Texture: Katherine Balch

Backstage with the Argus Quartet

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Although this event has ended, you can watch the entire program below.

View the 2021 Birdfoot Festival season program book here.


Katherine Balch: Drip Music (2019)

When do small everyday sounds transform into music? Join Birdfoot and the Argus Quartet to explore the exquisite textures of soft sounds, and the beautiful lines between noise, sound, and silence.

In drip music*, composer Katherine Balch writes that: “From delicate, nearly inaudible drizzles of sound, splashes (heavy droplets) take over and begin to dance. This piece is about drawing attention to and then amplifying very tiny sounds, and is a celebratory exploration of the intimacies and intricacies of the string quartet.”

About the Argus Quartet:

The Argus Quartet is dedicated to encouraging the joys of human connection, community, and discovery by bringing a wide-ranging repertoire to life through bold and meaningful programming and a vibrant commitment to collaboration and education, winning recognition as a “vivacious foursome … [that] plays canonical standards with authority and verve and approaches modern music with care and assurance” (The New Yorker). Praised for playing with “supreme melodic control and total authority” and “decided dramatic impact” (Calgary Herald), the Quartet has quickly emerged as one of today’s most dynamic and versatile ensembles, winning First Prize at both the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition and the 2017 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition.

Since then, increasingly busy concert seasons have taken the Quartet to some of the country’s most prestigious venues and festivals, including Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel Halls, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, the Ravinia Festival, the Albany Symphony’s American Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West. Highlights of the 2019-20 season included a debut performance for Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, along with a return engagement in New York for the Schneider Concerts at the New School.

The group has worked with many of today’s leading musical voices, including Martin Bresnick, Chris Cerrone, Ted Hearne, Garth Knox, Andrew Norman, Christopher Theofanidis, and Augusta Read Thomas. Recent commissions include new quartets by Katherine Balch, Donald Crockett, Eric Guinivan, Thomas Kotcheff, and Juri Seo. A recording of Seo’s works for string quartet was released in May 2019 on Innova Recordings. The Quartet has received grants from the Koussevitsky Foundation, Chamber Music America, and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in support of their commissioning efforts.

Education and outreach are an important part of the Argus Quartet’s mission. The Quartet has worked with students through residencies and masterclasses at Yale and Princeton, James Madison University, Rockport Music, the Milken School, the Young Musicians Foundation, California State University (at Long Beach and Northridge), and Los Angeles City College.

Based in New York City, the Quartet was founded in Los Angeles in 2013, where its members shared many meals at their favorite taco truck on Argus Drive.

Learn more about the Argus Quartet here.

*drip music was commissioned for the Argus Quartet by Concert Artists Guild, with support from the Adele and John Gray Endowment Fund.

Photo credit: Jeffrey Hornstein