String Quartet “Colombiana”



My first string quartet was a huge undertaking that involved developing a completely new compositional technique and over three years to complete. Much of this material was first recorded at the piano as improvisations. These recordings were then transcribed onto the score with large-note-head notation which defined precise rhythms but only relative pitch. After leaving these transcriptions for several months, I returned to them with very little recollection of the original improvisations, and constructed the final score by choosing new pitches and harmonies but keeping the notated structure and rhythms. The result was a very improvisatory sound that also had the advantage of being very carefully worked out and polished.

i. Colombiana
ii. Gavottes
iii. Aquarium
iv. E. Alan White

The unusual instrumentation of this quartet calls for one violin, one viola, and two celli (one scordatura), and it requires all of the musicians to play auxiliary percussion instruments. The first movement was inspired by a trip that I took to Colombia when I was 16 years old. The “Gavottes” explore the surprising connection between the “vibe” of the Baroque Gavotte and late-20th century, jazzy, drum & bass electronica. The “Aquarium” movement is the meat of the piece and contains its most interesting textures. My friend Alan White and his amazing, luminous paintings and artwork inspired the final movement. While we weren’t able to spend much time together, his legacy as an artist and teacher made a huge impact on my developing artistic sensibilities.

*note: if you choose print option for purchase, your printed music will be prepared and shipped to you within 2 weeks of purchase.

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