JACK Quartet - Reviews

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"...as an overview of the modern quartet’s possibilities, it is hard to top, and you are not likely to hear a more energized reading than JACK delivered." - Allan Kozinn, Bowdoin International Music Festival, PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, July 26, 2016

"The JACK Quartet has received such praise for its involvement with new music that it's easy to take for granted how superbly accomplished these players are." - NY Phil Biennial, NY TIMES, May 25, 2016

"[I] heard in those luscious bars a transcendence achieved through repeated cycles of laborious exploration, each begun with whispers and murmurs that were elaborated, refracted, and sent soaring. That aspect of labor was underscored inadvertently here when the violinist Ari Streisfeld, visibly dissatisfied with something he was hearing, halted the performance to retune. Interruption notwithstanding, the quartet provided an account to savor." - Harvey's String Quartet No. 4 and Czernowin's "Hidden" with IRCAM, BOSTON GLOBE, May 2, 2016

"[The JACK Quartet] have made a specialty of this piece, performing it over and over until its structure feels hard-coded among the players. You could almost hear the telepathic messages flying from one to the other in the darkness." - Haas's In iij. Noct at San Francisco Performances, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, March 5, 2016

"The effect was wild and exhilarating, and the JACK Quartet gave it an impressive performance, never flagging in tempo or dynamics, even though the work's demands on their bowing arms were tremendous." - Haas, Machaut, and Monteverdi at Cleveland Museum of Art, THE PLAIN DEALER, March 3, 2016

"...the JACK players cleansed our minds and ears, leading me and a handful of Cleveland Museum of Art patrons across an absorbing, prismatic soundscape..." - Haas's In iij. Noct. at Transformer Station, THE CLEVELAND, March 2, 2016

"The JACK Quartet has made something of a specialty of this difficult but deeply rewarding piece, and it is hard to imagine it played with more assurance, or beauty." - Haas's In iij. Noct. at Bohemian National Hall, THE NEW YORK TIMES, February 28, 2016

"Not only was the audience treated to a breathtaking display of musical clarity through performance, but it also became utterly clear as to why the JACK Quartet has gained their deserving reputation. With a great amount of enthusiasm, I would urge anyone to experience the emotive power and remarkable musicianship the quartet offers to a live audience." - Adams, Zorn, Rodericus, and Xenakis at Jane Mallett Theatre, MUSICAL TORONTO, January 16, 2016

"In the hands of these master musicians,Tetras became accessible, transparent, beautiful. We were reminded once again of what musical artists do – they join their bodies, minds and hearts together, and put the results on display for our delight." - Iannis Xenakis's "Tetras" at Jane Mallett Theatre, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, January 15, 2016

“It’s clear how JACK have earned the admiration of contemporary composers and music lovers everywhere. They are a musical vehicle of choice to the next great composers who walk among us." - Adams, Zorn, Rodericus, and Xenakis at Jane Mallett Theatre, TORONTO STAR, January 15, 2016

"The indefatigable JACK Quartet made me glad it was set loose.“   - John Zorn‘s "The Remedy of Fortune" at the Cloisters Museum, THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 5, 2015

“In a remarkable performance, the Jack Quartet managed to sound free while maintaining control in a central passage of hovering harmonies, built from the overtones of a base microtone.“   - Haas String Quartet No. 8 at Miller Theater of Columbia University, THE NEW YORK TIMES, February 25, 2015

“Jack’s breathtaking playing was bristling with contrasting colours and picaresque sallies, both in the new pieces and in the Carter, and as wholly in command of the music’s inner flow as of the minute variations in touch, tone and character crucial to each piece.“   - Carter, Haas and Holt at Wigmore Hall, THE GUARDIAN, January 21, 2015

“There’s something almost evangelical about the JACK Quartet. Such is the talent and focus of this young, New York-based string quartet that it has quickly established itself as an important proponent of contemporary music, and the ensemble’s intense and audacious performances have been known to convert even the most conservative listeners.“   - Haas, Holt and Carter at Wigmore Hall, FINANCIAL TIMES, January 20, 2015

