A profile of the JACK Quartet, winner of a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant Award. The quartet is comprised of violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell. Acclaimed as “superheroes of the new music world” by The Boston Globe, the JACK Quartet is dedicated to commissioning and performing contemporary classical music.

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> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'NYC ARTS.'

THE CEREMONY FOR THIS YEAR'S AVERY FISHER CAREER GRANTS AWARD TOOK PLACE IN MARCH AT THE JEROME L. GREEN PERFORMANCE SPACE AT WQXR.

THESE INDIVIDUAL GRANTS OF $25,000 GAVE PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE AND RECOGNITION TO TALENTED INSTRUMENTALISTS WHO HAVE GREAT POTENTIAL FOR SOLO CAREERS.

THERE WERE FOUR RECIPIENTS THIS YEAR.

HENRY KRAMER, CHRISTINA AND MICHELLE NORTON AND THE JACK QUARTET, ACCLAIMED AS SUPERHEROES OF THE NEW MUSIC WORLD BY THE 'BOSTON GLOBE.'

THE QUARTET IS DEDICATED TO COMMISSIONING AND PERFORMING CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL MUSIC.

THEY ALSO REVIVE THE WORK OF HISTORICALLY OVERLOOKED COMPOSERS.

AS A NONPROFIT, THEY'RE DEDICATED TO MUSIC EDUCATION, FREQUENTLY VISITING SCHOOLS AND TEACHING AT RESIDENCIES AND IF HE FEEL FESTIVALS.

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I THINK THAT WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE IS THAT WE'RE REALLY JUST ALL ABOUT EXPLORING THE STYLES AND IDEAS THAT ARE CHALLENGING THE FRAMEWORK THAT WE USUALLY APPROACH OUR INSTRUMENTS THROUGH.

SO WE'RE REALLY INTERESTED IN NEW STYLES OF RHYTHM, NEW HARMONIES, NEW AESTHETIC MODES THAT ARE UNFAMILIAR AND KIND OF UNTESTED SOMETIMES.

SO THAT CAN MEAN EXPLORING THINGS FROM THE PAST THAT PEOPLE AREN'T REPRESENTING IN CONCERT VERY MUCH, OR IT CAN MEAN COMPOSERS OF TODAY WHO ARE REALLY PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES AND LOOKING FOR NEW IDEAS.

RECEIVING THE GRANT IS VERY MEANINGFUL TO US, I THINK, BECAUSE FOR SO LONG WE FELT A LITTLE BIT ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSICAL MUSIC FIELD EVEN THOUGH WE COME FROM A CLASSICAL MUSIC TRADITION.

THIS IS SORT OF A SIGNAL TO US THAT LARGER CLASSICAL MUSIC INSTITUTIONS SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF NEW AND UNUSUAL AND WEIRD MUSIC.

AND WE'RE EXCITED TO USE THE ACTUAL GRANT ITSELF TO FUND A PROJECT THAT WE'RE JUST STARTING NOW CALLED THE FULCRUM PROJECT.

WE'RE GOING TO BE COMMISSIONING SIX COMPOSERS EACH YEAR WHO MAY NOT HAVE ACCESS TO WHAT OTHER INSTITUTIONS CAN OFFER.

WE'RE EXCITED TO SEE WHAT INDIVIDUAL VOICES COME OUT OF THAT AND BE EXPOSED TO THE HUGE RANGE OF STYLES AND IDEAS THAT THEY HAVE.

AND ALSO WE WANT TO USE OUR EXPERIENCE TO HELP THEM.

SO IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR US TO BE IN CONTACT WITH YOUNGER COMPOSERS AND JUST CONTINUE THIS FLOW OF IDEAS.

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THE PIECES THAT WE PLAYED IN THE AWARDS EVENT ARE ALL IMPORTANT TO US.

THEY SHOW DIFFERENT SIDES OF WHAT WE EXPLORE AS MISSIONS.

THE FIRST PIECE EXPLORES RHYTHMIC STYLES OF THE PASS THROUGH THE LENS OF CHRIS'S IMAGINATION.

I GOT INTERESTED IN THIS WORK BECAUSE OF ITS INTRICATE RHYTHMS.

THERE'S THIS WHOLE STYLE OF MEDIEVAL WORKS WHERE COMPOSERS WERE REALLY EXPERIMENTAL WITH THE NOTATION AND THE RHYTHM.

COMPOSERS WERE DOING KIND OF WHAT COMPOSERS ARE DOING NOW.

AND THIS KIND OF EXPERIMENTATION AND THIS KIND OF LEVEL OF COMPLEXITY WASN'T REALLY SEEN FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

THE PIECE HAS TWO VOICES.

WHAT HAPPENS IS THEY KIND OF START IN THE SAME TEMPO AND THEN THEY START TO KIND OF DIVERGE INTO DIFFERENT TEMPOS.

ONE WILL BE PLAYING TRIPLETS, ONE WILL BE PLAYING DOTTED RHYTHMS.

THEY START TO GET FURTHER APART AND YOU START TO GET CONFUSED LIKE WHERE ARE WE AND THEN THEY START TO MELD BACK TOGETHER AGAIN AT THE CADENCES.

IT HAS A GROOVE TO IT BUT THEN THE TWO GROOVES START TO DIVERGE AND COME BACK INTO FOCUS.

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THEN THE PIECE BY AMY WILLIAMS.

OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH AMY WILLIAMS SORT OF CAME OUT OF THE BLUE.

SHE HAS RECEIVED A COMMISSION TO WRITE A WORK FOR ANOTHER STRING QUARTET THAT THEN DISBANDED.

SHE WROTE TO US.

SHE SAID I HAVE THIS GRANT TO WRITE A QUARTET, WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED.

WE DIDN'T KNOW HER AT THE TIME.

WE SAID, SURE, OF COURSE.

SHE WROTE A REALLY GREAT PIECE CALLED RICHTER TEXTURES.

IT'S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT THE REPRESENTATION OF THE MEANING OF THE PAINTING BUT MORE FOCUSED ON THE FORMAL QUALITIES OF IT.

WHAT DID THE ARTIST DO WITH THE BRUSH WORK AND HOW CAN THAT RELATE TO THE FORMAL QUALITIES OF THE MUSIC.

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ALSO A VERY GOOD FRIEND AND A LEGEND IN NEW YORK.

HIS WORK NECROCOMICON.

IT DOES FEEL LIKE THERE ARE MOMENTS IN THE PIECE WHERE YOU KIND OF BRIEFLY GLIMPSE INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION.

IT'S FULL OF ALL KINDS OF ALCHEMAIC --. ♪♪

IT'S FULL OF JUST REALLY TREACHEROUS TECHNICAL PASSAGES, OFTEN THAT ARE IN UNISON AT BREAKNECK SPEEDS, JUST GETTING FROM THE START TO THE END FULLY FOCUSED.

IT'S KIND OF A PHYSICALLY TAXING PIECE.

ON TOP OF MENTALLY VERY CHALLENGING TO KEEP TOGETHER.

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