The Artisan String Quartet

The Artisan Quartet, Patrice Calixte and Caleb Polashek violins, Bruce Williams viola, and Douglas Harvey cello, comprises primarily principal players from the Austin Symphony and has become a fixture around central Texas and beyond. In addition to regular appearances at the Victoria Bach Festival, the Artisans enjoy Quartet in Residence status at the Texas Bach Festival in Georgetown, the Mozart Festival Texas in San Antonio, and the Mason Chamber Music Festival. MidAmerica Productions, Inc., invited the Artisan Quartet to make its Carnegie Hall debut performing on the Carnegie Hall Weil Recital Hall Chamber Music Series on March 22, 2012. The concert in New York was commemorated by the Texas House of Representatives on March 13, 2013, with HR 703 read into the Texas Congressional Record with the Artisans present.

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Meet the Guest Artists

Javier Chaparro & Salud


Violinist and Composer Javier Chaparro and his ensemble play original songs that Javier has penned with love. His passion for his music brings to mind the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim and the virtuoso Yo Yo Ma. It should be glorious evening of music in the park.

Steve Girko – Clarinet

stephen girko

Principal clarinetist with the Austin Symphony, Stephen Girko was appointed as principal clarinetist of the San Antonio Symphony for the 1999-2000 season. Before that, he was the principal clarinetist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1975 through 1998. He made his debut appearance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra by performing the Clarinet Concerto of Aaron Copland, with the composer conducting.

In his early professional career, Mr. Girko was a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, N.Y. Upon leaving the military, Stephen was appointed principal clarinetist with the Oklahoma City Symphony, which he held for four years. He subsequently served as associate principal clarinetist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra for a year before coming to Dallas.

Mr. Girko is presently on the faculty of Texas State University and teaching clarinet in the San Antonio public schools. He is also a member of Wild Basin Winds, a woodwind quintet based in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Girko, a skilled cook, owns and operates a small catering company called “EAT MY PIZZA!” He takes to his client’s home the ingredients with which to make New York-style pizzas, as well as an incredibly delicious salad.  After the guests have observed his culinary skills and have filled themselves with the fruits of his labor, he will then entertain them by performing both classical and popular music on his clarinet.

Richard Kilmer – Violin & Artisan Quartet Emeritus

richard kilmer

Richard Kilmer became an accomplished young violinist under the early tutelage of Mazie Kilmer, Richard’s mother and first violin teacher. Richard performed on many recitals as a young man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and decided to attend the Eastman School of Music where he was Concertmaster during a historic University Orchestra tour to the USSR in 1960. After achieving the Artist Diploma from Eastman, he moved overseas to study with Authur Grumiaux at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and with Szymon Goldberg in Amsterdam, where he performed in the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Richard lived in Amsterdam for fifteen years as a member of the famed Amati Quartet and the Mendelssohn Trio, performing worldwide with these ensembles. Also, he has appeared as soloist with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Michoacan (Mexico) and with the Sinfonica Nacional de El Salvador. He is currently Principal Second Violin with the Austin Symphony and maintains a busy teaching schedule of private violin students and chamber music ensembles. Mr. Kilmer retired from the Artisan Quartet in 2019.