Morrison Chamber Music Center Presents JACK Quartet

Tuesday, April 09, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO — The Morrison Chamber Music Center of San Francisco State University’s College of Liberal & Creative Arts will conclude its 2018 – 2019 season with a concert by JACK Quartet on Sunday, May 12, 2019, at 3 p.m. in the McKenna Theatre at San Francisco State University. The Jack Quartet, one of the nation’s premiere ensembles dedicated to the music of our time, will present a program featuring works by Elliott Carter, Zosha Di Castri (Bay Area premiere) and John Zorn, as well arrangements of Medieval and Renaissance works by Solage, Rodericus and Thomas Morley.
Photo of the Jack Quartet member seated in various positions

Hailed by The New York Times as the “nation’s most important quartet,” JACK Quartet is one of the most acclaimed, renowned, and respected groups performing today. JACK Quartet has maintained an unwavering commitment to their mission of performing and commissioning new works, giving voice to underheard composers, and cultivating an ever-greater sense of openness toward contemporary classical music. Over the past season, they have been selected as Musical America’s 2018 “Ensemble of the Year,” named to WQXR’s “19 for 19 Artists to Watch” and awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Through intimate relationships with today’s most creative voices, JACK embraces close collaboration with the composers they perform, leading to a radical embodiment of the technical, musical, and emotional aspects of their work. The quartet has worked with artists such as Julia Wolfe, George Lewis, Chaya Czernowin, Helmut Lachenmann, Caroline Shaw and Simon Steen-Andersen, with upcoming and recent premieres including works by Tyshawn Sorey, Sabrina Schroeder, John Luther Adams, Clara Iannotta, Philip Glass, Catherine Lamb, Lester St. Louis and John Zorn. JACK Quartet also recently announced their new Fulcrum Project, an all-access initiative to commission six artists each year, who will receive money, workshop time, mentorship and resources to develop new work to be performed and recorded by the quartet.


Renowned for their distinctive approach to programming, JACK Quartet will present a concert that juxtaposes complex contemporary works with arrangements of short works from the Medieval and Renaissance eras. In terms of the latter, the concert will feature arrangements by violinist Christopher Otto of Christes Crosse (ca. 1597) by Thomas Morley (1557/58 – 1602); Fumeux fume par fumee by Solage (ca. 1350 – 1403) and Angelorum Psalat (ca. 1390s) by Rodericus. These arrangements, which are representative of music with more highly complex rhythmic structures than are typical of their eras, will be interspersed with quartets from the 20th and 21st centuries.

In terms of the 21st century, JACK Quartet will feature the Bay Area premiere of Zosha Di Castri’s String Quartet No. 1 (2016). Co-commissioned by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in partnership with The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Americas Society, Di Castri’s quartet explores virtuosic shifts between quickly contrasting modes of expression, while demanding a physical internalization of a dense thicket of activity.

Closing out the program’s first half will be John Zorn’s Necronomicon (2003). A phenomenon of his native New York’s downtown new-music scene in the 1970s, John Zorn has remained a maverick among mavericks as a composer, performer (especially on saxophone) and recording artist. Necronomicon manifests Zorn’s fascination with the convergence of mysticism, the occult and popular culture.

Representing the 20th century will be Elliott Carter’s iconic String Quartet No. 3 (1971), the final work on the program. Commissioned by The Julliard School for the Julliard String Quartet, Carter’s quartet divides the instruments into pairs: a Duo for Violin and Cello that plays in rubato style and one for Violin and Viola in more regular rhythm. The composer wrote of his String Quartet No. 3: “During the Quartet each character of each Duo is presented alone and also in combination with each character of the other Duo to give a sense of ever-varying perspectives of feelings, expression, rivalry and cooperation.”

Residency activities

In addition to the concert, JACK Quartet will conduct residency activities in the School of Music, under the auspices of the Morrison Chamber Music Center on Monday, May 13 at noon. Specifically, JACK Quartet will be reading newly composed works by student composers. Residency activities are free and open to the public to observe. No tickets are required. For details, please contact

Pre-concert talk

In addition to the concert, JACK Quartet will participate in a pre-concert talk on Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m. in Knuth Hall (Room 132) in SF State’s Creative Arts Building, under the auspices of the Morrison Chamber Music Center. The pre-concert event is free and open to the public to observe. No tickets are required.


Admission-Free tickets for Trio Ancuza Aprodu concert will be available beginning April 21, 2019, through the Morrison Artists Series website or through Simpletix. Tickets may not be reserved by email or U.S. Mail. Reserved tickets may be printed at home, displayed on a phone or other device or picked up at the box office at will call on the day of the event. Box office hours are one hour prior to events.

More information about this event

Media Contact: 
Richard Aldag, 415-290-4174,
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