Beo String Quartet
Jason Neukom, Violin
Andrew Giordano, violin
Sean Neukom, Viola
Ryan Ash, Cello
Beo Musicast Program I “Zelda,” cover by the Beo String Quartet Marc Mellits String Quartet No. 5 ”Waníyetu” V. smooth VI. eternal poal vortex VII. aggressive “People,” an original by the Beo String Quartet Sean Neukom Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 I. Largo II. Allegro moloto III. Allegretto IV. Largo V. Largo
Beo String Quartet embraces the breadth and depth available to a string quartet in the 21st-century. By crafting original music and projects, engaging listeners through entertainment and thoughtful demonstration, collaborating with living composers, performing quartet masterpieces in a wide array of settings, and exploring technology’s capacity as a musical and social tool, Beo is expanding the role of chamber musicians in today’s global culture. Now in its seventh season, Beo has performed over 100 concert works in the US and Europe–including over 45 world premieres.
In addition to its many recordings, videos, and covers, Beo regularly performs original works and projects – repertoire you cannot hear any other ensemble perform. Works such as Haydn Recycled and Projection1: Triple Quartet combine virtuosic quartet writing and staging in various forms that employs the use of electronics, pre-recorded music, video projections, live sound processing, and spatial audio manipulation. Beo’s newest original works, such as 19-20 and triggerLand, use video and animation to place a strong narrative focus on social issues.
Always looking to break the mold, Beo recently founded a recording label, NeuKraft Records, to more readily produce and distribute Beo-original projects without constraints of style or genre. NeuKraft Records has built a new, personalized recording studio space to conduct its recording, engineering, mastering, and live-streaming in-house using state-of-the-art equipment, giving Beo direct control over the quality of the final product and greatly simplifying the production process. Projects released on the label include string quartet masterpieces, original art songs, and long form concept albums.
Beo is actively involved in the contemporary music scene, with notable collaborations including works from Richard Danielpour, Marc Mellits, Missy Mazzoli, Lawrence Dillon, Joel Hoffman, and Charles Nichols. As part of its annual residency with the Charlotte New Music Festival, Beo hosts an annual Composition Competition. After a winning work is selected from 100+ submissions, the work is recorded and programmed frequently in Beo’s following season. Recordings of the winning works can be found on Beo’s website alongside other contemporary works.
Music education outreach is essential to the quartet’s vision. Beo has earned a reputation for its thoughtfully-crafted educational shows. Although disguised as entertainment, each show is designed to teach real chamber music skills and a love for classical music to students ranging from complete beginners to pre-professionals. Also in development is a publishing effort to make the student ensemble works of Richard Neukom, a strings educator with 40+ years experience, available to elementary, middle, and high-school string ensemble educators. In some cases, these pieces have solo parts for Beo to play so they can be used as part of our in-person clinics with student ensembles. Through its educational tours of elementary, middle, and high schools, short-term residencies at colleges and universities, and its annual residency at Dakota Chamber Music, Beo has shared these unique, engaging experiences with more than 3,500 students to date.
With new projects always in the works, be sure to stay in touch with all things Beo by subscribing to @beostringquartet on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and SoundCloud. Beo joined the roster of the Lisa Sapinkopf Artists in 2022.
Jason Neukom, violin
Jason Neukom is a founding member and violinist of the Beo String Quartet and has dedicated the majority of his career to chamber music both in performance and in education. An avid supporter of new music, he has given over one hundred chamber music world premieres and considers it very important to perform the music of today.
Jason’s passion for chamber music began while studying with the Ying Quartet at Dakota Chamber Music, a festival where he is now faculty. Prior to forming Beo, Jason was the first violinist of the Freya String Quartet from 2009-2015.
For Jason, music is a family affair, as he grew up playing music with both parents and his brother, Sean Neukom. Whether it was playing as a family string quartet for social functions or reading through one of his father’s recent compositions in the living room, music has always been a daily activity that was a major part in forming strong bonds to both his family and to sharing music. This has carried into Jason’s professional life, as he frequently performs the music of both Richard and Sean Neukom. Some of Jason’s proudest musical moments include recording an encore-style album of string quartet works with Freya written for him by both Richard and Sean Neukom (called ‘Snapshots’), and recording violin parts for two of Sean Neukom’s visionary albums (‘The Ghost and Mr. Able’ and ‘Dead Reckoning’).
Jason studied at Minot State University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, under the guidance of Dr. Jon Rumney, Piotr Milewski, and Professor Cyrus Forough, respectively. He has been awarded fellowships to programs such as the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy, the Britten Pears Festival Orchestra in England, and has held teaching positions and assistantships at programs such as the Cincinnati Starling Project and the New York Summer Music Festival. As a soloist, he has made several appearances with orchestra.
Mr. Neukom currently resides in Pittsburgh and serves as a concertmaster for Pittsburgh Festival Opera, as associate concertmaster of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, regularly performs with the West Virginia Symphony, the Wheeling Symphony, and has also performed with the Vancouver Symphony and Sarasota Orchestra. In addition to his frequent concerts, Jason maintains an active violin studio and enjoys writing arrangements and working on media projects for Beo.
