Constellation to Present JACK Quartet in Showcase of Close Collaborators in March

The program features the Chicago premiere of JACK Quartet member Austin Wulliman's fiery new string quartet The Late Edition.

By: Feb. 28, 2024
Constellation to Present JACK Quartet in Showcase of Close Collaborators in March
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The JACK Quartet will appear at Constellation on Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 8:30pm in a concert of forward-looking works curated to showcase the vitality of the string quartet genre, and its adoption into modern composition, some 275 years after Haydn defined the form.

The program features the Chicago premiere of JACK Quartet member Austin Wulliman's fiery new string quartet The Late Edition, which was performed in its world premiere at Brooklyn's Roulette Intermedium on February 15, 2024, in a launch event for Wulliman's album The News From Utopia (Bright Shiny Things). Also making its Chicago premiere is Amy Williams' string quartet Tangled Madrigal, which was written for the JACK Quartet and premiered by the ensemble on February 22, 2024 at Columbia University's Miller Theatre. The program also includes Christopher Otto's Nathaniel Giles: Miserere (1594) (2020), John Zorn's Necronomicon (2004), Amy Williams' Tangled Madrigal (2024) and Iannis Xenakis' Tetras (1983).

This concert will be dominated by string quartet works by composers with close ties to the JACK Quartet. In the case of Wiliams and Tangled Madrigal, the ensemble had suggested a piece influenced by early music - to which Williams responded with a composition inspired by the work of 16th century composer Nicola Vicentino, inventor of a keyboard divided into what are now called microtones. Weaving between consonance, dissonance and offbeat tuning, the piece rarely calls for all members of the quartet to play together, interspersing four solos written specifically with the members of the JACK Quartet in mind.

Zorn's collaborations with the JACK Quartet date back more than a decade, while Otto is one of its founding members. From Zorn, the quartet features Necronomicon, the virtuosic five-movement exploration of sorcery and alchemy featured on his 2004 album Magick. Otto, a gifted interpreter of other composers' music, contributes to this program his 2020 adaptation of a 16th century work by the English Renaissance composer Nathaniel Giles. "Chris Otto is one of those ultra-rare musicians who combine complete technical mastery with the profound depth of feeling of an old soul," says Zorn. "He is 100% music and brings a passion to everything he plays, elevating it to a level that is often beyond the composer's wildest dreams. Chris is a living treasure and his work is a miracle."

Also featured on this program is Xenakis' avant garde work Tetras - the ancient Greek word meaning four, chosen for the way the four players of the string quartet are treated, for the most part, as a single unit, combining for intense and highly textured surges of sound through an unexpected and evocative musical landscape.

Program Information

Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 8:30pm

JACK in Recital
Constellation | Chicago. IL
Tickets: $25 (at the button below)

Program:
Austin Wulliman - The Late Edition (2024)
Christopher Otto - Miserere, after Nathaniel Giles (1594 arr. 2002)
John Zorn - Necronomicon (2004)
Amy Williams - Tangled Madrigal (2024)
Iannis Xenakis - Tetras (1983)

More About JACK Quartet

Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, JACK Quartet was founded in 2005 and operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and appreciation of 20th and 21st century string quartet music. Through intimate, longstanding relationships with many of today's most creative voices, the quartet has a prolific commissioning and recording catalog and has been nominated for three GRAMMY Awards and is the 2024 recipient of Chamber Music America's Michael Jaffee Visionary Award.

JACK is featured in the ongoing celebrations of John Zorn's 70th birthday, including an album release of his complete string quartets, major global tour dates, and a premiere with Barbara Hannigan. Other season highlights include a three-concert day at Wigmore Hall, the premiere of Natacha Diels' Beautiful Trouble in Philadelphia, an Australian tour, and the 5th edition of JACK Studio.

Through its successful nonprofit model, the quartet has both self-commissioned and been commissioned to create hundreds of new works. The world's top composers choose JACK because of its singular dedication to innovation and experimentation, realized through the invisible labor of extensive studio time and the support of full-time leadership staff and a Board of Directors.

Committed to helping dismantle outmoded classical music pipelines for composers, JACK's all-access initiative JACK Studio funds collaborations with a selection of artists each year, who receive money, workshop time, mentorship, and resources to develop new works for string quartet. JACK receives more than 500 applications each season, and selects up to 15 composers or artists. More than 40 composers have worked with JACK through JACK Studio thus far.

Among many honors, JACK has earned an Avery Fisher Career Grant and Fromm Music Foundation Prize; been selected as Musical America's 2018 "Ensemble of the Year; and received Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA's Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

JACK has been nominated for three GRAMMY Awards, the most recent being their albums of music by John Luther Adams - nominated in the 2022 and 2023 Best Ensemble Performance category. Other albums include music by Helmut Lachenmann, Catherine Lamb, Du Yun, Elliott Sharp, Zosha di Castri, Iannis Xenakis, and an upcoming release of the complete quartets of Elliott Carter.

The JACK Quartet makes its home in New York City, where it is the Quartet in Residence at the Mannes School of Music at The New School. They also teach each summer at New Music on the Point in Vermont. JACK has long-standing relationships with the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program, where they teach and collaborate with students each fall and spring, as well as with the Lucerne Festival Academy, of which the four members are all alumni. Learn more at www.jackquartet.com.

Photography Credit: Shervin Lainez




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