Praised for its “powerhouse playing” by the Chicago Sun-Times and its “extraordinary precision” by the Boston Globe, the JACK Quartet has quickly established a reputation for giving high-energy performances of today’s most demanding works for string quartet. The New York Times called the quartet’s performance of Iannis Xenakis’ complete string quartets one of the “most memorable classical music presentations of 2008.” In 2009, the quartet received an ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.
Comprising violist John Pickford Richards, violinists Ari Streisfeld and Christopher Otto, and cellist Kevin McFarland (their initials forming the name “JACK”), the quartet has performed at Carnegie Hall (USA), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), and the Festival Internacional Chihuahua (Mexico) with future appearances at the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Germany), the Library of Congress (USA), and the Donaueschinger Musiktage (Germany).
The commissioning and performance of new works for string quartet is integral to the JACK Quartet’s mission, leading them to work closely with composers Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Matthias Pintscher, Wolfgang Rihm, Elliott Sharp, Samuel Adler, and Aaron Cassidy. Upcoming premieres include works by Johannes Schöllhorn, Martin Smolka, Caleb Burhans, Peter Ablinger, and Alan Hilario.
The quartet has lead workshops with young composers at Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Victoria, and the University of Washington. In addition to working with composers and performers, the JACK Quartet seeks to broaden and diversify the potential audience for new music through educational presentations designed for a variety of ages, backgrounds, and levels of musical experience.
The members of the quartet met while attending the Eastman School of Music and have since studied closely with the Arditti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Muir String Quartet, as well as with members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.
Helmut LACHENMANN: Complete String Quartets (mode 267)
Lewis NIELSON: Le Journal du Corps for string quartet; Axis (Sandman) for solo percussion and string quintet (mode 283)
Horatiu RADULESCU: String Quartet No.5 “before the universe was born”, op.89 (mode 290)
Johannes SCHOLLHORN: rota (mode 255)
Iannis XENAKIS: Complete String Quartets (mode 209)
Iannis XENAKIS: Akea – with Aki Takahashi, piano (mode 217)
JACK Quartet online