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Friction Quartet

San Francisco, CA            

Friction Quartet, whose performances have been called “terribly beautiful” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “stunningly passionate” (Calgary Herald) and “chillingly effective” (San Francisco Examiner), exists to modernize the chamber music experience and expand the string quartet repertoire. Friction achieves this mission by commissioning new works, curating imaginative programs, collaborating with artists, and presenting interactive educational outreach. 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 was the second place winner of the 2016 Schoenfeld International String Competition Chamber Division in Harbin, China. They gave their Carnegie Hall debut as part of the Kronos Quartet Workshop in 2016 and will return on March 24, 2018, to play Black Angels at Carnegie’s “The ’60s” festival.  They have participated in the Shouse Institute at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival for two consecutive years, giving their Detroit debut and appearing with Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet. Next August, they will be Quartet in Residence for the second time at the New Music for Strings Festival in Aarhus, Denmark.

Since forming in 2011, Friction has given 70 world premiere performances and commissioned 32 works for string quartet and have been awarded commissioning grants from Chamber Music America grant and San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.

Friction was the first Ensemble In Residence at the Center for New Music in San Francisco. They are also Artist In Residence at San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, Napa Valley Performing Arts Center and Old First Concerts.

Friction will participate in the upcoming season of the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program, providing interdisciplinary music education to 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students. 

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. They received the 2012 Berkeley Piano Club Award. Friction has participated in the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, the Banff Chamber Music Residency, and the Deer Valley Music Festival.

Friction Quartet loves to collaborate with artists of all disciplines. Their premiere of Garrett-Moulton’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 last summer,” took place in October 2013. The piece features Dan Becker’s original score for string quartet, commissioned by New Music USA, and six dancers that interact with the string quartet by gesturing, lifting, and lowering the musicians.

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, even when those voices are used to channel real and produce faux digital sounds.

John Adams: String Quartet: Movement II (Friction Quartet)

This is a single take recording of the second movement of String Quartet no. 1 by John Adams, recorded on June 2, 2015. The video was produced by Second Inversion.

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Carnegie Hall Kronos Quartet Workshop: Friction Quartet Performance

Participating string quartet, Friction Quartet, performs a movement of Fodé Lassana Diabaté’s “Sunjata’s Time,” Garth Knox’s “Satellites,” Wu Man’s “Four Chinese Paintings,” and Terry Riley’s “Salome Dances” in Zankel Hall as part of the culminating performance of the Kronos Quartet Workshop presented by the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall. Fodé Lassana Diabaté’s “Sunjata’s Time,” Garth Knox’s “Satellites,” Wu Man’s “Four Chinese Painting” were composed for Kronos Quartet as part of Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire.

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In/Exchange by Andy Akiho (Friction Quartet; Andy Akiho, steel pan)

Friction Quartet performs In/Exchange with composer Andy Akiho on steel pan. This video was named in Second Inversion’s “Top 5 Music Videos of 2016”.

Second Inversion’s “On Demand Videos” project was supported by New Music USA. To follow the project as it unfolds, visit the project page: https://www.newmusicusa.org/projects/…

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