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2021 Birdfoot Festival: Backstage! Silence: John Cage
March 28 at 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Silence: John Cage
Backstage with the Argus Quartet
Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 2:30 PM
• Registration opens on March 14th to participate in this live event on Zoom — Admission by donation; Tickets limited to facilitate discussion. Questions and comments will be addressed through the “Chat” function.
• Watch a livestream of the event on YouTube (Link coming soon)—Free (donations appreciated).
About the Argus Quartet:
The Argus Quartet is dedicated to encouraging the joys of human connection, community, and discovery by bringing a wide-ranging repertoire to life through bold and meaningful programming and a vibrant commitment to collaboration and education, winning recognition as a “vivacious foursome … [that] plays canonical standards with authority and verve and approaches modern music with care and assurance” (The New Yorker). Praised for playing with “supreme melodic control and total authority” and “decided dramatic impact” (Calgary Herald), the Quartet has quickly emerged as one of today’s most dynamic and versatile ensembles, winning First Prize at both the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition and the 2017 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition.
Since then, increasingly busy concert seasons have taken the Quartet to some of the country’s most prestigious venues and festivals, including Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel Halls, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, the Ravinia Festival, the Albany Symphony’s American Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West. Highlights of the 2019-20 season included a debut performance for Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, along with a return engagement in New York for the Schneider Concerts at the New School.
The group has worked with many of today’s leading musical voices, including Martin Bresnick, Chris Cerrone, Ted Hearne, Garth Knox, Andrew Norman, Christopher Theofanidis, and Augusta Read Thomas. Recent commissions include new quartets by Katherine Balch, Donald Crockett, Eric Guinivan, Thomas Kotcheff, and Juri Seo. A recording of Seo’s works for string quartet was released in May 2019 on Innova Recordings. The Quartet has received grants from the Koussevitsky Foundation, Chamber Music America, and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in support of their commissioning efforts.
Education and outreach are an important part of the Argus Quartet’s mission. The Quartet has worked with students through residencies and masterclasses at Yale and Princeton, James Madison University, Rockport Music, the Milken School, the Young Musicians Foundation, California State University (at Long Beach and Northridge), and Los Angeles City College.
Based in New York City, the Quartet was founded in Los Angeles in 2013, where its members shared many meals at their favorite taco truck on Argus Drive.
Learn more about the Argus Quartet here.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Hornstein
About Birdfoot Festival 2021: Backstage!
In honor of a year that has defied the most valiant attempts to plan, Birdfoot Festival offers a musical ode to creativity, resilience, and to the place where this series was born, that place where so much art was first imagined: the kitchen table, backstage of backstages.
The kitchen table is a good place to start at a time when we are hungry for things that inspire hope and creativity: Like tasting a soup as the flavors come together, rehearsing a piece of music is a process of building up layers of sound until textures come together and notes become music.
In 2021, Birdfoot Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a virtual season dedicated to its signature Birdfoot Backstage. This series features an exceptional cast of ensembles, each including one or more Birdfoot artists. Each interactive event includes a short performance followed by a deep dive into the music. Whether you are a chamber music connoisseur or a complete newbie, you are invited to join these musicians behind the scenes for a lively exploration of music and the creative process.
This year’s virtual festival is dedicated to the backstages of the world and the creative processes that they incubate. While this isn’t how we imagined celebrating ten years of Birdfoot—a festival built around the joy of sharing live music—our need to keep connecting and sharing musical inspiration can’t wait. So until we can come together in person again, join us “backstage” and let’s keep the conversation alive.