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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 3:46 pm | A Few Clouds 63º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Gerald Carpenter: JACK Quartet to Bring Music Academy of the West Up to Speed

The JACK Quartet will storm the Music Academy on Monday. (Stephen Poff photo)
The JACK Quartet will storm the Music Academy on Monday. (Stephen Poff photo)

The next Mosher Guest Artist Recital — at 8 p.m. Monday in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West, 1070 Fairway Road in Santa Barbara — will feature the dynamic new ensemble, the JACK Quartet (Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violins; John Pickford Richards, viola; Kevin McFarland, cello).

According to their website, “JACK (sic) is focused on the commissioning and performance of new works, leading them to work closely with composers John Luther Adams, Derek Bermel, Chaya Czernowin, James Dillon, Brian Ferneyhough, Beat Furrer, Georg Friedrich Haas, Vijay Iyer, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Mackey, Matthias Pintscher, Steve Reich, Roger Reynolds, Wolfgang Rihm, Salvatore Sciarrino and John Zorn. Upcoming and recent premieres include works by Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Toby Twining, Simon Holt, Kevin Ernste and Simon Bainbridge.”

Also, “JACK operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning and spread of new string quartet music.”

Bearing this information in mind, you will probably not be surprised to learn that the JACK Quartet’s Monday evening program consists of Caroline Shaw’s Ritornello 2.sq.2.j (2014), Zorn’s The Alchemist for string quartet (2011), Pintscher’s Study IV for Treatise on the Veil (2009); and Iannis Xenakis’​ Tetras (1983).

The young men of this ensemble are what we used to call “Young Turks” — meaning young reformers, ruthless and uncompromising — before Cenk Uygur took the name for his program, network and website, and made such a success of it that we now think first of the network, and only second, if at all, of the historical reform movement that called itself the Committee of Union and Progress, and which the rest of the world called the “Young Turks.”

(The original Young Turks achieved some amazing reforms, turning Ottoman absolutism into a constitutional democracy, and making it stick, before splintering into factions, and slipping into moral relativism, over the fate of their Armenian subjects.)

When I call the JACK Quartet “young Turks” I mean only that they are a vigorous manifestation of the avant guarde.

I rather suspect that the audience for this performance will be largely made up of Music Academy fellows — that is to say, musicians rather than music lovers. There is a touch of arrogance about the program, in that they refuse to provide as a baseline a single familiar work.

Presumably, all four are masters of their instruments, but we will have nothing to measure their performance against. Their playing is intense, and astonishingly disciplined; whether they make music or trigonometry will be up to the individual listener to choose.

Tickets to the Jack Quartet are $10 and $55, with youth 7-17 admitted free. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets, or call 805.969.8787.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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