About Us

Angela Bae, Violin
Justin DeFilippis, Violin
Benjamin Zannoni, Viola
Russell Houston, Cello

The Balourdet String Quartet was formed in 2018 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. In October of 2019, the quartet received the second prize at the Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark. Its members have attended festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Heifetz Institute, Kneisel Hall, Music Academy of the West, Sarasota Music Festival, and Taos School of Music. The varied musical backgrounds of all four members include education at Colburn Conservatory, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Northwestern University, and Rice University and chamber music coaching with members of the Borromeo, Brentano, Cavani, Cleveland, New Zealand, and Tokyo string quartets as well as Cho-Liang Lin. The Balourdet String Quartet recently attended the 2019 Aspen Music Festival Advanced String Quartet Studies program where it worked with the American, Escher, and Pacifica Quartets as well as James Dunham, Sylvia Rosenberg, and Donald Weilerstein. The Balourdet has also shared the stage with Cho-Liang Lin and performed Brahms Sextet No.1 with members of the Dover Quartet in summer 2019 at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Angela Bae began her musical aspirations at the age of three. At an early age, she attended preparatory schools in Korea, including the Seoul Art Center Academy and the Preparatory School of Korea under the Korea National University of Art, studying heavily with notable music professors, Junghyun Kim, and Namyoon Kim. 

Most recently, she competed in the 2019 International Music Competition Harbin and was a Semi Finalist of the 2018 Enescu Violin Competition. Angela has won awards in Korea and the United States, such as the The Korea Times Competition, Alexander and Buono International Competition, and Music Center Spotlight. She was the Gold Medalist of Mika Hasler in Houston, and Semi Finalist in the Sarasota Artist Series National String Competition in 2018. 

When Angela was 15, she performed as a featured soloist with Orchestra Santa Monica, and has appeared as soloist in venues such as Weill Hall, Disney Hall, and Sydney Town Hall. She was the youngest Co-Concertmaster of the American Youth Symphony and worked closely with Maestro Alexander Treger, former Concertmaster of LA Phil. In 2017, she received an orchestral fellowship for Aspen Music Festival and School and attended the New York String Orchestra Seminar in 2016 and 2018. 

As a chamber musician, she worked with artists including, Marcy Rosen, Eugene Drucker, Kurt Muroko, Guillaume Sutre, Endre Granat, Gil Shaham, Ben Hong, and Kenneth Goldsmith. In 2018, she attended the Taos School of Music, working with Robert McDonald, Thomas Sauer, Borromeo Quartet, Miro Quartet, and Brentano Quartet. She is a founding member of the Balourdet String Quartet, 2nd prize winner of the 2019 Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition. The quartet has collaborated with the Dover Quartet at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and worked closely with Sylvia Rosenberg, James Dunham, Norman Fischer, the American String Quartet, the Escher Quartet and Pacifica Quartet. 

Angela is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree with Paul Kantor at Rice University Shepherd School of Music.

Justin DeFilippis is currently a master’s violin student of Cho-Liang Lin at the Rice University Shepherd School of Music. As a member of the Balourdet String Quartet, he and his colleagues won 2nd prize in the 2019 Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition. Previously, he studied with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory, where he completed a minor in music theory along with his performance degree. In high school, he attended the Juilliard School Pre-College Division, studying with Elizabeth Chang and graduating with the Commencement Award. An avid chamber musician, he has coached and played with members of the Brentano, Borromeo, Shanghai, Cleveland, Dover, and Ying Quartets as well as the Peabody Trio, and has participated in numerous solo and chamber masterclasses with such artists as Leonidas Kavakos, Augustin Hadelich, Ida Kavafian, and members of the Emerson and Juilliard Quartets. He was a two-time participant of the Taos School of Music, and has also attended the New York String Orchestra Seminar, the Yellow Barn Young Artist Program, and received the Kaplan Fellowship at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. As a member of the Balourdet Quartet, he attended the Center for Advanced Quartet Studied at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and played alongside members of the Dover Quartet at the Amelia Island Festival. His ensemble appearances include playing with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Phoenix, and the Boston Microtonal Society. He won the Director’s Award for Achievement from the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Program, and he was also was a National Finalist of the MTNA Competition Junior Division. Recently, he performed alongside Mr. Lin and Dr. Jon Kimura Parker, and has served as concertmaster of the Shepherd School Symphony on multiple occasions.

Benjamin Zannoni is currently in pursuit of a Masters Degree at the Shepherd School of Music. He is a recent graduate of the Orchestral Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music and has received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music’s Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program and from The Juilliard School. In the past, Ben has studied under Karen Dreyfus, Pinchas Zukerman, Patinka Kopec, Heidi Castleman, Robert Vernon, and James Dunham and has played in masterclasses for Koichiro Harada, Kazuhide Isomura, Roberto Diaz, Lawrence Dutton, Richard O’Neil, Richie Hawley, and Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot. As an avid chamber musician, Ben performs throughout New York City and is a member of a the Balourdet String Quartet. He has attended festivals such as the Young Artists Program at the National Arts Center in Ottawa Canada, Music Academy of the West, Sejong International Music Festival, and the Heifetz International Music Institute.

Russell Houston, cellist, is a master’s degree candidate at the Rice University Shepherd School of Music studying with Brinton Smith. Houston has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras including the Dallas Symphony, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, Plano Symphony, and SMU Meadows Symphony, among others. He has won prizes at competitions including the Sorantin International Competition, Lynn Harrell Competition, Lennox International Competition, Northwestern University Chamber Music Competition, Northwestern University Thaviu Competition, and the Mondavi National Cello Competition. He has performed at festivals including the Taos School of Music, Pyongchang Music Festival, Piatigorsky Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, Sarasota Music Festival, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and NAC Young Artist Program. As a member of the Balourdet String Quartet, Houston has collaborated with Cho-Liang Lin and members of the Dover Quartet and has performed at Aspen Music Festival and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Houston holds degrees from Northwestern University and the Colburn School, where he studied with Hans Jensen and Clive Greensmith.