Biography

Applauded by The Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music,” and by The New Yorker as “independent-minded,” PUBLIQuartet’s creative programming lends a fresh perspective to the Classical music scene.  Dedicated to presenting new works for string quartet, PUBLIQuartet was selected as Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places Ensemble at the 2013 CAG Competition, and then garnered Chamber Music America’s 2015 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music.  PQ’s genre-bending programs range from 20th-century masterworks to newly commissioned pieces, alongside reimaginations of classical themes featuring open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.

These distinctive qualities led New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to name PUBLIQuartet as 2016-17 MetLiveArts Ensemble-in-Residence, featuring a series of concerts in various spaces at the Met, including the Cloisters, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, and the Met’s new Breuer space.  That platform led to 2018 engagements in the DC area on the Washington Performing Arts series and a special performance at Wolf Trap, and PQ is delighted to return to DC in October 2018 to perform at the National Gallery of Art.  Also in 2018-19, PUBLIQuartet has been invited by Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, to be Artist-In-Residence, featuring three performances over the course of the season

Recent career highlights include PQ’s Lincoln Center debut on the Great Performers series, and a sold-out Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall, as well as a wide variety of venues/festivals including BAM Café, Le Poisson Rouge and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in NYC, Detroit Jazz Festival and Detroit Institute of Arts, plus a special appearance with pianist/composer Billy Childs at the Newport Jazz Festival.  In 2016, PUBLIQuartet was selected by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform a 90-minute improvised “soundtrack” to the final Presidential Debate, streamed live on the Late Show’s Facebook page, which has over one million views.

PUBLIQuartet’s commitment to support emerging composers inspired their innovative program, PUBLIQuartet Access, designed in 2014 to promote emerging composers and to present a wide variety of under-represented music for string quartet–from classical, jazz and electronic, to non-notated, world and improvised music. At least one of these works is showcased on virtually every program the Quartet performs, and they have regular showcase performances in New York to present the newest pieces in this growing catalogue.

Other unique projects include MIND|THE|GAP—described by The Strad as “ingenious hybrids…bridging the divide between diverse musical genres through group improvisation”— a series of group-composed works developed by PQ to generate interest in new music while also engaging traditional classical music audiences.  These unique creations range from Bird in Paris (melding the music of Claude Debussy and Charlie Parker) to more recent extended works, such as What Is American? (an exploration of Dvorak’s beloved “American” String Quartet), and Sancta Femina (based on themes by three medieval/baroque female composers).

Both PUBLIQ Access and MIND|THE|GAP pieces are featured on PUBLIQuartet’s 2015 critically acclaimed self-titled debut album (CAG Records).  Their new CD, Freedom and Faith (to be released in early 2019), explores spirituality, resilience and creative inspiration, spotlighting music by women and under-represented composers, ranging from Hildegard von Bingen to Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone to Jessica Meyer.

PUBLIQuartet is sought after for its creative and energetic educational workshops. The quartet’s mission to enrich and inspire students of diverse backgrounds has led PQ to hold residencies with American Composers Orchestra and Deer Valley Music Festival’s “Emerging Quartets and Composers” program, among others.

Founded in 2010, PUBLIQuartet has been presented by The American Composers Orchestra, Virginia Arts Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and The Chautauqua Institution. PQ has collaborated with members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), JACK Quartet, jazz tuba legend Bob Stewart, and innovative jazz clarinetist/composer Don Byron. Mentors include members of the Muir, Juilliard, Orion, Mendelssohn, Tokyo, American, and Brentano String Quartets and composers Joan Tower and Butch Morris. They have participated in residencies at the Juilliard String Quartet Institute, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, the Shouse Institute (GLMF), and the Banff Centre.

Audio

Jessie Montgomery: Voodoo Dolls

PUBLIQuartet: MIND I THE I GAP 'Bird in Paris' (2014, Inspired by the works of Charlie Parker and Claude Debussy)

Villa-Lobos (arr. Norpoth): Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Ária

Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1 "Métamorphoses nocturnes" (Excerpt)

PUBLIQuartet: MIND | THE | GAP, 'Fantasy on Bach Adagio, BWV 1001' (2016)

David Biendenbender: Surface Tension

PUBLIQuartet: MIND | THE | GAP, "What is American?" (2016) improvisations based on Dvořák's String Quartet in F, Op. 96, "American", Lento

Eugene Birman: String Quartet (2013, PUBLIQ Access Emerging Composer's Program)- Excerpt

