Beo String Quartet


Beo String Quartet will be in residence, founded by Freya String Quartet violinist Jason Neukom.

Beo Collage 3


A shared desire of making musical output the most important end is what inspired the formation of Beo String Quartet (Hannah Whitehead, Sandro Leal-Santiesteban, Jason Neukom, Sean Neukom). Whether playing canonized works, participating in a studio session for a local artist, or premiering a fresh work through a collaborative commission, the four individuals have introduced many audiences to music of both past and present and of varied genres. Now, as a collective unit, their mutual passion sets the stage for continued efforts to introduce music of today, while still paying homage to the masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire.


The members of Beo String Quartet hold degrees from some of the country’s top conservatories including the Eastman School of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Carnegie Mellon University. They have collectively studied chamber music with the Cavani Quartet, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Miami String Quartet, the Ying Quartet, and members of the Cleveland Quartet.


Beo believes that it’s most important role is to champion music of our time and to create a mutually inspirational relationship between living composers, modern audiences, and performers alike. Upcoming projects include Beo String Quartet’s debut recording on the innovative pop-art album, Dead Reckoning, and the commission of a large scale work for string quartet to be premiered in 2016, both by Beo violist and Pittsburgh composer Sean Neukom.



FSQ_Jason Neukom

Jason Neukom, violin

Jason Neukom, founding member of the Beo String Quartet, is an accomplished and versatile violinist and musician based in Pittsburgh, PA. Beginning violin lessons at the age of four with his father, Richard Neukom, Jason went on to study at Minot State University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, under the guidance of Dr. Jon Rumney, Piotr Milewski, and Professor Cyrus Forough.


Mr. Neukom has been a member of groups such as the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy, and a fellow of the Britten Pears Festival Orchestra in England. He has also made several appearances as soloist, including a performance of Vieuxtemps with the Minot Symphony Orchestra.


While enthusiastic about many styles and genres of music, Jason is most passionate about chamber music and has intensively studied with members of the Ying Quartet, the Fry Street Quartet, the Daedalus Quartet, and other well known ensembles. As an educator, Mr. Neukom has worked for several programs, including the New York Summer Music Festival and the Cincinnati Starling Project.


Mr. Neukom is a founding member and first violinist of the Freya String Quartet and has been performing with them since 2009. With Freya, Jason has had the opportunity to perform many of the masterworks for string quartet, be in residence at music festivals such as the Charlotte New Music Festival and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh SummerFest, record for projects in both classical and rock/pop styles, perform many works by young composers written for and dedicated to Freya, and commission works by some of the group’s favorite composers including Sean Neukom and Matthew Peterson.


As an orchestral musician, Mr. Neukom has performed with notable ensembles such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony, and frequently serves as concertmaster of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, as associate concertmaster of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, and as concertmaster of Resonance Works. Jason also enjoys other music genres and has performed live shows with popular artists such as Barry Manilow, Josh Groban, Lee Greenwood, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Pink Martini, Belle and Sebastian, Mannheim Steamroller, Tony Orlando, among others.


Mr. Neukom currently resides in Pittsburgh where he performs regularly, maintains an active violin studio, and helps run Symbiotic Collusion LLC, of which he is co-owner and a founding member.You can hear Jason on the Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra’s album, ‘The Ghost and Mr. Able’, on the Freya String Quartet’s ‘Snapshots’ album, and on Sean Neukom’s newest project, ‘Dead Reckoning’, which is scheduled to be released in May of 2015.


Sandro Leal-Santiesteban, violin

Mr. Sandro Leal began his musical journey in Havana, Cuba. While living in Cuba, he performed with many orchestras in the Americas including the Oakland Youth Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Youth Symphony Orchestra, and throughout Europe with the Cuban Dance Company of Lizt Alfonso and the Sinfónica de Matanzas. At age sixteen, Sandro was selected to perform Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen” for Claudio Abbado and was featured with the Sinfónica de Matanzas, performing Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto under the baton of his mother, Lourdes Santiesteban.


