Inspired by the innovative American artist Alexander Calder, 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. The group was awarded the 2009 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award in recognition of its exciting programming and collaborations.
As quartet-in-residence at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, the Calder performs twice yearly at Zipper Hall. In December of 2008, the group collaborated with Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng on the Thomas Ades quintet. Season highlights this year include a return to La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, as well as recent performances at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Lied Center at the University of Kansas, and the Beeline Festival at MIT. Their live performance on New York’s WNYC-FM in 2008 was voted one of the “Best of 2008.”
This year has been monumental for the quartet with unique collaborations with artists ranging from Terry Riley to party rocker Andrew W.K.. The Calder Quartet has been teaming up extensively with indie rock band The Airborne Toxic Event, including performances on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and at Coachella Music and Arts Festival.
The quartet has long-standing relationships with pivotal composers Terry Riley and Christopher Rouse. The Calder Quartet met Riley when they shared a concert as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox Festival in 2006, and continues to spend time studying his works and making personal recordings for Riley. 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 have co-commissioned Rouse to write a new quartet for the Calder, which premieres in New Haven in June 2010. The quartet has also recorded a Christopher Rouse album to be released on the E1 label.
In 2008, the Calder Quartet released its first album featuring the music of Thomas Ades, Mozart, and Ravel. Strings Magazine called the album “an almost delirious display of rich coloration and complex textures.” They had the special opportunity to work with visual artist Dave Muller on the album artwork and were able to expand their relationship with Thomas Ades 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.
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 Carlsbad Music Festival include a piece by Tristan Perich incorporating 1-bit electronics and a piece by Christine Southworth using robotic instruments. By the end of 2009, there will be eight original quartets commissioned for the Calder by the Carlsbad Music Festival.
The Calder Quartet has 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 fűr Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, and collaborated with such notable performers as Menahem Pressler and Joseph Kalichstein. They have enjoyed performances in venues and festivals across the country and have been featured in some of the nation’s top publications and radio stations.