Calder Quartet

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The Calder Quartet, called “outstanding” and “superb” by the New York Times, defies boundaries through performing a broad range of repertoire at an exceptional level, always striving to channel the true intention of the work’s creator. Already the choice of many leading composers to perform their works – including Christopher Rouse, Terry Riley and Thomas Adès – the group’s distinctive approach is exemplified by a musical curiosity brought to everything they perform, whether it’s Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, or sold-out rock shows with bands like The National or The Airborne Toxic Event. Known for the discovery, commissioning, recording and mentoring of some of today’s best emerging composers (over 25 commissioned works to date), the group continues to work and collaborate with artists across musical genres, spanning the ranges of the classical and contemporary music world, as well as rock, dance, and visual arts; and in venues ranging from art galleries and rock clubs to Carnegie and Walt Disney concert halls. Inspired by innovative American artist Alexander Calder, the Calder Quartet’s desire to bring immediacy and context to the works they perform, creates an artfully crafted musical experience.
The 2011-12 season kicks off with the Calder Quartet’s debut at CAL Performances in Berkeley with Thomas Adès, a Calder curated event at the Blum & Poe Gallery in Los Angeles featuring the quartet with iconic composer Terry Riley and DJ/artist Dave Muller, and performances at the Carlsbad Music Festival. On September 11, the Calder performed at a commemoration event at USC and in the evening at the Hollywood Bowl. Other season highlights include performances at the Laguna Beach Festival alongside Joshua Bell and Edgar Meyer, the Edinburgh International Festival, the acclaimed new music series Jacaranda: Music at the Edge in Santa Monica, CA, as well as an Austrian debut at the Esterhazy Palace. The Calder also looks forward to a tour with So Percussion.
The 2010-11 season featured performances at Carnegie Hall, Washington Performing Arts Society, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Cleveland Museum of Art with Iva Bittova, a residency at BRAVO! Vail Valley Festival, the Melbourne Festival with Thomas Adès, as well as concerts at Stanford Lively Arts and Le Poisson Rouge (New York) with Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng. The Washington Post said “The Calder’s Beethoven was full of flaring drama, furrowed brows and quiet intensity. But, with the tightest of ensemble playing and well-judged balancing of instrumental voices, the piece retained its classical integrity and polished finish. Most striking, here, as in the other pieces, was the intense beauty of tone these musicians produced — which blossomed to full lusciousness in their surging, extroverted reading of the Ravel.”
Other recent highlights include performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall on the Green Umbrella series, the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and the world premiere of a new work by composer Andrew Norman for the University of Southern California Presidential Inauguration. The Calder Quartet also toured across North America with Andrew W.K. and The Airborne Toxic Event and has been featured on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
The group has long-standing relationships with composers Terry Riley, Christopher Rouse and Thomas Adès. The Calder Quartet first met Riley when they shared a concert as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox Festival in 2006 and recently released a limited edition vinyl release of Riley’s Trio and Quartet in commemoration of the composers’ 75th birthday. The Calder is also the first quartet in two decades to have a work written for them by composer Christopher Rouse. This work was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas, La Jolla Music Society, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and premiered in the 2010-2011 season. The quartet’s album of Christopher Rouse works, Transfiguration, was also released in 2010. Of this album, Gramophone says, “Rouse’s disquieting quartets are given powerful performances by the Calder.” In 2008, the Calder Quartet released its first album, which featured the music of Thomas Adès, Mozart, and Ravel. What started as working directly with the Thomas Adès on a performance of Arcadiana as part of the Green Umbrella Series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2008 has evolved into collaborating on concerts together at the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s Konserthuset in 2009, the Melbourne Festival in 2010, and at CAL Performances in 2011. Of the Stockholm performance, the Guardian said, “the Calder Quartet played the most insightful and moving performance of Thomas Adès’s Arcadiana I’ve ever heard.”
The Calder Quartet formed at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and continued studies at the Colburn Conservatory of Music with Ronald Leonard, and at the Juilliard School, where it received the Artist Diploma in Chamber Music Studies as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet. They have also studied with Professor Eberhard Feltz at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, and collaborated with such notable performers as Anne-Marie McDermott, Menahem Pressler and Joseph Kalichstein. The quartet regularly conducts master classes and has been featured in this capacity at the Colburn School (where the quartet was in residence for four years), the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory and USC Thornton School of Music.
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