After immigrating to the U.S. in 2001, Sandro studied for a year at the preparatory school of New England Conservatory with former Boston Symphony principal second violin Marylou Churchill. Sandro continued his studies at the Eastman School of Music with Mikhail Kopelman, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in violin performance and then subsequently studying with Cyrus Forough at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music where he obtained both his Masters degree in Violin Performance and a certificate from the Performance Residency Program.


Sandro has received fellowships to notable festivals such as Musicorda String Summer Camp; the Manchester Music Festival; Round Top Festival Institute; the Spoleto Festival as assistant concertmaster; and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, where he toured throughout Europe and South America. Mr. Leal has studied with the Shanghai String Quartet, the Ying Quartet, the Brentano Quartet, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Miami String Quartet, and with violinists Elmira Darvarova, Ilya Kaler, Jorja Fleezanis, and Ian Swensen.


Memorable concerts for Sandro include a performance of the Mendelssohn String Octet alongside former concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Andrés Cárdenes, Behzad Ranjbaran’s Violin Concerto with the Carnegie Mellon University Philharmonic as first prize winner of the Carnegie Mellon University concerto competition, and an American tour with the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra following a semi-finalist award for the 2006 Sphinx Competition.


Sandro currently is a member of the first violin section in the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. He is also a section first violin in the Erie Philharmonic and has served as acting principal second violin. Sandro has a private violin studio in the Pittsburgh area, and is part of the Symbiotic Collusion education program. Current projects include recording his debut solo album featuring Sean Neukom’s Solo Violin Sonatas. The album is scheduled for release in spring 2015.

Sean Neukom, viola

Sean Neukom, viola

Sean Neukom was born and raised in North Dakota. Sean started violin studies at age 3 with his father, Richard. He continued his violin studies at Minot State University under the tutelage of Dr. Jon Rumney. Sean received his Master’s degree in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with David Updegraff. In addition to being a performer, Sean is an avid composer and regularly works in the studio as producer and engineer.


A multi-instrumentalist, Sean plays with various groups. As a violinist Sean has played with the Nashville Symphony, New Zealand’s Southern Sinfonia, and is currently contracted as a first violinist with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Sean plays the drums for the Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra and for his self-produced albums. Sean’s mainstay as a violist is for the Beo String Quartet. As a chamber musician, Sean performed with the Milhaud Trio for four years.  Additionally, he is a regular faculty member of Dakota Chamber Music. Sean’s primary chamber music coaches have been the Ying Quartet, Peter Salaff, and the Cavani Quartet.


Sean’s original compositions span across both classical and pop genres. His concert works strive to push tonality and rhythmic nuance while still utilizing melody. His pop albums are created to bridge the gap between pop and classical listeners. His concert works have been commissioned by Freya String Quartet, Fresh Ink, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Jessica Calligan (concertmaster of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra), Pam Murchison (Executive Director of PNME), and Cadence Collective. Sean’s most recent work is Evolution 3: for piano trio, written for the Luminus Trio. His most recent album, Dead Reckoning, will be released in May 2015 through NeuKraft Records.


As a producer, Sean has worked on a wide range of projects. These include Snapshots for Freya String Quartet; The Ghost & Mr. Able for the Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra; Neukom Solo Sonatas for violinist Sandro Leal-Santiesteban; and an upcoming album featuring music by Richard Neukom scheduled for release in fall 2015.


Hannah Whitehead, cello

Cellist Hannah Whitehead has garnered acclaim for her “warm and winning” sound and for the “knife-edge, fearless precision” of her interpretations.  She is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned a Master of Music degree and studied with David Premo.  Hannah’s already varied career has included studies at the Eastman School of Music, a fellowship at the New World Symphony, and performances around the world with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.  She has also been a member of the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, and has performed at the Spoleto Festival (USA).  Her musical travels have taken her around the globe: to Japan, where she performed chamber music in Yokohama and Tokyo; to England, where as a fellow of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, she studied and performed works of Benjamin Britten in the composer’s birthplace; and to Singapore, where she performed with the Singapore Symphony.  Hannah was recently appointed Assistant Principal Cellist of the West Virginia Symphony.

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