Caroline Shaw: Orange Attacca Quartet
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- Caroline Shaw (b. 1982):
- Plan & Elevation:
- 3Plan & Elevation: I. The Ellipse03:58
- 4Plan & Elevation: II. The Cutting Garden02:56
- 5Plan & Elevation: III. The Herbaceous Border03:31
- 6Plan & Elevation: IV. The Orangery01:57
- 7Plan & Elevation: V. The Beech Tree02:36
- Caroline Shaw:
- 9Ritornello 2.sq.2.j.a16:36
- 10Limestone & Felt05:42
Info for Caroline Shaw: Orange
Orange, which features six of Shaw’s pieces for string quartet, is the first full-length album to exclusively feature works by Shaw. It is also the first release in a new partnership between the two record labels, established with the goal of enabling contemporary American composers to realize creative ambitions that might not otherwise be achievable.
Composer Caroline Shaw is also a singer in the Grammy Award–winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, for which she wrote the piece that won the Pulitzer Prize: Partita. She has also played violin since the age of two and been drawn to the string quartet for most of her life. She says, “It has existed for hundreds of years, but there’s something kind of, for me, beautiful and ritualistic about coming back to that form. It’s something familiar, and yet you can keep on opening these doors and diving down these little rabbit holes. Just the simple changes of harmony and the shape of the bass line, and how that can create a whole world.”
Shaw describes the world she built for Orange as a garden that she and Attacca Quartet are tending. She used the group’s centuries-old combination of two violins (Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tokunaga), viola (Nathan Schram), and cello (Andrew Yee) to create a rich environment where traces of what has grown there before—left by Haydn, Mozart, Ravel, Bartok, Bach, Monteverdi, and Josquin—provide nourishment for new life.
“Hints of past years’ growth remain in the soil, and so the new growth has been partially shaped by the old,” explains Shaw. “The colors are vivid and familiar, and the shapes of the leaves follow a pattern that you seem to know until you don’t.” She continues, “This album is a celebration of the simple, immediate, unadorned beauty of a natural, everyday, familiar thing.”
When describing the power of performing the works on Orange, Attacca Quartet explains that “playing and listening to Caroline Shaw’s music can turn a concert hall into your own peaceful living room. Between rehearsals and performances, we found ourselves marveling in the unassuming honesty of every passage and the profound effect it has on ourselves and our audiences.”
Amy Schroeder, violin
Keiko Tokunaga, violin
Nathan Schram, viola
Andrew Yee, cello
Recorded, mixed, engineered, and mastered by Antonio Oliart at WGBH Studios
Produced by Antonio Oliart, Caroline Shaw and Attacca Quartet
First prize winners in the 7th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2011, top prize winners and Listeners’ Choice award recipients in the 2011 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and winners of the Alice Coleman Grand Prize in the 60th annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition in 2006, the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet has become one of America’s premier young performing ensembles. Praised by The Strad for possessing “maturity beyond its members’ years,” they were formed at the Juilliard School in 2003 and made their professional debut in 2007 as part of the Artists International Winners Series in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. From 2011-2013 they served as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet, and for the 2014-2015 season they were selected as the Quartet in Residence by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Attacca Quartet recently completed a recording project of Haydn’s masterwork “The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross,” arranged by Andrew Yee and the Attacca Quartet. In his review for Gramophone, Donald Rosenberg wrote, “The Attacca Quartet explore the work’s range of expressive moods with utmost sensitivity to nuance and interplay .... They triumph in every respect, and are captured in such vivid sound that no telling Haydn detail is allowed to go unheard.” Thewholenote.com wrote, “It’s easily the most satisfying string version of the work that I’ve heard.”
In 2013, the quartet released the complete works for string quartet by John Adams on Azica Records. It was praised by Steve Smith of The New York Times as a “vivacious, compelling set,” describing the Attacca Quartet’s playing as “exuberant, funky, and … exactingly nuanced.” The Boston Globe also praised the release, stating, “Few [recent recordings] are as consequential as ‘Fellow Traveler,’ … superb performances.” The album was the recipient of the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award. The quartet has been honored with both the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association and the Lotos Prize in the Arts from the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation.
The 2016-2017 season began with a bang as the Attacca Quartet opened for rock superstar Jeff Lynne’s ELO in two sold-out Radio City Music Hall performances. In addition, the quartet will be launching their new “Recently Added” series (first announced in a New York Times feature about the completion of their six-year traversal of all of Haydn’s 68 string quartets). The new project is dedicated to living composers who they feel have added significantly to the string quartet canon. The first season is taking place at Brooklyn's National Sawdust and features the music of Caroline Shaw, Michael Ippolito and John Adams. At the same time, the Attacca will present an ongoing series at Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan entitled “Based on Beethoven,” featuring performances of the complete Beethoven string quartets, paired with works inspired by Beethoven from the “Recently Added” series. The group will serve as the inaugural Ensemble-in-Residence at the School of Music at Texas State University during the 2016-2017 season and will appear in concerts and master classes throughout the United States and South America.
The Attacca Quartet has engaged in extensive educational and community outreach projects, serving as guest artists and teaching fellows at the Lincoln Center Institute, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Vivace String Camp in New York, the Woodlands ChamberFest in Texas, Virginia Arts Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley and Animato Summer Music Camp at Florida International University in Miami. Since 2006, they have performed in yearly benefit concerts supporting the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s efforts. The members of the Attacca Quartet currently reside in New York City. They are represented by Baker Artists, LLC.