Jessie Montgomery: Breakaway (2013), Smoke

Video

  • See video PUBLIQuartet | PUBLIQ Access: an emerging composers program

    PUBLIQuartet | PUBLIQ Access: an emerging composers program

  • See video  PUBLIQuartet: CAG Records Preview

    PUBLIQuartet: CAG Records Preview

  • See video  Ramon Castillo: Caution: Wedding Cake - PUBLIQ Access 2015

    Ramon Castillo: Caution: Wedding Cake - PUBLIQ Access 2015

Press

Repertoire

  • Programs

    PERFORMANCE PROGRAMS

    Recipients of the 2015 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PUBLIQuartet embraces innovative compositions that embody the sounds of the 20th century till present day. Below, PUBLIQuartet presents a tasting menu of programmatic offerings. Construct and combine from the categories below: Contemporary Works of Standard and Living composers; MIND | THE | GAP — original improvisatory compositions by PUBLIQuartet; Arrangements of Popular Works by PUBLIQuartet; and the winners of our initiative for emerging composers PUBLIQ Access.

    Contemporary: Standard Works
    György Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1 Metamorphoses Nocturnes
    Alfred Schnittke: String Quartet No. 3
    Benjamin Britten: String Quartet No. 1
    Igor Stravinsky: Three Pieces for String Quartet

    Contemporary: Living Composers
    Caroline Shaw: Valencia (6’)
    Jessie Montgomery: Voodoo Dolls (5’)
    Jessie Montgomery: Breakaway (10’)
    Howie Kenty: An Impetuous Old Friend (3’)
    Don Byron: String Quartet No. 2, Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye (15’)
    Marc Mellits: Tapas (10′)

    MIND | THE | GAP
    Improvisatory Compositions by PUBLIQuartet
    Bird in Paris (5’): Improvisations on Debussy and Charlie Parker
    Epistrophe (8’): Improvisations on Igor Stravinsky and
    Thelonious Monk
    Haydn’s Time Machine (5-15’): Based on Haydn String
    Quartet, Op. 50 No. 2

    Arrangements by PUBLIQuartet
    Claude Debussy: Golliwog’s Cakewalk
    Heitor Villa Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5
    Piazzolla: Libertango
    Piazzolla: Oblivion
    Mendelssohn: Song without Words

    PUBLIQ Access Winners 2014 & 2015
    David Biedenbender: Surface Tension (7’)
    Eugene Birman: String Quartet No. 1 (7-10’)
    Mathew Browne: Great Danger, Keep Out (5’)
    Tyler Capp: Paramnesia (5’)
    Ramon Castillo: Caution Wedding Cake for Electronics and String Quartet (10’) (Tech required+optional video projections)
    Gilad Cohen: Jerusalem Stones (6’)
    Peter Christian: Fast Cheap and Out of Control (6’)
    Nahyun Kim: Iracundia (6’)
    Luis Felipe Nieto Sachica: Cantos Memoriales (8’)
    Alyssa Weinberg: Parallels (8’)

    OUTREACH PROGRAMS

    Stylings of the Improvising String Quartet

    Interactive concert, demonstration, and Q&A with student participation for classes without instruments

    30-45 minutes, ages 5-14, beginner to advanced

    PUBLIQuartet performs some of their favorite crowd pleasers incorporating their unique improvisational abilities. The pieces on this program, composed by PQ and friends, are built on the different rolls that occupy the musical space: rhythm, bass, melody, harmony, and texture. PQ’s unique improvisational background allows for highly interactive workshops, allowing for the students to actually participate and perform alongside PQ. Students’ ears and focus will be challenged in a safe setting with directed questions regarding the sounds they hear, how PQ creates them, and what effect the sounds have on the listener.

    Condozer (Student Conductor Composer)

    Interactive concert, demonstration, Q&A, and structured class improvisation and composition for classes with string instruments.

    45 minutes, ages 8-14 beginner to advanced

    PUBLIQuartet will teach the students about the 4 parts of music (rhythm, bass, melody, harmony, and texture) through short performances and demonstrations, which will lead into an interactive composition game for the students, called Condozer. In this game students compose an improvisation piece by conducting and directing the class with hand gestures that correspond to the various parts of music. This game is always a big hit with students.

    MIND THE GAP

    Advanced improvisation and composition workshop.

    45-90 minutes, available for multiple sessions, high school or college-level students

    PUBLIQuartet presents an in-depth approach to composition and structured improvisation through challenging and comprehensive exercises in rhythm, harmony, melody, bass, and texture. Students will learn their function within an improvisational setting, and with their learned musical skills, will be able to improvise and transform written material.