Sean Neukom, viola
Composer, instrumentalist, and producer Sean Neukom began his musical journey as a violin student at the age of three. Joint lessons with his brother–taught by their father–laid the foundation for an intense love, respect, and appreciation for music, making music as brothers, and for new music as their composer father would write works to accommodate their level. This love of music took Sean to Minot State University where as a violinist he received a Bachelor in Music degree. While at MSU Sean’s musical curiosity led to the start of composition. At MSU, Sean composed for both the concert choir and the string ensemble. The latter for which a spatial work was written that had performers scattered across the room including trumpets in the scaffolds! Following Minot, Sean went on to the Cleveland Institute of Music to earn a Master of Music degree in violin performance.
Sean’s mainstay as a performer is as the violist, and as a founding member, of Beo String Quartet. Prior to Beo, Sean played with the Nashville Symphony, the Dunedin Philharmonic in New Zealand, and as principal 2nd violin with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
As a composer, Sean’s works cover a wide range of styles. His concert works have been commissioned by organizations such as the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Charlotte-based Fresh Ink new music series, the innovative multi-media music and dance group Cadence Collective out of Milwaukee, the Dayton Philharmonic, the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and most recently by the North Dakota Music Teachers National Association. Sean’s pop-art works are approached through the same creative means as his concert works, but with the goal of reaching ears both in and out of a concert hall. Some of Sean’s most exciting projects have been created for Beo String Quartet. This includes Projection1, a work that was written for three string quartets; but where all three parts are performed by Beo. To achieve this live, Beo plays amplified center stage and on either side of them are pre-recorded projected videos of Beo. The sound is designed to be localized to each quartet which creates a highly unique experience for each audience member. Such a project is just one example of works Sean has been creating for Beo in an effort to create one-of-a-kind chamber music.
Music production has been a passion of Sean’s over the past decade. What started as a want to understand the recording process quickly blossomed into a large home-studio operation. Now with over 60 recording projects and 9 albums under his belt, Sean is the artistic director for NeuKraft Records, Beo String Quartet’s own label. With an ambitious release schedule, NeuKraft Records aims to curate a specialized series of classical concept albums at the center of which lies a unique marriage of chamber music and storytelling not tied by the bounds of genre.
Ryan Ash, cello
Ryan Ash, cellist, earned his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying cello with Brandon Vamos (of the twice Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet) and piano with Dr. Yu-Chi Tai, and his Master of Music degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University with Dr. Tanya Carey, former president of the SAA and with whom he continued long-term teacher training for four additional years. Ryan also counts Dr. Louis Bergonzi and Dr. Karen Hendricks (cello), Caroline Fraser (piano), and Melanie Ron (early childhood music) among his teaching mentors. He has performed in masterclasses for Steven Doane, Richard Aaron, David Halen, Amit Peled, John Sharp, Wendy Warner, the Arianna, Biava, and Shanghai String Quartets.
Before relocating to Pittsburgh, Ryan performed frequently as a member of the Sinfonia da Camera, the Champaign-Urbana, Eastern Illinois, and Decatur Symphony Orchestras. His performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Trio for Two Cellos and Piano was also featured on Chicago’s classical radio station 98.7 WFMT. Ryan has since performed chamber music on the Holy Trinity Concert Series, OvreArts, Music on the Edge, Pittsburgh Concert Society, and also appeared with Resonance Works, Living Room Chamber Music Project, and the Westmoreland, Butler County, Huntington, Ohio Valley, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera orchestras.
Andrew Giordano, violin
A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Andrew Giordano began playing the violin at the age of five. He recently joined the forward-looking Beo String Quartet as their newest member and violinist. Before joining Beo, he was a founding member and performed with the award-winning Altius Quartet for nine seasons. As a member of Altius, Andrew won several awards and toured internationally in Europe, Asia, and Australia. the Altius Quartet recorded three albums on the Parma Records label: “Dress Code” (a crossover album), “Shostakovich String Quartets Nos 7, 8, and 9,” and “Quadrants Volume 3,” which is comprised of never-recorded works by living composers.
Andrew holds a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Indiana University where he studied with Kathleen Winkler, Federico Agostini, and Koichiro Harada. After graduating from Indiana, he went on to complete his Master of Music degree at Southern Methodist University under the tutelage of the late Emanuel Borok. From 2014-2017, Andrew and the Altius Quartet held the position of Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at University of Colorado Boulder and were mentored by the Takács Quartet. While at CU Boulder, Andrew also studied privately with Edward Dusinberre, Károly Schranz and Harumi Rhodes of the Takács Quartet.
In addition to performing, Andrew is a passionate teacher. Now in his eighteenth year of teaching, Andrew has taken several graduate-level pedagogy seminars and Suzuki Method teaching courses. Andrew and his wife Nathália Kato have a private teaching studio together, and actively perform as a violin/piano duo under the name “Duo Pragma.”
Andrew is passionate about enabling kids from underserved communities to study music, regardless of income. He is Artistic Director of Boulder MUSE, an El Sistema-type organization dedicated to providing group music lessons for young musicians who cannot afford to pay for private lessons.
Andrew plays on a 1928 Gaetano Gadda violin, and a bow made by David Samuels.