Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Chamber Music Northwest to Premiere CATALYST QUARTET: UNCOVERED

Premiering February 13.

Chamber Music Northwest to Premiere CATALYST QUARTET: UNCOVERED

Chamber Music Northwest (CMNW) presents Catalyst Quartet: Uncovered for the next concert in the 2020-21 Season. Recorded at the Cleveland Institute of Music's Mixon Hall, the concert premieres Saturday, February 13 at 7 pm PT on CMNW.org, and can be streamed through Saturday, February 20.

In recognition of Black History Month, the dynamic Catalyst Quartet's program includes musical selections by a trio of illustrious Black composers. In connection with this concert, CMNW will host a live Musical Conversation with vibrant violist and composer Nokuthula Ngwenyama on Tuesday, February 9 at 6 pm PT. Themed Musically Integrated, this event is hosted by CMNW Co-Artistic Director Soovin Kim. The Musical Conversation series is free and can be accessed on the CMNW website.

The Catalyst Quartet combines a serious commitment to diversity, education, and contemporary works with virtuosic playing "reminiscent of great quartets of the past such as the Guarneri and Budapest" (Richmond Times). The quartet was founded by the Sphinx Organization, a social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. In this concert, celebrate the music of important black composers Coleridge-Taylor, Price, and Perkinson with selections from the quartet's upcoming CD release Uncovered, which strives to highlight works by classical composers previously overlooked because of their race or gender.

From CMNW Artistic Directors Gloria Chien and Soovin Kim: "The Catalyst Quartet's dynamic playing and thought-provoking programming make it one of the most important ensembles in the United States. We believe their passionate devotion to music written by underrepresented composers is more critical than ever, so we wanted to bring them to our Chamber Music Northwest audiences. We are excited to present their inspiring program of quartets written by three of the most talented Black composers of the early 20th century!"

Hailed by The New York Times at its Carnegie Hall debut as "invariably energetic and finely burnished... playing with earthy vigor," in 2020 the Grammy Award-winning Catalyst Quartet celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its founding by the Sphinx Competition. The ensemble believes in the unity that can be achieved through music and imagine their programs and projects with this in mind, redefining and reimagining the classical music experience.

Catalyst Quartet has toured widely throughout the United States and abroad, including sold-out performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., at Chicago's Harris Theater, Miami's New World Center, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Quartet has been guest artists with the Cincinnati Symphony, New Haven Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, and has served as principal players and featured ensemble with the Sphinx Virtuosi on six national tours. They have been invited to perform by prominent music festivals ranging from Mainly Mozart in San Diego, to the Sitka Music Festival and Juneau Jazz and Classics in Alaska, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival, where they appear annually. Catalyst Quartet was ensemble-in-residence at the Vail Dance Festival in 2016. In 2014, they opened the Festival del Sole in Napa, California with Joshua Bell and participated in England's Aldeburgh Music Foundation String Quartet Residency with two performances in the Jubilee Hall.

Recent seasons have brought international engagements in Russia, South Korea, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Puerto Rico, along with regular tours throughout the United States. Residents of New York City the ensemble has performed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, City Center, Columbia

University's Miller Theatre, The New School (for Schneider Concerts), and Lincoln Center. They played six concerts with jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant for Jazz at Lincoln Center. The subsequent recording won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Catalyst Quartet launched its own New York series CQ@Howl in 2018.

Recent collaborations include Encuentros, a program with cellist Gabriel Cabezas with the premiere of a new work by Cuban composer Jorge Amado Molina; (im)igration, with the Imani Winds; and CQ Minute, 10 miniature string quartets commissioned for the quartet's 10th anniversary, with works by
Andy Akiho, Kishi Bashi, Billy Childs, Paquito D'Rivera, Tania Leon, Jessie Montgomery, Kevin Puts,
Caroline Shaw, Joan Tower, and a to-be-named composer selected from a national call for scores. Catalyst Quartet's latest project is UNCOVERED, a multi-volume series of recordings for Azica Records celebrating beautifully crafted works by composers overlooked and sidelined because of their race or gender. Volume 1, released in February 2021 with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Stewart Goodyear, includes the string quartet and quintets of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Forthcoming release will feature music of Florence Price, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, William Grant Still and George Walker, among others.

Catalyst Quartet's recordings span the ensemble's scope of interests and artistry. Its debut album, The Bach/Gould Project, features the Quartet's own arrangement of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations paired with Glenn Gould's String Quartet Op. 1. Strum is the solo debut album of composer Jessie Montgomery, former Catalyst Quartet violinist. Bandaneon y cuerdas features tango-inspired music for string quartet and bandoneon by JP Jofre, and Dreams and Daggers is their GRAMMY-winning album with Cecile McLorin Salvant.

Catalyst Quartet combines a serious commitment to diversity and education with a passion for contemporary works. The ensemble serves as principal faculty at the Sphinx Performance Academy at The Cleveland Institute of Music and Curtis Institute of Music. Catalyst Quartet's ongoing residencies include interactive performance presentations and workshops with Native American student composers at the Grand Canyon Music Festival and the Sphinx Organization's Overture program, which delivers access to music education in Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Past residencies have included concerts and masterclasses at the University of Michigan, University of Washington, Rice University, Houston's Society for the Performing Arts, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, The Virginia Arts Festival, and Pennsylvania State University, the In Harmony Project in England, The University of South Africa, and The Teatro De Bellas Artes in Cali, Colombia. The ensemble's residency in Havana, Cuba for the Cuban American Youth Orchestra in January 2019, was the first by an American string quartet since the revolution.

Catalyst Quartet members hold degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, The Curtis Institute of Music, and New England Conservatory. Catalyst Quartet is a Sphinx ensemble and proudly endorses Pirastro strings. Learn more at www.catalystquartet.com.


Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

Related Articles View More Classical Music Stories

More Hot Stories For You