“The value in JACK’s beautiful playing, beyond the pleasure and stimulation, is how they can cut through abstraction with interpretive ideas, and give music on the edge, like A thing, remarkable drama.“   - Recital at Roulette, NEW YORK CLASSICAL REVIEW, January 17, 2015

“[JACK Quartet] are energetic performers of contemporary music... and proved exemplary throughout.“   - Roulette w/ Annie Gosfield, THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 8, 2014

“The JACK Quartet, superheroes of the new music world... During an evening of extraordinary happenings, standing in a brightly lighted room applauding a wondrous piece and brilliant performers seemed the most anomalous thing of all.“   - Haas String Quartet No. 3 in darkness. THE BOSTON GLOBE, November 11, 2014

“Thursday‘s concert, featuring the dynamic New York ensemble the Jack Quartet, was necessarily chock full of great music, any more than any given program of contemporary works would be.“   - Recital at the Fort Mason Center, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, April 25, 2014

“The JACK Quartet didn‘t simply get the notes but brought profound cognitive powers to Tetras, playing it like a series of weather fronts piling in on one another, with such visceral effect that there was no standing outside the music to process any larger perspective.“   - Xenakis quartets at Bowerbird, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, March 11, 2014

“JACK Quartet’s performance of all three works Wednesday night at the Morgan Library, was that much more exceptional. They played the music with such intrinsic strength of conviction and such limber musicality that the incomprehensible became, if not completely soluble, then powerfully meaningful.“   - Lachenmann‘s 3 String Quartets at the Morgan Museum, NEW YORK CLASSICAL REVIEW, February 20, 2014

“As commanding in extended hushed sections as in frenetic bursts, the JACK Quartet, among the best ensembles of its generation, brought these masterpieces to shivering life.“   - Lachenmann‘s 3 String Quartets at the Morgan Museum, THE NEW YORK TIMES, February 20, 2014

“[JACK Quartet] bringing out the fragile beauty of the work’s central slow movement, in which out of nowhere the viola has a couple of achingly beautiful solos.“   - Feldman, Ferneyhough, Carter and Anderson w/ Ursula Oppens, THE WASHINGTON POST, February 16, 2014

“Anderson had designed the programme to showcase the JACK‘S astonishingly precise collective intonation.“   - Seeger, Ferneyhough, Trapani and Anderson at Wigmore Hall, THE GUARDIAN, January 26, 2014

“A recital from the cutting edge that repaid a sense of adventure.“   - Seeger, Ferneyhough, Trapani and Anderson at Wigmore Hall, FINANCIAL TIMES, January 26, 2014

“Performed with melting richness by the impressive JACK Quartet, melded wondrously into the astringent modernism of Mr. Haas¹s music.“   - Haas String Quartet No. 3 at Lincoln Center, THE NEW YORK TIMES, November 20, 2013

“The JACK Quartet played it with unblemished concentration like a conversation at the end of time... This was a program of conceptual depth and cogency performed by this brilliant group...“   - Recital @ Carriageworks, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, August 19, 2013

“The Jack Quartet made a strong impression with the piece.“   - Ottawa Chamberfest, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, August 4, 2013

“The gestures erupted into a cacophonous frenzy, followed by schizophrenic mutterings and chaos that faded into the unison slashing motifs of the opening.“   - JACK at Bryant Park, THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 18, 2013

“New York‘s JACK Quartet are [Arditti Quartet‘s] next-generation counterparts. The playing throughout this programme was excellent.“   - Wigmore Hall w/ Arditti Quartet, THE GUARDIAN, May 7, 2013

“...The Jack players brought it off with compelling naturalness, as if it were crystallizing out of thin air. It was a subtle performance with a strange and almost otherworldly lyricism.“   - Ligeti & Bermel, The Wolf Trap, THE WASHINGTON POST, January 13, 2013

