Monday, May 2, 2016

JACK Quartet Returns for Composer Workshop

JACK Quartet at One M&T Plaza, 2013
This week, the Center is excited to welcome back the JACK Quartet for a composer workshop in Baird Recital Hall.  Longtime friends of the Center, the JACK Quartet have taken part in many Center events, beginning with their first residency in October 2009, during which they worked with student composers and presented a concert that featured works by Xenakis, Sciarrino, Robert Morris, and Elliott Sharp.  Two years later, the quartet returned with Aaron Cassidy for a joint residency that included a concert featuring the composer's first quartet (and which also included John Cage's String Quartet in Four Parts and concluded with Ligeti's famous second quartet).  One of their most memorable performances was a concert at Buffalo's One M&T Plaza which kicked off the 2013 June in Buffalo Festival and Performance Institute.  The performance, part of Eric Huebner's "Music in Buffalo's Historic Places" series, consisted only of Morton Feldman's immense 100-minute String Quartet No. 1.

JACK Quartet at June in Buffalo 2013
This week, the ensemble—tireless advocates of new music that they are—will present a composer workshop, realizing new works by four UB graduate composers:  Roberto Azaretto, Alex Huddleston, Nathan Kelly, and Su Lee.  Known for their work helping young composers realize their ideas—the Toronto Star described them as the "musical vehicle of choice to the next great composers who walk among us"—the event is sure to be enlightening for composers and audience alike.

The members of the JACK Quartet met while studying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.  Having studied with the Arditti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain (under the direction of Pierre Boulez), the quartet—consisting of John Pickford Richards, Ari Streisfeld, Christopher Otto, and Kevin McFarland—developed their sophisticated new music chops, quickly becoming one of the most active quartets on the scene.  They have collaborated with a number of renowned composers, including John Luther Adams, Caroline Shaw, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher, and John Zorn, with upcoming performances including premieres by Derek Bermel, Roger Reynolds, Toby Twining, and Georg Friedrich Haas.  It's no wonder the Washington Post referred to them as "the go-to quartet for contemporary music, tying impeccable musicianship to intellectual ferocity and a take-no-prisoners sense of commitment."