Wiancko follows the late violinist Geoff Nuttall, who had served as Spoleto’s Director of Chamber Music from 2010 until his untimely death at age 56 in October 2022. Nuttall was first violinist and co-founder of the St. Lawrence Quartet, which has been Spoleto’s ongoing quartet in residence.
Based in Charleston, S.C., Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who was seeking to create an American counterpart to the annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, that he founded in 1958. The festival lasts for 17 days each spring, with performances of chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music, as well as opera, theater, and dance performances. The 2024 season is scheduled for May 24 to June 9, with more than 100 performances planned.
Wiancko's relationship with the festival began in 2019, when Nuttall invited Wiancko to serve as the Festival’s composer-in-residence. Wiancko returned to perform as part of the Festival’s chamber music ensemble in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Following Nuttall's passing, Wiancko and several of his musical colleagues shared curatorial and emcee duties for the 2023 Festival.
Wiancko is the cellist in the Kronos Quartet, which he joined in 2023. He is also a founding member of the viola and cello duo Ayane & Paul, as well as the quartet Owls. From 2009 to 2011, he was cellist of the Harlem Quartet. A prolific composer, Wiancko has written works performed by the St. Lawrence, Kronos, Aizuri, Parker, Calder, and Attacca Quartets, among other ensembles.
"During my first visit to Spoleto as cellist and composer-in-residence, Geoff Nuttall revealed the generative power of the Festival – a three-week-long upward spiral of music, art, and thought, kept aloft by impassioned audiences and fueled by a preposterous amount of raw talent and artistry," Wiancko said. "Chamber music grows deeper, more inclusive, and more exciting every day. As Director of Chamber Music at Spoleto, I will explore this treasure trove with our expanding family of fearless chamber artists and beloved audiences."
Wiancko joins the organization’s artistic leadership along with conductor Timothy Myers, who was appointed as the new Music Director of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra; as well as Joe Miller, Director of Choral Activities; and Larry Blumenfeld, Jazz Curator.
"Paul has an infectious passion for chamber music and an exceptional talent for intuitively communicating the most complex musical devices," said Spoleto Festival General Director and CEO Mena Mark Hanna. "He will be an engine of ingenuity for Spoleto and by extension, the chamber music field, curating across period and genre, subverting our expectations of what is western and non-western, canonic and not canonic, new and old."
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