PERFORMANCE

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ETHEL

Friday, September 27, 2013
Swasey Chapel | 8pm

The New York Times describes ETHEL as an “amplified new-music string quartet” and they are acclaimed as “one of the most exciting quartets around” by Strad Magazine. Their Denison concert features Grace. In every sense of the word, "Grace" provides effortless beauty and charm, goodwill, a favor, and a reprieve. This program is a journey to redemption through music.

ABOUT THE GUEST ARTIST

Founded in 1998 and based in New York City, ETHEL is comprised of Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello), Kip Jones (violin) and Tema Watstein (violin). The New York Times describes ETHEL as an “amplified new-music string quartet”.

Acclaimed as “indefatigable and eclectic” (The New York Times), “vital and brilliant” (The New Yorker), and “one of the most exciting quartets around” (Strad Magazine), ETHEL invigorates the contemporary music scene with exuberance, intensity, imaginative programming, and exceptional artistry.

Their Vail Series performance will be Grace, an introspective program featuring ETHEL’s arrangements of music by Ennio Morricone and Jeff Buckley. ETHEL’s program “Grace” features a suite from “The Mission” soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, special music honoring the 20th anniversary release of Jeff Buckley’s Grace, and quartets by Phil Kline, Mary Ellen Childs, and other contemporary composers. In every sense of the word, “Grace” provides effortless beauty and charm, goodwill, a favor, and a reprieve. This program is a journey to redemption through music. In complex, stressful times and in a world overwhelmed by seemingly irreconcilable differences and unsustainable challenges, music provides both an immediate tonic of relief and a medium for real long-term healing and understanding. ETHEL has pursued this aspect of their art in many ways over the years, both in their own creative output, and in opening their hearts and skills to close collaboration with master artists from diverse cultures across the globe.

The centerpiece of this astonishing program is ETHEL’s own adaptation of Ennio Morricone’s moving score to the 1986 film, The Mission. Morricone’s score was nominated for an Academy Award in 1986 and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. The film deals with cross-cultural complexities fueled by the quest for redemption against the backdrop of the jungles of South America. Also featured on the concert are special quartet treatments honoring the 20th anniversary of the release of Jeff Buckley’s Grace – his glorious, and tragically, only, completed studio album. Favorite ETHEL composers and collaborators Mary Ellen Childs (USA), Marcelo Zarvos (Brazil), and Carlo Mombelli (South Africa) along with original music by members of ETHEL, fill out the program with works both searching and deeply joyful.

At the heart of ETHEL is a collaborative ethos – a quest for a common creative expression that is forged in the celebration of community. As cultural and musical “pollinators,” the quartet brings its collaborative discoveries to audiences through multi-dimensional musical repertoire and community engagement. ETHEL has initiated innovative collaborations with an extraordinary community of international artists including David Byrne, Bang on a Can, Todd Rundgren, Carlo Mombelli, Ursula Oppens, Juana Molina, Tom Verlaine, STEW, Ensemble Modern, Jill Sobule, Dean Osborne, Howard Levy, Simone Sou, Andrew Bird, Iva Bittová, Colin Currie, Thomas Dolby, Jeff Peterson, Oleg Fateev, Stephen Gosling, Jake Shimabukuro, Polygraph Lounge and Vijay Iyer.

For nine consecutive years, ETHEL has served as the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Grand Canyon Music Festival’s Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project. The group’s ongoing dedication to working with indigenous people and music culminated in the 2010 release of Oshtali: Music for String Quartet (Thunderbird Records), the first commercial recording of American Indian student works.

Prior to their Denison performance they will be hold a master class with orchestra students, performing selected pieces, talking about them, answering questions, and sharing their considerable talent, insight and creativity with Denison students.