Internationally acclaimed musician Julia Sakharova (second from right) has joined the Arianna String Quartet as its new second violinist. Also pictured are (from left) John McGrosso, Joanna Mendoza and Kurt Baldwin. (Photo by Arianna String Quartet)

Audiences taking in the Arianna String Quartet this fall will notice a new face among the group.

Internationally acclaimed musician Julia Sakharova has joined the quartet as a second violinist, replacing violinist David Gillham. She is a new assistant professor of music at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, of which the Arianna is the resident quartet. Going forward she’ll share the stage with violinist John McGrosso, violist Joanna Mendoza and cellist Kurt Baldwin.

Sakharova’s appointment in the Arianna marks the conclusion of a yearlong international search. She has a distinguished 25-year career as a soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and orchestral performer. Most recently, she held the position of concertmaster with the Tupelo (Miss.) Symphony Orchestra and assistant concertmaster with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham.

Sakharova was born in Moldova and raised in Russia. She made her solo orchestral debut at age eight with the Moldovan Philharmonic Orchestra. She moved to the United States, earned her master’s degree from The Juilliard School in New York and has gone on to perform worldwide from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Russia and on to western and southern Europe, Japan and Venezuela, where she made her South American solo debut with the Caracas Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Arianna’s upcoming 2012-13 season, will include a four-concert series at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. The quartet will perform “Celebration” at 8 p.m. Sept. 7. The show is aptly titled, as it will be Sakharova’s first performance with the Arianna and the quartet’s first show of the season. Composer and violist Kenji Bunch will join the group on stage to perform his string quintet “String Circle,” a piece he composed for ASQ’s own Joanna Mendoza.

The second concert “Passport: Latin America” will feature work from and inspired by South America. It will begin at 8 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Touhill. Flutist Alberto Almarza will perform with the group.

The quartet will perform the highly anticipated program “Razumovsky” at 8 p.m. March 1 with an extended evening featuring Beethoven’s three Op.59 Razumovsky Quartets. The Arianna’s performance of these three quartets, all in one evening, is a St. Louis first.

The group will close out its 2012-13 Touhill series at 8 p.m. May 3 with “Voices of Spring.” The quartet will begin the evening with Mozart’s String Quartet in G Major, K. 387, nicknamed “Spring,” and follow with a performance of French composer Henri Dutilleux’s “Ainsi la nuit.” The concert will conclude with  Robert Schumann’s eloquent String Quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3.

For all of the performances the doors will open at 7:10 p.m. for a pre-show discussion with the group. Tickets for the shows are $25. They are on sale now at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at or by phone at 314-516-4949.

Carla Gibson

Carla Gibson