Described as having “Versatility and flair with lively improvisations” by the New York Times and being “always compelling and always exhilarating” by Imperfect Fifths, NYC-based Sirius Quartet is only the most natural choice for showcasing the genius of five genre-bending contemporary composers. Navona Records’ PLAYING ON THE EDGE brings inspiration and experience from all walks of life into one string quartet collection with the music of composers Jennifer Castellano, Ian Erickson, Brian Field, Marga Richter, and Mari Tamaki.
PLAYING ON THE EDGE suggests, beyond all else, the ability to take
risks and push limits, both on the part of the composers and performers.
Each piece involves unconventional tactics, from performers choosing
the order of movements to music that completely evolves rhythmically and
harmonically from beginning to end. Emphasis on dissonant chords, sul
ponticello bowings (quite literally playing on the edge), jagged and
uneven rhythmic movement, and general innovation and rule-bending from
each composer permeates the album. And none are more equipped for this
risky yet rich undertaking than Sirius Quartet, best known for embracing
Progress and innovation require the spirit and initiative to push
back on boundaries and ask questions about whether anything truly can’t
be done. Fortunately, the artists of PLAYING ON THE EDGE are well up to
such a task.
Featuring my arrangement of Richard Strauss’ “At bedtime.”
Marlis Petersen Dimensionen Teil 3 – Innenwelt Mit der CD “Innenwelt” findet ein außergewöhnliches Projekt seinen Abschluss: Marlis Petersens Dimensionen-Trilogie. Sie entführt uns nun in die Innenwelt, aus dem Hier und Jetzt in das geheimnisvolle Reich der Visionen und Träume, in das Unterbewusstsein der Seele, in die Nacht, wo Gedanken, Wünsche und Gefühle entstehen.
Rite of Summer Music Festival concludes its ninth stellar season with Sirius Quartet celebrating the release of “New World” on ZOHO Records.
2 Sets: Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 1pm and 3pm.
Program: Beside the Point (Fung Chern Hwei) Knives Out (Radiohead, arr. Gregor Huebner) Cavatina (Stanley Myers, arr. Fung Chern Hwei) New World, Nov 9, 2016 (Gregor Huebner) #STILL (Gregor Huebner) To A New Day (Fung Chern Hwei) More Than We Are (Jeremy Harman)
This event is FREE, outdoors, and family-friendly. More info >>
Both a charged reaction to recent political events and a celebration of the perserverance of hope and spirit, New World features 9 new compositions and arrangements from members of the quartet.
On August 23, 2019, Sirius Quartet releases New World on ZOHO Records. Called an ensemble that “works comfortably at the intersection of post-minimalist classical composition and post-bop jazz” by the Detroit Free Press, the quartet’s visceral compositions and arrangements provide ample space for improvisation. The politically-charged and topical album explores themes of immigration, discrimination, and being an agent of change.
The title track “New World, Nov. 9, 2016” was the Grand Prize winner for the New York Philharmonic’s “New World Initiative” composition competition in 2017. Composer/violinist Gregor Huebner balances idyllic and hopeful themes of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (“New World” Symphony) with the fiercer passages found in the Shostakovich String Quartet No.8 that allude to tensions between the composer and the Soviet Union. “With two immigrant violinists, we in the quartet feel that it’s important to create music that speaks to the moment in which we live and gives hope,” says composer Huebner.
Huebner’s “#STILL” is based on the devastating song “Strange Fruit,” first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939. Eighty years later and institutionalized racism remains endemic. Composer/violinist Fung Chern Hwei describes the opening work, “Beside the Point” as his “declaration of struggle against discrimination.” Cellist/composer Jeremy Harman’s “Currents” maintains an often vague sense of menace throughout, prodding the listener out of any complacency. The Beatles’ iconic “Eleanor Rigby” and Radiohead’s “Knives Out,” both arranged by Huebner, showcase the group’s fierce improvisational acumen. Recorded in Germany over two years, New World is the quartet’s first full-length since 2016’s Paths Become Lines. The album is both an impassioned lament for the state of a nation and beyond, and a beautiful and hopeful call to action.
“His album begins with Equinox, which is a through-and-through groove tune, arranged in a Cuban style, the famous John Coltrane number. It’s an opening salvo for how we can listen and learn from each other. The piece quickly opens into a solo section in which Huebner’s violin does the proverbial talking, cascading colorful lines and double-stopped notes …” — Kabir Sehgal, liner notes from the album
Musicians: Gregor Huebner – electric and acoustic violin, octave Violin, vocals Yumarya – voice Klaus Mueller – piano John Benitez – bass Louie Bauzo – congas, bongos, quinto and caja Jerome Goldschmidt – congas, bata, cachimbo and vocals Ludwig Alfonso – drums
Recorded and filmed at Spin Recording Studio, Long Island City, NY October 10, 2017
This was an exciting spring with the release of two new CDs, followed by great reviews and then two amazing tours with El Violin Latino and Sirius Quartet.
In the next few weeks school will end in Munich and the festival season will begin. First in Blaine near Seattle, then Paris with Sirius Quartet and finally, just like every year with my brother, the annual Einhalden Festival where Sirius Quartet meets Malia.
August will be quiet and I will have some time to write new music. Then the pace picks up in September with a lot of great concerts in the US.
Richie Beirach – Gregor Huebner Duo and The WDR Big Band (Rich DeRosa, Conductor) has been well received. Here are two rave reviews from Jonathan Widran for The JW Vibe and Dick Metcalf for Contemporary Fusion Reviews.
I will be interviewed on WPFW 89.3 FM on Thursday, June 13 at 3pm. I’ll be talking about El Violin Latino at the DC Jazz Fest on Jazz and Justice Jazz Stories Edition with hosts Aaron Myers and Amy K. Bormet. TUNE IN >>