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Press Release
Caroline Goulding/Danae Dorken: Enescu/Dvorak/Schumann

Jacaranda: Music at the Edge
Presents the Lyris Quartet's Intimate Letters

Leoš Janáček’s Quartet No. 2 and Four World Premieres of Works that it Inspired by Billy Childs, Bruce Broughton, Kurt Rohde and Peter Knell
October 8th at First Presbyterian in Santa Monica

Intimate Letters is an inventive new recording by the “radiant” (Los Angeles Times) Los Angeles-based ensemble to be released on ARS – distributed in the US by Naxos - September 30 on SACD/CD

“Season after season the twentieth century comes to life in Jacaranda’s programs.” The New Yorker

Los Angeles, CA – September 13, 2016 – On October 8th, the cutting-edge Los Angeles-based Lyris Quartet will perform four world premieres by Billy Childs, Bruce Broughton, Kurt Rohde and Peter Knell alongside the work that inspired them – Leoš Janáček’s Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters” – at a concert for the enterprising contemporary music series Jacaranda at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica. The new works were commissioned by the Lyris Quartet for the ensemble’s new album, Intimate Letters (out September 30 on ARS), named for the Janáček quartet that anchors both the recording and the evening’s concert.  In addition to the “Intimate Letters” quartet, the program will unfold world premiere performances of “Fancies” (Broughton), “Intimate Voices” (Knell), “Inside Voice” (Rohde) and “Unrequited” (Childs).  The Lyris brought this cross-genre and multi-media roster of composers together, asking each to write a work in response to Janáček’s original masterpiece. The result is a dazzling homage to Janáček’s most ardent quartet.

The Lyris Quartet – Alyssa Park (violin), Shalini Vijayan (violin), Luke Maurer (Viola) and Timothy Loo (cello) –is one of the most exciting ensembles to emerge from the LA music scene in the past decade.  A regular fixture on multiple chamber music series around town, Lyris is equally at home with the warhorses of the string quartet repertoire and the most cutting edge, experimental music of the present day.  They are the resident ensemble of the Jacaranda concert series.

Janáček’s “Intimate Letters” quartet holds a special place in the repertoire of the Lyris Quartet; having been the first work that the group performed publicly and one they return to most often. So it is fitting that the piece serves as catalyst for the ensemble’s first recording.  Often referred to as the composer’s “manifesto on love”, “Intimate Letters” was inspired by Janáček’s near obsessive devotion to his longtime muse Kamila Stösslová (a married woman 38 years his junior) to whom he wrote more than 700 love letters over 11 years. 

One of the foremost American composers and pianists of his era and equally celebrated across the jazz, classical and pop music worlds, four time Grammy award-winner Billy Childs brings to the album, “Unrequited”.  He reflects: “When the Lyris Quartet approached me to compose a piece for this project, I thought that it was a remarkable idea—to compose a sort of commentary on the story of Janáček’s ‘Intimate Letters.’ The first time I heard the quartet performed live, the emotion of the piece jumped out at me: the wild shifts of tempo, the beautiful and plaintive melodies, the stark dynamic contrasts.  I sought to compose Unrequited so that it moves, like the five stages of grief, through a variety of emotions - from romantic, pure love, through paranoid, obsessive, neurotic possessiveness, arriving finally at despondent acceptance.”  

Best known for his film scores, Emmy Award-winning and Oscar and Grammy-nominated Bruce Broughton’s piece Fancies” is essentially a rhapsody or fantasia built upon the opening figures of Janáček’s quartet,” Broughton says, “the most obvious being a motor rhythm that reappears throughout the piece. Motivic fragments are gathered and tossed about. A theme eventually appears, but even that becomes fragmented throughout the piece. Therefore, Fancies: a combination of infatuations, impulses and improvisatory inspirations.”

Recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and two ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, Peter Knell explores “my own notion of intimacy” in his work “Intimate Voices.” “I exploit the gentle side of the string quartet,” writes the composer — “muted sonorities, quiet dynamics, delicate gestures — with ideas unfolding gradually and organically in a single formal arc.” 

Finally, violist and composer Kurt Rohde paid extra attention to Janáček’s actual letters while writing “Inside Voice” and was “struck with their intensity and surprising flexibility of tone, all while remaining remarkably focused on being…intimate.” The piece, he explains, “attempts to capture the energy I am trying to transmit to the listener in my music. My ‘letter’ here is the music being played, and it is a letter that is meant to be heard.”

For Calendar / Listings Editor:
Lyris Quartet, Intimate Letters

Presented by Jacaranda: Music at the Edge

Bruce Broughton                Fancies”
Peter Knell                            Intimate Voices”
Kurt Rohde                           Inside Voice”
Billy Childs                             Unrequited”
Leos Janáček                         String Quartet No. 2. “Intimate Letters”

Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 8pm
First Presbyterian of Santa Monica
Tickets and information at:

Concert RSVP: FREE | VIP After-Party ticket with CD: $40 in advance, $50 at the door

Described as "radiant…excellent... and powerfully engaged" by Mark Swed of the LA Times, the Lyris Quartet was founded in 2008. This season, Lyris was invited by the LA Philharmonic to perform on their Green Umbrella series and on their tribute concert to composer Steven Stucky.  New projects included innovative multimedia concerts with artists Andrew Burke and Ana Prvacki.  They have performed the west coast premiere of David Lang's "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field" with Long Beach Opera.  Other performances have included the South Bay Chamber Music Series, Los Angeles Music Guild, Annenberg Beach House Series, and Chamber Music Palisades.

Passionate champions of new music, the Lyris Quartet is the founding resident ensemble of the Hear Now Music Festival which focuses on the music of living Los Angeles composers. As part of this series, they have collaborated with and premiered works by Stephen Hartke, Don Davis, Arturo Cardelus, and Veronika Krausas, among others. This year will mark their fifth season as the resident ensemble for the critically acclaimed series Jacaranda: Music at the Edge. The Lyris Quartet has recorded for Toccata Classics, ARS and Naxos.

Jacaranda's creators, Patrick Scott and Mark Alan Hilt, have an insightful way of programming music that lifts the concert experience to an exciting level. Jacaranda presents music mostly missing from the cultural life of Los Angeles in compelling performances that make you wonder why. This team brings to Jacaranda a broad and unexpected background. Their critically acclaimed approach has proven fresh and effective in re-imagining the concert-going experience with unusually informative program notes.  Over its thirteen seasons, Jacaranda has consistently presented exciting music that spans many eras selected for strong potential to enter the standard repertoire of the 21st century. With an emphasis on living composers, these critically acclaimed concerts are organized as journeys, or stories, that engage young concertgoers, and satisfy the curiosity and standards of experienced listeners. Performed by highly accomplished musicians, each concert has a point of view, and each season, as a whole, is crisscrossed with musical and historical relationships that gratify on many levels. 

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Contact: Liza Prijatel Thors
Rebecca Davis Public Relations | 917.673.2048

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