The Mexican string quartet won out of 15 other acclaimed string ensembles that auditioned
Established in the 1940s, Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts (INBAL) is part of a larger public organization created to preserve artistic heritage, promote creativity, and develop arts education and research.
The CHROMA string quartet won its position with INBA after responding to a national call for a resident string group. To honor their new role, the group will be known as the Fine Arts String Quartet as of January 2023.
Formed in 2015 at the Veracruz University (UV), the group comprises violinists Ilya Ivanov and Carlos Quijano, violist Félix Alanís, and cellist Manuel Cruz. All its members — except Ivanov, who is Bulgarian — hail from Veracruz.
In addition to performing together, the quartet members are also dedicated educators and orchestral musicians. Ivanov has performed solo and in ensembles across nine countries; Cruz and Alanís hold teaching positions at UV, and along with Quijano, are members of the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra.
“We had only a month to prepare, analyze the repertoire and seek advice from experienced musicians,” Alanís told the UV paper.
“In a concert, the public attends to listen to us and we have the commitment to communicate and transmit emotions,” added Quijano on performance and auditioning. “Instead, here [at INBA] it was about putting ourselves on trial, evaluating strengths and weaknesses, comparing ourselves with other musicians. Therefore, our commitment was to achieve performance without making any mistakes.”
As the Fine Arts Quartet, the group will give 20 chamber music concerts a year, while also participating in performances with other instruments across Mexico and abroad.
“It has been an advantage working together for a long time,” said Alanís. “Since our integration in 2015, we have achieved the collection of a vast repertoire. We already knew some of the works that were requested of us in Fine Arts, but prior preparation required us to conceive everything at the highest level,” he added. “We [competed] against very experienced musicians, against quartets with more than 20 years of experience and against ensembles that were integrated specifically for this occasion.”
The group’s various awards include the “Manuel M. Ponce” award at the Aguascalientes Chamber Music Festival and first place in the “Mateo Oliva” National Chamber Music Contest.