String Quartet No. 1

American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME)
Ben Russell, Yuki Numata, violins
Nadia Sirota, viola
Clarice Jensen, cello

See the score.

Program Note for String Quartet No. 1

The initial development of String Quartet No. 1 was supported by the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of New York City Ballet, during its 10th Anniversary 2010 Session.

The Choreographic Institute was established in 2000 to promote the development of young choreographers. In 2003, the Choreographic Institute began commissioning student composers from Juilliard to write a work in collaboration with a selected choreographer. The String Quartet No. 1 was written in collaboration with the renowned German choreographer Marco Goecke for the 10th Anniversary session, which showcased three composers and three choreographers from previous sessions in the first public performances in the Institute’s history.

Marco and I had a discussion over the phone concerning the new piece in which he gave me a great deal of freedom to work. This was exciting for me, but also challenging, as I wanted to compose a work that I thought would compliment his fantastic and energetic choreography. At the same time, I also wanted to compose a work that could stand on its own as a concert piece. I spent hours watching and re-watching a number of his works to try to help guide my compositional decisions. I had many false starts, and at one point was nearly finished with another version of the string quartet, completely different from the final product, but felt that while the piece was not bad, I did not think it would compliment Marco’s choreography. I threw out this quartet and started from scratch, and soon produced the work in its current state.

The ballet, For Sascha, was premiered at Miller Theatre in New York City November 5, 2010, danced by Sean Souzzi, Daniel Applebaum, Marika Anderson, and Gretchen Smith. The music was performed by members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble.

String Quartet No. 1

Parts and Score