Berklee World Strings at the Kennedy Center's Conservatory Project, May 12

Margot Edwards
April 20, 2010
The Berklee World Strings, directed by Eugene Friesen
Photo by Jennifer Shanley

Berklee College of Music presents the Berklee World Strings, a 17-piece group directed by associate professor Eugene Friesen, performing a concert as part of the Kennedy Center's Conservatory Project, Wednesday, May 12, 6:00 pm, at the Terrace Theater, located at 2700 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. This is the seventh season of the Conservatory Project, the Kennedy Center's program showcasing students from America's finest music colleges and conservatories. Admission to the Terrace Theater is free, and early arrival is encouraged. The performance will be webcast live at

Over the past six years of Conservatory Project performances at the Kennedy Center, Berklee students have presented jazz, country, salsa, bluegrass, folk/rock, and now an improvising string orchestra.  Past performances can be viewed at the Kennedy Center's website.

The Berklee World Strings will give two additional performances during this road trip. On Tuesday, May 11, at 3:30 p.m., they perform at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY (1 or 9 train to 110th Street and Broadway). Admission is free and the event is open to the public. On Thursday, May 13, they play a private show for students at the Cicely Tyson School of Fine and Performing Arts in East Orange, NJ.

The Berklee World Strings are devoted to the art of ensemble playing and the development of new music that features improvisation and the rhythmic capabilities of string instruments and players. Drawing from Celtic, bluegrass, jazz, rock, and classical styles, the ensemble presents an exciting, original program that includes new arrangements of Pablo de Sarasate and James Scott Skinner tunes by student members Julgi Kang and Kimberley Fraser, and compositions by Friesen, Dimitri Shostakovich, Eddie Sauter, and George Gershwin. The group features Berklee's finest string players from countries around the world, including South Korea, the Czech Republic, Japan, Spain, Canada, and the U.S.

A graduate of the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Brazilian cellist Aldo Parisot, Friesen is active internationally as a concert artist, composer, conductor, and teacher. Friesen has won three Grammy Awards for his work with the Paul Winter Consort. His passion for the responsive flow of improvisatory music has led him to work and record with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Will Ackerman, Joe Lovano, and Dream Theater. 

The Berklee World Strings, directed by Eugene Friesen, include:


  • Julgi Kang, Seoul, Korea
  • Sue Buzzard, Amherst, NY
  • Jakub Trasak, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Rika Ikeda, Hyogo, Japan
  • Maureen Choi, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Maria Kowalski, Reading, PA
  • Navid Hejazi, Madrid, Spain
  • Trent Freeman, Comox, BC, Canada
  • Duncan Wickel, Asheville, NC
  • Pamela Cumming,  Ottawa, Canada
  • Kimberley Fraser, Sydney Mines, Canada
  • Christopher Dalton, Atlanta, GA
  • Alex Galle-From, Duluth, MN           
  • Malcolm Parson, Atlanta, GA
  • Eden Raiz, Solon, OH
  • Shinichiro Sakaino, Tokyo, Japan
  • Jake Joliff, Newburg, OR            


The Berklee String Department is a comprehensive contemporary department where string players come to work with world-renowned faculty on violin, viola, cello, harp, mandolin, and banjo. Whether it is swing or solo Bach, chamber music or chambergrass, blues or bluegrass, metal or Motown, string players at Berklee learn to play the music they love at the highest possible level of skill and artistic integrity.