Dubbed “independent-minded” by The New Yorker, PUBLIQuartet’s creative programming lends a fresh perspective to the Classical music scene. Founded in 2010 and dedicated to presenting new works for string quartet, PUBLIQuartet was selected as Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places Ensemble at the Concert Artists Guild Competition, also winning their Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize. Hailed by WQXR as a “…‘genre-independent’ quartet that not only vehemently supports emerging composers, but also composes collectively – a rare occurrence in this field,” the group received Chamber Music America’s 2015 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music. PQ’s innovative programs span the classical canon and also feature 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 Ensemble-in-Residence for the 2016-17 season, including numerous performances throughout the season in various spaces at the Met, including the Cloisters and Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, in addition to a recent performance at the Met’s new Breuer space (with Vijay Iyer). Also this season, the ensemble makes its Lincoln Center debut as part of the Great Performers’ String Quartet series at the Rubinstein Atrium. Additional 2016-17 highlights include concerts at Strathmore Hall (MD) and at the Detroit Jazz Festival. In October 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, PUBLIQ Access, which the group designed in 2014 to promote composers at the most formative point in their careers and to present a wide variety of under-represented music in the string quartet repertoire–from classical, jazz and electronic, to non-notated, world and improvised music. In addition to annual PUBLIQ Access showcase concerts at NYC’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music and at Boston’s First Church, the group features at least one PQ Access composition every concert program. The best of these works are included on PUBLIQuartet’s new self-titled debut album, which was released in fall-2015 on CAG Records.
Other current projects include the original program MIND|THE|GAP, described by The Strad as “ingenious hybrids…bridging the divide between diverse musical genres through group improvisation,” which PQ developed in 2011 to generate interest in new music while keeping traditional classical music relevant to today’s audiences. The quartet also collaborates with the NYC-based hip-hop poetry trio, The Mighty Third Rail in a program entitled Changing Night–a contemporary take on the Garden of Eden tale inspired by the music of György Ligeti. This project was showcased in 2015 at LaMama Experimental theatre as part of Public Theatre’s “Under the Radar Festival,” and was presented subsequently in 2016 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
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.
In addition to its April 2015 sold-out debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, PQ has performed in a diverse range of venues, including BAM Café, SubCulture, Le Poisson Rouge and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in NYC, and a special appearance with Grammy award-winning jazz pianist/composer Billy Childs at the Newport Jazz Festival. The Quartet has been presented by The American Composers Orchestra, Virginia Arts Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, The Chautauqua Institution, and the Music of Now festival at Symphony Space. PQ has collaborated with members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), JACK Quartet, Nadia Sirota, jazz tuba legend Bob Stewart, and innovative jazz clarinetist/composer Don Byron. Mentors and 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.
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
”…PUBLIQuartet…is such a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music…”
– The Washington Post
“…the group’s ingenious hybrids made one forget about anything else.”
– The Strad
– The New Yorker
“…a group of young string players who bring both technical mastery and freewheeling joy to their music playing.”
“…magnetic momentum and energy…innovative music making without any condescension or compromise.”
-Feast of Music
“…played…with biting force and zesty snap pizzicatos.”
– The Strad
“…dramatic power with subtle nuance and depth of emotion.”
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
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
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’)
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.