The Arnica String Quartet (Shin-young Kwon and Fumino Ando, violins; Charles Noble, viola; Heather Blackburn, cello) was founded in 2005 by four leading Portland musicians looking to explore the vastly rewarding repertoire for string quartet. Drawing from extensive experience as orchestral, solo, and chamber music performers, the Arnica Quartet is committed to performances of the highest quality. They have performed on concert series at the University of Portland, Parties of Note, Portland’s Old Church, Pacific University, Oregon Health Sciences University, Camerata Northwest, Astoria’s Liberty Theater, Camerata Musica, Classical Up Close, and Tacoma’s Second City Chamber Series.
Fumino Ando
Violinist Fumino Ando joined the Oregon Symphony in 2002. Born in Aichi, Japan, Fumino earned her B.M. from Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, an Artist Diploma from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and an M.M. from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to joining the Oregon Symphony, Fumino played with the New World Symphony in Miami, and served as the assistant concertmaster with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
A respected chamber musician, Fumino has also performed with several renowned summer music festivals, including Tanglewood, La Jolla, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the International Laureates Chamber Music Festival in Los Angeles, and Zephyr Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy. Fumino has won international awards from the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena, Italy, and the Netherlands’ Donemus Performance Prize for Dutch contemporary music.
Shin-young Kwon

Shin-young has been a member of the Oregon Symphony orchestra since 2004. She joined the Arnica String Quartet in 2005, and is a founding member of the Portland-based string quartet Mousai Remix since 2011.

In 1996, Shin-young transferred from Seoul National University to the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg and earned both her B.M. and M.M. She later completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at Indiana University as a student of Miriam Fried. Shin-young’s dissertation is a survey of string quartets by minor composers of the Classical period.

Shin-young has been coached by Atar Arad, James Buswell, Isidore Cohen, Glenn Dicterow, Alexander Kerr, Peter Salaf, János Starker, Sheryl Staples, Alan de Veritch, Zvi Zeitlin, and members of the Orion, Juilliard, Chicago, and Takács quartets.

She has also participated in a number of music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, the Colorado Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West, the New York String Seminar, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Taos School of Music.

Charles Noble

Charles Noble has been assistant principal viola of the Oregon Symphony since 1995. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Oregon Symphony, as well as with the orchestras of the Cascade and Sunriver music festivals in central Oregon.

Charles holds degrees from the University of Puget Sound, the University of Maryland, and the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, where his primary teachers were Joyce Ramée, Joseph de Pasquale, Michael Tree, and Roberto Díaz. Charles has won several prizes and awards, including the C.D. Jackson Award at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Israel Dorman Memorial Award at Peabody, and first prize at the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle Frances Walton Competition.

In summer, Charles serves as principal viola of the Sunriver Music Festival. He has also played with the Oregon Bach Festival orchestra since 1996, is a frequent performer at the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, and was a participant in the 2015 Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City. In 2002, 2004, and 2006, Charles was a featured performer at the International Viola Society’s annual Congress.

In addition to his orchestral work, Charles is an active chamber musician. He is a founding member of both the Ethos and Arnica String Quartets, and has been a member of the Third Angle String Quartet since 2014. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Charles teaches viola at the University of Portland. He plays on a 1997 Gabrielle Kundert viola.

Heather Blackburn
A native of New York, Heather holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and Washington State University. She was a member of the Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra for six years, and served as acting cello in the Oregon Symphony. She has also participated in numerous summer festivals including the Cascade Music Festival, as assistant principal cello; the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Sunriver Music Festival. A chamber musician in demand, Ms. Blackburn has appeared on many Northwest series including Second City in Tacoma, Mostly Nordic in Seattle, Chamber Music on Tap in Portland and the Ragland Classical Series in Klamath Falls. Last spring Heather was a featured performer with the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s company premiere of Opus 50, in 10 performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio. As a founding member of Portland’s Ethos Quartet, Heather performed live radio shows on KING FM in Seattle and KBPS FM in Portland. She was lauded by the Oregonian for her “burnished tone” during the quartet’s acclaimed Beethoven Cycle.
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