The Midsummer’s Music resident string quartet partners with composers David Gerhard Utzinger and Jon Mueller.
Sister Bay, Wis. (October 18, 2021) – Midsummer’s Music’s resident string quartet, the Griffon String Quartet, is partnering with composers David Gerhard Utzinger and Jon Mueller for a Patchwork Narratives of Sound event examining distinctly different music by Utzinger and Mueller, as well as Caroline Shaw and Jessie Montgomery.
Patchwork Narratives of Sound brings together four disparate works by the 21st-century composers. While stylistically and sonically distinct, all works connect to the others via each composer’s exploration of an individual quality of sound—the chosen parameter of sound developing across the work and creating a unique narrative that revolves around that sound.
Utzinger’s Bounce (2015, revised 2021) is an electronic work presented in quadraphonic sound that explores the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball and the ways computer manipulation can transform that sound into a narrative arc that moves from simple and sparse to dense and textural.
Montgomery wrote that her string quartet, Strum (2012), develops the sound of a “strumming pizzicato,” which “serves as a texture motive and the primary driving rhythmic underpinning of the piece, [and which draws] on American folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement, [creating] a kind of narrative that begins with fleeting nostalgia and transforms into ecstatic celebration.”
Caroline Shaw’s string quartet, Entr’acte (2011), creates a narrative dialog between musical forms of the past and present, exploring the relevance of the 18th and 19th century Minuet and Trio in the 21st century musical world. “Throughout the piece,” musician and writer Timothy Judd observes, “… we get subtle glimpses of Classical and Baroque music that has suddenly found itself in the wrong century.”
Afterlife Cartoons (2021) is a tour of drum songs by Mueller, a percussionist whose aim has been to move drums, percussion and rhythm from a space that is generally regarded as “in the background” to the central musical focus of a work or performance. In these performances, Mueller uses melodic phrases, repetitive patterns, abrupt shifts, and dynamic energy to construct abstract narratives of sound that are felt rather than told.
The concert will be performed in the round—performers will be placed in the center with the audience surrounding them. The order of pieces will be the same as is listed above with no pauses between works. The subsequent shifts in style, instrumentation and sound production between works will then create a larger patchwork narrative—one that weaves through each work and binds the concert into a unique and cohesive whole.
The October 31 event is at SWY231 at 231 N. 3rd Ave. in Sturgeon Bay, beginning at 8:00pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at midsummersmusic.com or at the door.
One of the most vibrant and engaging quartets of their generation, the Griffon String Quartet is a professional ensemble that was formed in the fall of 2018 as a collaboration led by Midsummer’s Music. The quartet is a groundbreaking project to enrich the lives of children and adults throughout northeast Wisconsin through concerts, workshops, and music education outreach. Members of the Quartet include violinists Ji-Yeon Lee and Vinicius Sant’Ana, violist Blakeley Menghini, and cellist Ryan Louie. Extraordinary musicians who have performed with orchestras and ensembles around the globe in the finest halls from Carnegie Hall and Brazil’s Teatro Municipal de São Paulo to Ukraine’s Lviv Philharmonic Hall, and won prestigious music competitions and awards, they are equally dedicated to music education and inspiring the next generation of music lovers. Each member of the Griffon String Quartet has advanced degrees and significant professional experience, both as educators and performers, and the ensemble has been recognized for “their youthful vigor, which is absolutely infectious!”
Midsummer’s Music was co-founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, long-time Door County summer residents and principal orchestral players with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. What began as two concerts among friends has become one of the Midwest’s most anticipated chamber music series, bringing thousands of chamber music enthusiasts from around the globe to the magical Door County Peninsula.