The Newport String Project is led by directors and violinists EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks and Ealain McMullin. They are joined by Associate Musicians, Ashley Frith (viola) and Jaime Feldman (cello). Together they perform and teach as the resident string quartet of the Newport String Project.
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, Director and Violinist
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks grew up on an organic farm where as a young girl she presented her first violin performances to a very attentive audience—her flock of merino sheep. As that violin grew from quarter- to a full-size, EmmaLee, with that expressive instrument in hand, made her way onto the stage as soloist with symphonies and then on to Carnegie Hall as a member of the Pangea String Quartet. Armed with a performance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a doctoral degree from SUNY Stony Brook, EmmaLee serves as principal second violinist of the New Bedford Symphony and as a busy chamber player, on stage in venues on the East Coast, as well as the Midwest. She is on faculty at the University of Massachussetts, Dartmouth and the Birch Creek Summer Performance Center.
A firm believer that music can move people, quite literally, EmmaLee takes the lead in string bands across New England and in the Midwest where her lively fiddle music drives the spirited old-time dancing. She has played fiddle with the Rusty Pickup String Band since she was ten years old and she has taken many a championship prize at fiddle competitions.
Ealain McMullin, Director/Violinist
Ealaín was first introduced to chamber music though concerts given by the Apple Hill Chamber Players near her home in Donegal, Ireland. This led to many happy summers studying at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in New Hampshire and since 2014, Ealaín has served on the faculty at Apple Hill’s summer festival. She studied at the Boston Conservatory, where she was a member of the Bricolage String Quartet, the Conservatory’s honors ensemble. She has performed with members of the Apple Hill, Brooklyn Rider, Lydian and Miro String Quartets and has performed at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival (Ireland) and Music From Salem (New York). A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and the Boston Conservatory, Ealaín’s teachers have included Michael D’Arcy, Elise Kuder, Mike Kelley and Lenny Matczynski.
Ashley Frith, Associate Musician/Violist
Violist Ashley Frith is currently a fellow with Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI. Recently enrolled in a masters program at The Boston Conservatory, she was a student of Lila Brown. At the University of South Florida, Ashley studied viola with Kathie Aagaard, and chamber music with Scott Kluksdahl and Svetozar Ivanov. She has served as a teaching artist with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony, and with El Sistema Somerville and Revolution of Hope in Boston. For the past few years, Ashley has been studying the use of sound as a healing modality, in combination with mindfulness and nutrition, and the effect these tools can have on mental health.
Jaime Feldman, Associate Musician/Cellist
Jaime Feldman is a passionate chamber musician and music educator, who enjoys a career of performing and teaching along the East Coast. Jaime has performed worldwide as a soloist and in ensembles at festivals including the Zodiac Festival, The Monte Music Festival, The Perlman Music Program, California Summer Music, and Music@Menlo. She has taught at Soundscapes Chamber Music Workshop in Connecticut, and at MYCO Chamber Music Workshop in Chapel Hill, NC. She has given numerous concerts in France, India, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and all across the United States.
A native of Sarasota, Florida, she began cello lessons at age four. Jaime fell in love with chamber music as a twelve year old student at Music@Menlo festival in Palo Alto CA, captivated by a performance of the Emerson String quartet.
Jaime graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, as a student of Amir Eldan. Some of her previous teachers include Natasha Brofsky at New England Conservatory, Irene Sharp of Stanford University and the Mannes School of Music, and Jean Michel Fonteneau at the San Francisco Conservatory. Winning First Place in the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition in Santa Rosa California, Jaime performed the Lalo Concerto at age thirteen with SRSYO at the Jackson Center, in Santa Rosa. She has been in master classes with Colin Carr, Ronald Leonard, and Paul Katz. Jaime has had extensive chamber music experience working at various festivals and institutions with members of the Emerson, Saint Lawrence, Miami, Cavanni, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Takács string quartets. While attending the Perlman Music Program, Jaime had the honor of sight-reading chamber music with Itzhak Perlman, and performed in a chamber orchestra led by Perlman.
In 2014 Jaime spent a month in Goa, India on a grant from Oberlin Conservatory to teach cello at the Hamara School and Orphanage, as a volunteer for Child’s Play foundation. The trip left her feeling inspired to start teaching in her community, with the purpose of helping to shape children’s lives. Jaime believes that musical education at its best is about the inspiration children receive from their early musical experiences. She is eager to create more opportunities for young children to be exposed to high quality classical concerts in their community. In her free time she enjoys running on trails, hiking in the Maine woods during summer, picking wild flowers, trying new cheeses, meeting new cats and dogs when she goes out, and exploring other countries.