An emerging young "ensemble to watch" (Hyde Park Herald), The Poiesis Quartet is the 2023 Grand Prize winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Founded during Oberlin Conservatory’s Advanced Quartet Seminar program in Fall 2022, within their first year playing together, they also received Fischoff’s Senior Strings Gold Medal and the Lift Every Voice prizes, and Gold Medal and BIPOC Prie at the 2023 St. Paul String Quartet Competition. In January 2023, the Quartet completed an international tour in Uruguay with artistic residencies in Punta del Diablo and Punta del Este’s premiere concert series, “Conciertos del Este”. Performances included the world premiere of Alejandro Melo’s composition “Elegy” which was dedicated to the Quartet. In October 2023, Poiesis embarked on a tour of the Midwestern U.S. as part of their Fischoff Gold Medal prize. Highlights included a recording of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson's Calvary Quartet at Guarneri Hall in Chicago, educational outreach at five middle and high schools in Des Moines, IA and South Bend, IN, and a feature on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series broadcast live on Chicago's WFMT. Poiesis presented the opening concert of the Rocky River Chamber Music Society's 65th season, including the Cleveland premiere of a new song cycle by Cleveland Orchestra trombonist Rick Stout with illustrious mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby. For this performance, the quartet was lauded as "agile collaborators" with an “extraordinary, honeyed group sound” (Cleveland Classical).
Currently, the Poiesis Quartet is continuing quartet studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where they are primarily coached by the Ariel Quartet. As graduates of Oberlin College & Conservatory, they have previously been mentored by Sibbi Bernhardsson of the Pacifica Quartet and the Verona Quartet. Additionally, Poiesis is grateful to have worked with Kirsten Docter of the Cavani Quartet, Sandy Yamamoto of the Miró Quartet, Philip Setzer and Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet, Matt Albert of Eighth Blackbird, and renowned soloist Jinjoo Cho.
Comprised of violinists Sarah Ma (21) and Max Ball (21), cellist Drew Dansby (23), and violist Jasper de Boor (22), members of the Poiesis Quartet have attended programs such as Kneisel Hall, the Perlman Music Program, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, and Madeline Island Chamber Music’s Fellowship program. In addition to their performance degrees from Oberlin, Sarah and Drew are also completing Bachelor’s degrees in American Studies and Chemistry (respectively), Jasper is double majoring in violin performance with a minor in baroque violin, and Max is pursuing a minor in jazz studies. When not playing chamber music, Poiesis loves to learn new languages on Duolingo, share delicious ice cream cakes, and take long walks on the beach.
The name Poiesis is derived from the ancient Greek word ποιεῖν, which means "to make"; particularly, to create something that has never been made before.
As a string quartet made up of inter- and multi-disciplinary young artists, Poiesis seeks to program music of all styles and genres with an emphasis on platforming works by emerging and underrepresented composers, and perform each work through a new perspective. The Poiesis Quartet strives to create unique moments of synchronicity, sensitivity, and verve in each performance.
The Poiesis Quartet currently performs on instruments and bows generously on loan from Jonathan Solars Fine Violins.
Sarah Ying Ma (they/she) is pursuing an A.D. at the University of Cincinnati's CCM where she studies with Kristin Lee and is mentored in chamber music by the Ariel Quartet. Sarah was named a 2024 Performance Today Young Artist in Residence with host Fred Childs, and is the recent 2nd Prizewinner of the 2023 Dallas International Violin Competition: "Her impassioned account was gripping from start to finish. She commanded that rarest of effects, pianissimos at the threshold of audibility that still radiated intensity" (The Dallas Morning News). As a soloist, Sarah has performed internationally with the Dallas Chamber Symphony, Ensemble 212, the Accademia D’Archi Arrigoni, and many more. Sarah was featured in Show 393 on NPR’s “From the Top'' and was a winner of the 2021 National YoungArts Competition. They have attended Heifetz International Music Institute and Kneisel Hall, and was the Dorothy Richard Starling fellow at Aspen Music Festival as a student of Robert Lipsett, Donald Weilerstein, and Paul Kantor. Sarah was a laureate of the 2019 Cooper International Competition sponsored by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins and the Anthony Quinn Foundation. They are grateful to have worked with Almita Vamos, Robert Levin, and Aaron Rosand, among others. After transferring from undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School with Donald Weilerstein and Li Lin & Masao Kawasaki in the Pre-College Division, Sarah holds a B.M. in Violin Performance from Oberlin Conservatory, where they studied with Sibbi Bernhardsson. As a 2023 Oberlin College Research Fellow and 2023 Gilman Scholar of the U.S. Department of State, they also received two minors from Oberlin College in Comparative American Studies and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies.
Max Ball (they/he) is a current A.D. student at the University of Cincinnati's CCM, studying with Kristin Lee and quartet with the Ariel Quartet. He has a particular passion for chamber music, putting together a number of recitals, and attending summer programs such as the BUTI String Quartet Intensive, Encore Chamber Music Institute, and Madeline Island Fellowship Program. Alongside classical music, he is also pursuing a minor in jazz studies, studying under Gerald Cannon and Jay Ashby, and joining several ensembles at Oberlin. A particular highlight is the PI (performance and improvisation) ensemble, in which players across all departments of the conservatory join forces with guest artists from around the world, playing many varied styles of music. Max holds a B.M. in Violin Performance with a minor in Jazz Studies from Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Sibbi Bernhardsson.
Jasper de Boor (any pronouns) is a recent graduate of Oberlin Conservatory where they double majored in violin and viola with David Bowlin and Kirsten Docter. Currently, they study viola and chamber music at the University of Cincinnati's CCM with Ayane Kozasa and the Ariel Quartet. Aside from their two majors, they love to sight read music, play Baroque violin, piano and sleep.
Drew Dansby (he/him) is a fourth-year double-degree student at Oberlin College and Conservatory, studying cello under Darrett Adkins and chemistry. Drew joins the cello section of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra beginning in the 2023-24 season, becoming the youngest member of the orchestra at 22. He has served as an acting cellist in the Charlotte Symphony, associate principal cellist of the New York String Orchestra, and principal cellist of the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Originally from Charlotte, NC, Drew made his solo debut with the Charlotte Symphony at age 15. Drew is also a founding member of the Charlotte Piano Trio, which has performed 14 concerts over 5 years across North Carolina, and was the founder and director of the 2022 Myers Park Summer Series. Drew has been recognized as a National YoungArts winner and gold medalist in the Cleveland Cello Society competition. Drew was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA for three summers, including as a violinist in 2018 and as principal cellist in 2019, and he was the first member in the history of the orchestra to be accepted on two instruments. As a winner of Oberlin's concerto competition, he will perform David Baker's Concerto for Cello and Jazz Band with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble in April 2024.