Benjamin Jacobson - Violin, Andrew Bulbrook - Violin, Jonathan Moerschel - Viola and Eric Byers - Cello
Deemed “superb” by The New York Times, the Calder Quartet continues to expand its unique array of projects by performing traditional quartet repertoire as well as partnering with innovative modern composers, emerging musicians, and performers across genres. Inspired by innovative American artist Alexander Calder, the group was awarded the 2009 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award in recognition of its exciting programming and collaborations. The quartet has worked with and performed with pivotal modern composers such as Terry Riley, Christopher Rouse and Thomas Adès to indie rock bands including The Airborne Toxic Event, Vampire Weekend and party rocker Andrew WK.
Recent highlights for the Calder Quartet include performances at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville; New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas; Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Green Umbrella Series; in concert with Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Performance highlights in the 2010-11 season include the group’s Carnegie Hall debut, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the 2010 Melbourne Festival with Thomas Adès as pianist and the world premiere of a new work by composer Andrew Norman for the University of Southern California Presidential Inauguration. The Calder Quartet toured across North America with Andrew W.K. and The Airborne Toxic Event this past year and has been featured on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
The group has long-standing relationships with composers Terry Riley and Christopher Rouse. The Calder Quartet first met Riley when they shared a concert as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox Festival in 2006 and recently released a limited edition vinyl release of Riley’s Trio and Quartet in commemoration of the composers’ 75th birthday. The Calder is also the first quartet in two decades to have a work written for them by composer Christopher Rouse. Carnegie Hall, New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas, La Jolla Music Society, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival co-commissioned Rouse to write a new quartet for the Calder, which premiered at the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas in June 2010. The quartet’s album of Christopher Rouse works Transfiguration was also released this year. About the album, Gramophone says, “Rouse’s disquieting quartets are given powerful performances by the Calder.”
In 2008, the Calder Quartet released its first album which featured the music of Thomas Adès, Mozart, and Ravel. They were able to expand their relationship with Thomas Adès by working directly with the composer on a performance of Arcadiana as part of the Green Umbrella Series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in May 2008, as well as in concert with the composer in Stockholm at the Stockholm Philmarmonic Orchestra’s Konserthuset in November 2009. Of that performance the Guardian (UK) said, “the Calder Quartet played the most insightful and moving performance of Thomas Ades’s Arcadiana I’ve ever heard.”
The Calder Quartet continues its relationship with the Carlsbad Music Festival, an alternative classical music festival, which the group co-founded with composer Matt McBane in 2004. The festival presents concerts in both San Diego and Los Angeles as well as outreach programs and a composers commissioning competition. Commissioned works for the Calder Quartet through the Festival include a piece by Tristan Perich incorporating 1-bit electronics and a piece by Christine Southworth using robotic instruments. At this time, there are twelve original quartets commissioned for the Calder by the Carlsbad Music Festival.
The Calder Quartet studied together at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and the Colburn Conservatory of Music with Ronald Leonard, and at the Juilliard School, where it received the Artist Diploma in Chamber Music Studies as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet. They have also studied with Professor Eberhard Feltz at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, and collaborated with such notable performers as Menahem Pressler and Joseph Kalichstein. The quartet regularly conducts masterclasses and is the quartet-in-residence at the Colburn Conservatory.
You can view a video of the Calder Quartet here.