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Meet Rebecca Schlappich Charles, Eliza James, Danica Pinner, and Jayna Chou of Quartet405 in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Schlappich Charles, Eliza James, Danica Pinner, and Jayna Chou.

Rebecca, Eliza, Danica, and Jayna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We are Quartet405 and we are a multi-genre string quartet. For anyone unfamiliar, a string quartet is traditionally a classical acoustic ensemble made up of two violins, a viola, and a cello. We all have some amount of classical training, and while we adore the classical repertoire, we founded this group with mutual love and respect for all genres of music and wanted to find an outlet to explore those genres in relation to our classical roots.

We all have backgrounds and stories that make us unique, as well as similar foundations that brought us together. Eliza James is a long-standing member of the freelance community in Los Angeles and has been touring since the age of 11. She is the featured solo violinist with musical giants Paul Anka and Burt Bacharach and performs on many film scores and soundtracks. Rebecca Schlappich Charles is proud to have been touring in the punk scene for the last 12 years with Mariachi El Bronx, The World/Inferno Friendship Society, and Kiss Kiss. A native of Pennsylvania, she is entering her fourth year here in LA, where along with touring she also is active in the LA freelancing scene, is a member of the two-time Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas, and also enjoys teaching. Danica Pinner straddles the worlds of classical, r&b, soul, and jazz, and has made appearances with the Jonas Brothers, Avril Lavigne, Lewis Capaldi, deadmau5, and HAIM. She has also toured with 80s New Wave band When in Rome UK. Jayna Chou is a professional Violist, Composer/Producer from Taipei, Taiwan. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music majoring in contemporary writing and production, and has performed with JMSN, Tigran Hamasyan, Jacob Collier, the king of Chinese-Pop singer- Leehom Wang and many other major Asian singers. She composed music for the award-winning film “The Farewell”, directed by Lulu Wang and starring Awkwafina.

The freelance string community in LA is a relatively small and connected community, so we all basically met at one time or another on different gigs in LA. Quartet405 started in the fall of 2017, and we made our debut with our own arrangement of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” From there, we continue to create our own unique arrangements of pretty much whatever music speaks to us, from Selena to Queen to Burt Bacharach and collaborate with many other amazing artists on these projects as well.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Is it ever a smooth road? (haha) While we technically are a string quartet, we primarily view ourselves more like a band. And like any band, there are always struggles. If you’ve ever formed a band, you’ll know that personality is just as, if not sometimes more, important than musical ability. We formed this ensemble with the intention of it being an equal partnership, and while that sometimes poses challenges, in the end, it is also significantly more rewarding. Sometimes we don’t agree, sometimes we fight passionately for what we believe in, sometimes our text thread debates go late into the night, to the chagrin of our significant others, but at the end of the day, we all know that we are like-minded in our pursuits as an ensemble. We are all working towards the success of the ensemble, and even more so, we are all supportive of each other’s individual successes.

Everyone brings their strengths to the table and picks up the slack when necessary, and we’re grateful to have found each other and have the opportunity to make music together!

Please tell us about your band, Quartet405 – what should we know?
There are actually quite a lot of string quartets in the world. It’s like the classical version of your standard four-piece band. Not surprisingly, it was actually a challenge to even name ourselves, because it felt like all the expected quartet names were already taken. We landed on Quartet405 as an homage to our home, LA, but also as a whimsical nod to the fact that we, as freelance musicians, spend about as much time traveling to gigs as we do playing them!

While we always have appreciation and respect for the classical repertoire, what sets us apart is our love for so many other genres of music. Our goal as an ensemble is to continuously build bridges and find links between our classical foundation and the popular genres we adore. We also are committed to our community through outreach programs and in-school master classes and plan to continue to closely incorporate musical education and outreach in our future endeavors.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Our diversity of background, upbringing, talents, passions, and our steadfast commitment to the group are all essential to the strength and success of Quartet405 as an ensemble and as a business. The great thing about being in a group is that we can play to each others’ strengths to create the best results possible.

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Image Credit:
Erik Fischer, Elizabeth Burgi, Noor Che’ree

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