Friction Quartet, whose performances have been called “terribly beautiful” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “stunningly passionate” (Calgary Herald) and “exquisitely skilled” (ZealNYC), exists to exists to modernize the chamber music experience and expand the string quartet repertoire. Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle) declared that Friction Quartet is “an artist who should be discovered” and described their performance as “high-octane music making…a fine blend of rhythmic ferocity and tonal flair.” Friction is the second place winner of the 2016 Schoenfeld International String Competition Chamber Division in Harbin, China. They recently performed George Crumb’s Black Angels at Carnegie Hall as part of the Sixties Festival. They will make their second appearance at the New Music for Strings Festival in Aarhus, Denmark as Quartet in Residence this summer. Since forming in 2011, Friction has commissioned 37 works for string quartet. Friction received a Chamber Music America grant to commission a piano quintet from Andy Akiho which they debuted in November 2016 with Jenny Q Chai. They have also been awarded grants from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and Zellerbach Family Foundation. John Adams shared Friction’s video of the second movement of his First Quartet on his homepage and called it “spectacular.” In 2015 the video was named the #2 video of the year by its producer, Second Inversion. The video for Andy Akiho’s In/ Exchange, featuring Friction and Akiho, was chosen by Second Inversion as one of their Top 5 videos of 2016, and was featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today. Friction appears on recordings with National Sawdust Tracks, Albany Records, and Pinna Records. Friction has appeared on NPR, KALW, KING-FM, and KUT. Friction is currently Artist in Residence at Napa Valley Performing Arts Center. They have been Artist In Residence at the Center for New Music, Old First Concerts and San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. In 2014, Friction was selected as one of eleven artists featured in the SF Bay Guardian’s On the Rise issue. While Friction has garnered international attention as commissioners and interpreters of new music, they are also devoted to performing masterworks of the string quartet repertoire at the highest level. In addition to their Second Prize win at Schoenfeld Competition, they were quarter-finalists in the 2015 Fischoff Competition and placed second at the 2015 Frances Walton Competition. Friction Quartet is dedicated to building new audiences for contemporary music through school presentations. In partnership with San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program, they will perform in over 60 public schools in San Francisco. They are also Ensemble Partners with Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop, working with and performing works by young composers in Bay Area schools. In collaboration with Meridian Hill Pictures, they appeared in a short documentary, titled Friction, that profiles their educational outreach in Washington DC’s Mundo Verde Public Charter School. Their presentations include Doug’s adventurous arrangements of Pop songs to build a connection between familiar and new sounds. Friction Quartet programs and presents multimedia and interdisciplinary projects. Spaced Out, which the San Francisco Classical Voice called “accessible, yet surreal,” is an evening-length suite of music about the cosmos that utilizes surround sound electronics and includes a Friction Commission by Jon Kulpa. The premiere of Garrett-Moulton and Dan Becker’s A Show of Hands, described by the SF Chronicle as “the greatest dance bargain offered in this town since the San Francisco Ballet performed in Stern Grove,” took place in October 2013. Friction Quartet takes risks to enlarge the audience’s understanding of what a string quartet can be, through arrangements of pop music, the use of digital sound processing, percussion, amplification, movement, and by combining music with other media such as dance and film. But they never lose sight of the quartet’s essence—the endlessly nuanced interaction of four analog voices.
- Khai Duong
- Kuzana Ogg