The Complete String Quartets of JOHN ZORN featuring JACK and Tony Arnold
There has rarely been a musician as versatile and prolific as John Zorn, whose genre bending creativity has excited audiences and confounded critics and academics for 40 years. One of his greatest achievements are his compositions for string quartet, which are among the most important contributions to the genre since Carter and Bartok. Spanning almost three decades, these six quartets are each a world of their own, and run the gamut from cartoon madness, hardcore intensity, hebrew spirituality, hermetic romanticism, Crowlean Magick and Alchemical Mysticism. This unprecedented concert presents all six of Zorn's remarkably varied quartets along with the US premiere of Pandora's Box, his striking new composition for string quartet and soprano written for the Arditti Quartet. Featuring the virtuosic young quartet JACK and Tony Arnold on voice, this marathon concert of Zorn's complete quartets is not to be missed.
Drawing upon his experience in classical, jazz, rock, hardcore punk, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, world and improvised music, John Zorn has created a controversial and influential body of work that often defies academic categories. He has earned great respect within his own community and beyond by going his own way without compromise, developing a large network of supporters world wide, often in unexpected places. Born in 1953 and raised in New York City, Zorn has been a central figure in the Downtown Scene since 1975, incorporating a wide variety of creative musicians into various compositional formats. He is an indefatigable worker and highly prolific: he has composed 6 string quartets, vocal music, chamber music, operas, symphonic and dance works, has released over 100 cds under his own name, has led and written music for dozens of bands (Naked City, The Dreamers, Moonchild, Painkiller), scored over 50 films, and written over 600 tunes for his popular Masada project. His work is diverse and remarkably eclectic and draws inspiration from Art, Literature, Film, Theatre, Philosophy, Alchemy and Mysticism as well as Music.
In addition to his composing, recording and performing Zorn is a firm believer in community and a tireless champion of experimental music, film, art, poetry and theatre, organizing festivals, recordings and concerts, and helping to establish venues and opportunities for performance. He founded the Tzadik label in 1995 (which has released over 700 recordings of new and adventurous music); runs the East Village performance space The Stone (which has presented over 5000 concerts and 60 musical workshops since 2005) and has edited and published six volumes of musician's writings under the title ARCANA. Honors include the Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the William Schuman Prize for composition from Columbia University. He was inducted into the Long Island Hall of Fame by Lou Reed in 2010 and is a MacArthur Fellow.
The JACK Quartet electrifies audiences worldwide with "explosive virtuosity" (Boston Globe) and "viscerally exciting performances" (New York Times). David Patrick Stearns (Philadelphia Inquirer) proclaimed their performance as being "among the most stimulating new-music concerts of my experience." The Washington Postcommented, "The string quartet may be a 250-year-old contraption, but young, brilliant groups like the JACK Quartet are keeping it thrillingly vital." Alex Ross (New Yorker) hailed their performance of Iannis Xenakis' complete string quartets as being "exceptional" and "beautifully harsh," and Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times) called their sold-out performances of Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 3 In iij. Noct. "mind-blowingly good."
The recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA's Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, JACK has performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall (USA), Lincoln Center (USA), Wigmore Hall (United Kingdom), Suntory Hall (Japan), Salle Pleyel (France), Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Netherlands), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Reykjavik Arts Festival (Iceland), Festival Internacional Cervatino (Mexico), Kölner Philharmonie (Germany), Donaueschinger Musiktage (Germany), and the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Germany).
JACK operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and spread of new string quartet music. The quartet has led workshops with young performers and composers at Princeton University, Yale University, Harvard University, New York University, Columbia University, the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, June in Buffalo, New Music on the Point, and at the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik.
The Chicago Tribune writes, "anything sung by soprano Tony Arnold is worth hearing." Hailed by the New York Times as "a bold, powerful interpreter," she is recognized internationally as a leading proponent of new music in concert and recording, praised for her sparkling and insightful performances of the most daunting contemporary scores. Since becoming the first- prize laureate of the both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition (NL) and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition (USA), Ms. Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-‐edge composers and instrumentalists on the world stage, receiving consistent critical accolades for a voice of beauty and warmth, an uncanny technical facility, sterling musicianship, and riveting stage presence. "Simply put, she is a rock-‐star in this genre" (Sequenza 21).
Tony Arnold is the soprano of the intrepid International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and with them has premiered over 25 new works written expressly for her voice. In 2013-‐14, Ms. Arnold will make her debut performances with Ensemble Modern in a new work by Beat Furrer. Her appearances with US ensembles have included Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble 21, eighth blackbird, Contempo, Orchestra of St. Luke's, New York New Music Ensemble, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Fulcrum Point, and many others. She has toured the US extensively as a member of the George Crumb Ensemble.
As an active participant in the creation and commissioning of new music from both established and emerging composers, Tony Arnold has premiered over 200 new works to date. Recent premieres have included music by Georges Aperghis, David Lang, Beat Furrer, Eric Chasalow, Philippe Manoury, Pamela Madsen, Fredrick Gifford, David Liptak, Christopher Theofanidis, John Zorn, and David Gompper. In 2012, Ms. Arnold and violinist Movses Pogossian were the recipients of a coveted Chamber Music America Commissioning Grant to support the creation of a new work by Gabriela Lena Frank.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Palace of Fine Arts
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Photos (from left to right): John Zorn; JACK (photo by Henrik Olund); Tony Arnold (photo by Claudia Hensen); and JACK (photo by Stephen Poff).
This event is sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts