The members of the American JACK Quartet have known each other since studying together at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. They have studied with the Arditti Quartet, the Kronos Quartet, the Muir String Quartet and members of the Ensemble intercontemporain. They concentrate on commissioning and performing contemporary works, and this leads to close cooperations with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Toshio Hosokawa and Wolfgang Rihm.
In Berlin’s Chamber Music Hall, the JACK Quartet will take on Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri’s First String Quartet, which was composed for the Banff String Quartet Competition in 2016 – a brilliant composition that creates spectacular soundscapes with effective glissandi and guitar playing techniques that are unusual for string quartets. In contrast, calm and poetry define Morton Feldman’s Structures, in which the four voices weave meditative interiorised “carpets of sound” from a limited supply of patterns.
Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 3 ends up being rhythmically complex, since the quartet is divided into two duos: the first duo (1st violin and cello) is required to render a free rubato style of playing with irregular rhythms, while the part of the second duo (2nd violin and viola) is characterised by rhythmic rigour. Liza Lim’s The Weaver’s Knot was inspired, in turn, by playing techniques for the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, while in Iannis Xenakis’s String Quartet Tetras percussive effects, pointillist sounds, strong tremolos and hard turns ensure a phenomenal thrill of sounds.