October 13-19: Announcing the 2018 Momenta Festival


October 13-19: Announcing the 2018 Momenta Festival

[the Momenta Festival] has become one of the most amazingly eclectic, never mind herculean feats attempted by any chamber ensemble in this city... New York Music Daily
New York Music Daily

October 13-19: Momenta Quartet presents the 4th edition of the Momenta Festival, four diverse chamber music programs each curated by a different member of the quartet. With programs that blend the old and new, the "intriguing programming" (The New York Times) and "striking originality" (I Care If You Listen) of the Momenta Festival have been acclaimed by critics and fans alike.

The 2018 festival opens at The Tenri Cultural Institute on October 13 with the program Canciones, featuring guest vocalist Lucy Shelton and curated by violinist Alex Shiozaki. The festival continues October 15 with the program Ocean Breakup curated by violist Stephanie Griffin, and October 17 with the program Atmospheres curated by violinist Emilie-Anne Gendron, both at the Americas Society. Back at the Tenri Cultural Institute, on October 19 the festival concludes with the program The Power of Four curated by cellist Michael Haas. Note: programs subject to change.

"We founded this festival four years ago as an artistic outlet for each of our individual musical interests," says Momenta violist Stephanie Griffin. "Four years later and I'm always surprised to discover new pieces and composers that my Momenta colleagues introduce me to through this festival."

Contributing to the festive atmosphere, admission to all concerts is free and includes free custom beers by Sam Burlingame of BrewHeister. Complete details below.


Alex Shiozaki, Violin

Canciones - curated by Alex Shiozaki

Saturday, October 13 at 7:00 pm
The Tenri Cultural Institute 
43a W. 13th St., NYC

Momenta Festival IV opens with "Canciones", a celebration of the voice and the people. Legendary soprano Lucy Shelton joins Momenta for works by Cristobal Halffter and Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose music and texts share a folk ideal. Closing the program is Beethoven's Op. 130 String Quartet with its beautiful Cavatina, one of the most beautiful songs in the quartet literature. 

Anna Clyne: Rest These Hands, for solo violin
Cristobal Halffter: Canciones de al-Andalus for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Suite for voice and violin
Beethoven: String Quartet Op. 130 


Stephanie Griffin, Viola

Ocean Breakup - curated by Stephanie Griffin

Monday, October 15 at 7:00 pm
Americas Society
680 Park Ave., NYC

"Ocean Breakup" explores the literary connection between tales of heartbreak and tales of the sea. In classical music, perhaps the most famous instance of this is Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Versatile soprano Ariadne Greif joins Momenta and friends in the world premiere of Stephanie Griffin's chamber arrangement of the "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde, with additional works by Alba Potes, Carl Bettendorf, Guy Barash, and Stephanie Griffin.

Anon: troubadour song about Tristan and Isolde
Carl Bettendorf: Il y a l'Océan
Alba Potes: Oleajes
Guy Barash: String Quartet no. 1 "Wrong Ocean" 
Stephanie Griffin: Poem from Exile
Richard Wagner (arr. Griffin): "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde


Emilie-Anne Gendron, Violin

Atmospheres - curated by Emilie-Anne Gendron

Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 pm
Americas Society
680 Park Ave., NYC

This program is a collection of travel memories of a sort. Each of the works carries a strong sense of climate and atmosphere. Milhaud's Sonatina Pastorale is springlike and temperate; Sierra's String Quartet No. 2 is lushly tropical and full of dance rhythms in homage to his Puerto Rican roots; the placid Song of the Varied Thrush by Winnipegian Ann Southam is cool and Nordic in atmosphere; and Aaron Copland's Sextet brings to mind a vibrant, mechanical cityscape. The Copland features special guests Stephen Gosling, piano and Benjamin Fingland, clarinet - two of the foremost interpreters of the music of our time.

Darius Milhaud: Sonatina Pastorale, Op. 383 for violin solo
Roberto Sierra: String Quartet No. 2
Ann Southam: Song of the Varied Thrush for string quartet
Aaron Copland: Sextet for string quartet, clarinet, and piano


Michael Haas, Cello

The Power of Four - curated by Michael Haas

Friday, October 19 at 7:00 pm
The Tenri Cultural Institute 
43a W. 13th St., NYC

The fourth night of Momenta Festival IV revolves around, what else, the number four. The program opens with Glory Bound, a new Chamber Music America commission for Momenta Quartet by Alvin Singleton. The central work on the program is Bartok's iconic and revolutionary Fourth String Quartet (1928), a masterpiece of the 20th century. Momenta is joined by the Attacca Quartet to round out the program with Enescu's brilliant and virtuosic Octet for Strings, Op. 7, a passionate joyride that harnesses the energy and exuberance of youth with the power of eight musicians.

Eric Nathan: Four to One
Béla Bartók: Fourth String Quartet
George Enescu: Octet for Strings, Op. 7

Momenta: the plural of momentum - four individuals in motion towards a common goal. This is the idea behind the Momenta Quartet, whose eclectic vision encompasses contemporary music of all aesthetic backgrounds alongside great music from the recent and distant past. The New York City-based quartet has premiered over 150 works, collaborated with over 200 living composers and was praised by The New York Times for its "diligence, curiosity and excellence." In the words of The New Yorker's Alex Ross, "few American players assume Haydn's idiom with such ease.

Momenta has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery, Rubin Museum, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Washington University in St. Louis, Ostrava Days in the Czech Republic, and at the internationally renowned Cervantino Festival in Mexico. Momenta has recorded for Centaur Records, Furious Artisans, PARMA, New World Records, and Albany Records; and has been broadcast on WQXR, Q2 Music, Austria's Oe1, and Vermont Public Radio.