“The spaciousness of the works drew attention to the superb playing of the quartet and especially to its sound, which glows even with the most minimal use of vibrato.“   - "Modern Medieval", Metropolitan Museum of Art, THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 19, 2012

“Playing “in the dark” and without looking at your instrument should not be a big deal for any accomplished musician, but it is for four musicians at the same time and they were always musically and psychically in synch.“   - In the Dark, Duke Performances, CVNC, December 2, 2012

I have never heard a string quartet that can do the things that the JACK Quartet does. The descriptions “explosive, visceral, thrillingly vital” have all been taken by the big city critics, and are abundantly well deserved.   - New Music New College, Gayle Williams for the HERALD-TRIBUNE, November 19, 2012

“The brilliant, versatile quartet performed its own adaptations of certain medieval music, along with major works by two contemporary composers whose daring idioms have left indelible marks on today’s classical universe...a particularly exciting performance.“   - Fontana Chamber Arts, C.J. Gianakaris for the KALAMAZOO GAZETTE, October 20, 2012

“... the sound is exemplary. The instruments have an appealing warmth, and the performance has all the spontaneity of a live concert but is blissfully free of extraneous noise – nothing short of magical.“   - Live at Wigmore Hall CD, THE STRAD MAGAZINE, July 26, 2012

“New York‘s JACK Quartet perform with fire and ice on this programme of modernist pieces...visceral, pyrotechnic virtuosity“    - "Live at Wigmore" Album Review, Andy Gill for THE INDEPENDENT, June 23, 2012

“Tuesday’s program began with the JACK Quartet offering a gripping account of Giacinto Scelsi’s String Quartet No. 4 (1964).“   - Miller Theatre‘s "Pop Up Concerts," Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, February 8, 2012

“The JACK Quartet may have gained notoriety for its eclectic programming, but they will endure because they can play with a glowing, warm sound and poetic phrasing, even with simple, repetitive motifs.“   - Ives Project, Post-Classical Ensemble, Charles T. Downey for THE WASHINGTON POST, November 6, 2011

“Their high-octane performances of these works are absolutely sensational — and have become an event in every sense.“   - Complete Xenakis Quartets, Baltimore‘s Mobtown Modern, Stephen Brookes for THE WASHINGTON POST, September 15, 2011

“It was delivered, though, with the kind of unfussy intensity that JACK seem to bring to everything they play. In Ligeti‘s Second Quartet, they combined meticulous care in realising every inflection and colour with a perfectly judged sense of the work‘s scope and stature. Cage‘s Quartet in Four Parts was guilelessly beautiful, like a series of renaissance madrigals bleached of their expressive dimensions. The Xenakis, though, was an epic tour de force.“   - Wigmore Hall debut, Andrew Clements for THE GUARDIAN, August 1, 2011

“In the darkness, with sounds coming from every direction, you focused fully on every tone and texture, and your imagination forced the episodic piece to coalesce into a singular, visceral statement. It would be hard to think of a more involving way to hear a new work.“   - Georg Friederich Haas‘ “In iij. Noct,” Austrian Cultural Forum, Allan Kozinn, THE , September 6, 2010

“The JACK Quartet, in terrific performances, proved that the quaint old string quartet, stretched to its limits, remains vital and entertaining.“   - Library of Congress concert, Tom Huizenga, THE WASHINGTON POST, May 3, 2010

It was impossible to anticipate the primal emotions that the JACK (violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards and cellist Kevin McFarland) could create from the start with barely audible squeals that eventually led to a wide range of string effects.“   - Georg Friederich Haas‘ “In iij. Noct,” Monday Evening Concerts, Mark Swed for THE , April 20, 2010

“The players of the Jack Quartet handle Xenakis’s intricate and complex sound worlds with committed, delicate brilliance, and the whole is given a burnished brightness by the impeccable recorded sound.“   - Xenakis String Quartets CD, THE STRAD MAGAZINE, September 30, 2009