Said to display “virtuosity of the utmost distinctive order” (Splash Magazine)Barkada Quartet is the first saxophone quartet to capture the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition’s coveted Grand Prize by winning all five rounds of competition.

Formed in 2011 at the Indiana University Bloomington Jacobs School of Music (JSoM), Barkada Quartet’s individual members share a friendship and musical camaraderie of such strength that their performances are said to be reminiscent of “watching a group of men having a chat at the water cooler.” With each passing season, the Quartet launches increasingly ambitious projects aimed towards establishing a holistic educational program that emphasizes the creative power of social interaction and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Barkada Quartet’s first performance of 2015 at the 37th United States Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium featured the world premiere of “Cloud Physics”—a newly commissioned work for saxophone quartet by composer Gabriel Lubell. “Cloud Physics”was the second original work written for Barkada Quartet and the first of a large-scale commissioning project featuring compositions of current and former JSoM students & faculty. Titled Root Movement, this project also includes new works by composers Elliott Bark, David Dzubay, Luke Ellard, Robert Esrock, John Leszczysnki, and Eric Lindsay.  The complete collection of Root Movement compositions will be featured during the Quartet’s April 2015 concert tour.

The Quartet’s 2014-15 season also featured the release of their debut, self-produced album, Aventura. Recorded May 2014 and released during the Quartet’s five-day residency at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in October 2014, Aventura is a collection of original works for saxophone quartet by composers David Maslanka, David Salleras Quintana, and David Werfelmann; each of which played a significant role in Barkada’s development from 2011-14.

Barkada Quartet’s past performances have garnered international recognition. The Quartet was one of just four American chamber ensembles invited to participate in the open division of the 8th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition & Festa in May 2014. The Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition’s Grand Prize Winner’s Tour sent Barkada Quartet on a weeklong concert tour throughout Northern Italy in summer 2013 as part of an annual collaboration between Fischoff and the Emilia Romagna Festival, and during the 2012 Fischoff Double Gold Medal Winner’s Tour, the Quartet presented concerts at Andrews University, Indiana University South Bend, Valparaiso State University, Culver Academies, and the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Their October 2012 concert at the Music Institute of Chicago was broadcast on 98.7 WFMT—Chicago’s Classical and Folk Music Radio.

Although geographic distance separates its members, deep personal bonds continue to guide Barkada Quartet’s artistry. Whether it’s a Skype conversation, a long string of e-mails leading up to a performance engagement, or letting the air out of a stressful rehearsal with a deck of cards and a few well-known games, shared experiences away from the saxophone have served to heighten the musical gains achieved through long hours of practice. Above all, Barkada Quartet seeks to remind its listeners that chamber music is known historically as “the music of friends.” It is the Quartet’s hope that continuing to present virtuosic and carefree public performances, thoughtful artist-composer collaborations, and meaningful educational outreach to its audiences will motivate others to explore chamber music in a way that will carry on this tradition.

Barkada Quartet is Christopher ElchicoShane Rathburn, Steven Lawhon, and Justin Polyblank

Past Members include Martí Comas