The Castalia String Quartet was formed in 2019 by Uli Speth (violin I ), Debrah Devine (violin II), Amy Tompkins (viola) and Ruth Berry; These musicians work artistically in upper Catskills, Mohawk Valley, Central and Southern Tier regions of New York State.
The quartet named itself after Castalia, a figure of Greek mythology who was said to inspire artists through the waters of the fountain of Delphi.
The debut performance of the Castalia String Quartet was originally scheduled to take place in the spring of 2020, at the Wilber Mansion/CANO in Oneonta; it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a long time to wait for a debut, but finally, a year later, the quartet was happy to be included in the well-conceived and carefully organized Hartwick College Music Department 2021 Faculty Showcase concert in celebration of International Women’s Day 2021.
The quartet performed a string quartet by Amy Beach, recording it at the Atrium of the Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta, NY, and submitted the recording to be merged with those of other Hartwick College Music faculty. This concert was broadcast by Hartwick College on Facebook and YouTube on March 6, 2021.
Perhaps, this long-deferred debut of the Castalia Quartet signals the 2021 spring equinox. As vaccinations promise a respite from pandemic isolation, let us hope the Muses renew appreciative audiences for our music.
“Castalia” defined: A source of poetic inspiration.
Castalia was the name of a nymph who, depending upon the version of the myth one reads, either threw herself into a spring at Delphi, or was transformed into the spring at Delphi; both versions of the myth agree that she did this in order to evade the pursuit of Apollo. Subsequent to this evasion and transformation, Apollo made her the guardian of the spring. The spring was then attributed as a source of inspiration for Apollo and the Muses (the Muses were sometimes called Castalides because of their association with the spring).