Old instruments, new music


So, one of the great things about producing the Queens New Music Festival last May was that I got to meet lots and lots of musicians doing amazing things. My favorite new friends were the musicians of Parthenia. They’re a “consort of Viols.” And what’s that, you may ask. It’s a quartet of ancient instruments of different sizes and shapes that are all part of the Viol family. Basically, they’re stringed instruments with frets that are played with a bow. The instruments were very popular during the renaissance period. The players who still perform on the viol are mostly dedicated to performing ancient music of western Europe.

But the players of Parthenia are interested in expanding the repertoire for their instruments. They’ve commissioned a few contemporary composers, including Francis White and my old pal, Max Lifchitz. Parthenia performed an entire set of new works for viols at the festival. Afterwards, I approached them about their interest in continuing to play works by contemporary composers. They were excited by the idea. So, after much discussion and planning, Parthenia and the composers of Random Access Music¬†will be doing a collaborative concert in the Autumn of 2013. I’m really excited about this, and can’t wait to get started writing a new piece for these amazing instruments and performers.

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