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Expanding Conventions: Quartet for 6

Jonathan Bailey Holland joins two families of instruments, creating a versatile sound world using the String Quartet and Percussion Duo


The String Quartet has been a staple in chamber music instrumentation for centuries, bringing a wealth of harmonic landscapes and synergetic shapes to the stage. In contrast, percussion is fairly new, finding itself in a world of sounds and experiences, experimenting with where music can come from. Over time these two families have worked together in large settings, and developed their music and instruments separately in smaller combinations, both coming to their own at this time in the history of music.


For our project, Expanding Conventions: Quartet for 6, we are working with Jonathan Bailey Holland to create a large scale work (20-30 minutes) for String Quartet plus Percussion Duo, that take the combination of six players and treats them as one; a new sextet. This combination will unique to the stage, bringing the audiences ears and imaginations to new places, expanding their musical palette. For the premiere performance, we are working with Walton Arts Center and Aeolus String Quartet to bring this work to life at Artosphere Music Festival.


In addition to including these instruments in one cohesive piece of music, the subject material will be drawn from ideas of inclusion in our daily lives. Jonathan has displayed in his compositions a vested interest in the issues of today surround race and equality, bringing to light stories in order to connect with audiences and create an environment of understanding and empathy. This drive in his music will help musicians connect with communities in a deeper way through this great new work.


Project Media

Ariel Ascending – III. Exuberant; Brilliant
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Features: Aeolus Quartet

Based on the poem “Ariel” by Sylvia Plath, this is the third movement of Christopher Theofanidis’ “Ariel Ascending”. The entire piece evokes both emotions of the beautiful and of the nightmarish, this movement sits in the realm of the earth, and has a very fast, folk-like quality to it. The melodic material is harmonized in a rather strident fashion, often in intervals of 7ths and 9ths. The rhythmic base rides over a very quick eighth note pulse which constantly shifts between the feeling of two and three, creating a locally unstable flow.

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Features: arx duo

Percussion has a variety of instrument choices and within our repertoire we play a variety of sounds. From Marimba to shakers, Percussion is always engaging, and as much visual as it is auditory. Seeds explores the many sounds that can be grabbed from one table, from maracas to pill bottles, to shakers with heads, and some that look like a hamster ball. Seemingly choreographed, this piece offers a wealth of “ah ha” moments with its sophisticated rhythmic structures. It’s one of a kind, and always inviting to an audience.

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Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 9, often regarded as the epitome of western classical orchestral music, has been reduced for many to the intentionally memorable 12-bar theme from the final movement, and nearly 200 years of orchestral masterpieces have emerged since. My work Ode focuses on certain moments of the 9th symphony that resonate with me personally, and some of which are fleeting or surprising, and yet hold deeper meaning than might appear on the surface. Mvt 1 at around 3:02 focuses on strings, and mvt 2 has combinations of all sounds.

Start and End Dates



Fayetteville, Arkansas

Project Created By

In Collaboration With

Boston, Massachusetts


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