The String Quartet: From Haydn to Today

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On this episode of Arizona Encore, the Catalyst Quartet guides us through musical innovations. We’ll start with the creator of the string quartet, Franz Joseph Haydn, and his piece String Quartet Op. 76, No. 4 “Sunrise”.

Catalyst Quartet began in 2010 in a rather unique way. Originally, all four members of the quartet were previous winners of the Sphinx Competition which is an annual competition for Black and Latine stringed players. But the Sphinx organization wanted to support successful career musicians, not just competitors. So, Sphinx offered to support four previous winners as a professional string quartet with management, booking concerts and touring logistics. The Catalyst Quartet began and instantly found success.

The members of the Catalyst Quartet have changed a bit over time, but in 2020 they wanted to do something big to celebrate their 10th anniversary year. And they wanted to support emerging composers just like they had been supported at the beginning of their careers. The quartet decided to hire nine diverse composers to write for them one-minute musical compositions. The tenth composer, representing their 10 years, was supposed to be the winner of an open composition competition. But the quartet couldn’t choose just one ! They chose two winning compositions to round out 11 new works in honor of the Catalyst Quartet’s tenth anniversary. 

The best part about this arrangement? You get to hear all 11 of these new works in one concert, in this case, at the Grand Canyon Music Festival.

Can’t get enough of these performances by Catalyst Quartet? Watch the quartet perform Riley’s Sunrise of the Planetary Dream and the CQ Minute.

Featuring performances by the Catalyst Quartet

Haydn - String Quartet Op. 76, No. 4 "Sunrise"

I. Allegro con spirito

II. Adagio

III. Menuetto. Allegro

IV. Final. Allegro, ma non troppo


Riley - Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector


CQ Minute

Tower - A Short Flight

D'Rivera - But, Just a Minute?!

Childs - The Face of Past Regret

Puts - Emerge

Bashi - Con Brio

Akiho - Presidio

Montgomery - Build

Negron - Lo infinito

Shaw - Bittersweet Synonym

Revel - Time Capsule

Mekailian - A Future in Process

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