Group overview

The Girsky Quartet was formed in 2012 when Artur Girsky and Natasha Bazhanov (Seattle Symphony violinists), Julie Whitton (Seattle Symphony violist) and Rowena Hammill (Los Angeles Opera cellist) performed Shostakovich String Quartet no. 1 at the first ever Club Shostakovich in Seattle. Since then the quartet has explored more Shostakovich quartets, as well as works by Beethoven, Schubert, Prokofiev and Mendelssohn. They have performed for Vashon Chamber Music, Chamber Music San Juans, Chamber Music at Richmond Beach, Northwest Focus Live on KING FM radio, and in November 2015 will tour the Los Angeles area for the Music Guild and Gold Coast Chamber Music series.

Beginning in the 2015-16 season they will embark on the Vashon Beethoven Quartet Project, a chronological presentation of all the Beethoven masterworks in a lecture-recital format.


Individual Bios

Artur Girsky (violin)

Born in Riga, Latvia, into a family of violinists, Artur Girsky began playing violin at age 5. He studied with Maya Glezarova at the Moscow Central Music School and with Felix Andrievsky at the Royal College of Music in London. Girsky won Third Prize at the International Violin Competition of Naples and he served as Concertmaster of the Moscow Soloists chamber orchestra under the baton of world-renowned violist Yuri Bashmet. In 1997 Girsky joined The Florida Orchestra as Principal Second Violin. He has been a member of the Seattle Symphony since 2006 and is also a member of the Girsky Quartet.


Natasha Bazhanov (violin)

Born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Natasha Bazhanov began playing violin at the age of 5. After winning several regional youth competitions, she made her solo debut with Ural State Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 9 and later was invited to Moscow Central Music School to join the class of professor Belenky. She was one of five people chosen to participate in Sir Yehudi Menuhin's masterclass during his historic visit to Moscow. After graduating with honors, Bazhanov was accepted to the Moscow conservatory and was touring extensively throughout Europe, taking part in festivals such as Schleswig- Holstein, Evian, Bonn, Schloss Ort. After moving to the United States, she became a member of the Florida Orchestra's violin section and later the principal second violinist. In 2006 she relocated to Seattle to join the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and also plays regularly with Seattle Opera.


Rowena Hammill (cello)

Rowena Hammill is the Associate Principal Cello of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. She divides her time between LA and Vashon Island, Washington, where she is Artistic Director of Vashon Chamber Music and co-curator of the Seattle chamber music series Club Shostakovich. A graduate of the Indiana University School of Music, she was teaching assistant to Janos Starker before being appointed Professor of Cello at the University of Northern Iowa and later at California State Northridge. She was Assistant Principal Cello of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for ten years and since moving to Washington she has played regularly in the Seattle Symphony and Opera Orchestras. Originally from Australia, she returned to Sydney in 2011 to join the first Australian World Orchestra.


Julie Whitton (viola)

Prior to joining the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2011, Ms. Whitton enjoyed time as a member of the Kansas City Symphony, Albany Symphony, Portland Symphony, among others. She has performed at festivals such as the Marlboro Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival. Ms. Whitton is an avid chamber musician in the Seattle area, performing on the Seattle Symphony and Vashon Island chamber music series. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and  exploring all of the natural beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer.



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