouch at all.”

Nesbeitt should know, being among the select few violinists to have been offered a coveted spot and a scholarship to study at Juilliard as a young man.

Nesbeitt opted instead to accept an appointment to the United States Military Academy West Point and served as an officer in the U.S. Army, but he never lost his abiding love for the arts. His ongoing connections to the world of orchestral music played a crucial part in bringing Echéa Quartet to the Whidbey Island Center of the Arts this month.

It’s no small feat to wrangle this wildly popular quartet to South Whidbey, as they happen to be in the throes of a whirlwind North American tour at the moment. Currently performing in Canadian venues from Banff to Alberta, Vancouver and Victoria, the vivacious foursome is dropping into Langley on Aug. 29, performing on the 30th, and jetting back out again.

Echéa Quartet performers from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Photo provided

Echéa Quartet performers from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Photo provided

Globe-trotting is hardly anything new to the award-winning tunemasers of Echéa, with a list of accomplishments, performances and prizes from the likes of the International Anton Rubinstein Chamber Music Competition in Düsseldorf, Germany. They’ve also been semi-finalists in the Royal Overseas-League Music Competition, performed at the Musikverein in Vienna, and appeared in collaboration with Marin Alsop at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The list goes on to include touring Virginia as the Fellowship Quartet at Wintergreen Performing Arts and as a member of Le Dimore del Quartetto in Italy. But it’s not all high-brow music.

Echéa’s dedication to the performance of “new music” has taken them to the Krama Contemporary Music Festival in Athens, and their affinity for education prompted them to create and perform in a family show at the Waterperry Opera Festival based on Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.”

Regardless of how far Echéa Quartet has already been in the short time since graduating from London’s Royal Academy of Music, it’s clear they have many more miles to go in flourishing careers. After another year touring as the Academy’s Fellowship String Quartet for 2019/20, they plan to go professional.

More in Life

Rod and Gun Club a catch for the community

An 83-year-old South Whidbey institution dedicated to social activities and outdoor sports… Continue reading

Doug and Julianne Blynn from Boston bought the hotdog stand on June 11. Photo provided
Hot diggity! New stand launches in Oak Harbor

A new hot dog stand is finding its footing in Oak Harbor.… Continue reading

The plant-based meat alternative is often used as a substitute for hamburgers but Zeffreys encourages experimentation. Photo by Brandon Taylor
New biz is meatless in Freeland

After spending 12 years in New York, a Freeland native has returned… Continue reading

Belov artwork shown at Schouten Gallery during July

Rob Schouten Gallery will present “Facade: What Lies Beneath the Surface,” July… Continue reading

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
                                Kevin Tyler Lucas has collected 500 books within the last two weeks from donors, all of which he hopes will find new homes.
Seeking homes for unwanted books

An avid book lover is asking the community to help him save… Continue reading

New Freeland frozen yogurt business stays cool

Starting a new business can be a big risk, especially during a… Continue reading

Summer delight: A scenic bike ride and a pie

Grab your bike helmet, it’s time to register for the fifth annual… Continue reading

Coupeville man a valedictorian at Dartmouth

SEBASTIAN WURZRAINER, of Coupeville, is one of Dartmouth College’s six valedictorians from… Continue reading

Oak Harbor student on Marquette dean’s list

Oak Harbor native Callie Nuttall named to Marquette University’s spring 2020 Dean’s… Continue reading

Keep your germs, cover your face in style

It was once the look for bandits, ninjas and dentists. Now it’s… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Whidbey’s other pandemic: It’ll make you buggy

By Harry Anderson The pandemic is getting worse. The death toll here… Continue reading

Going to the dogs, and occasional cat

Dogs don’t chase after this ambulance. They ride inside. What’s up with… Continue reading