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String Theory: Del Sol String Quartet & Jeffrey Mumford in Concert and Masterclass

Del Sol String Quartet and Jeffrey Mumford in Levine Music's Composition Weekend: Concert and Masterclass for High School Composers


Levine Presents:

String Theory: the 2017 Composition Weekend                                                                                                    

Both events are free and open to the public.

Friday, April 7, 7 pm: Concert: Del Sol String Quartet  

Jeffrey Mumford – The Promise of the Far Horizon*
Ben Johnston – Quartet no. 4 “Amazing Grace”
Lou Harrison – String Quartet Set**
Gabriela Lena Frank  – Milagros

*world premiere of revised version
**in honor of Harrison’s 100th Birthday

Saturday, April 8, 10 am: Masterclass: Jeffrey Mumford and Del Sol
The 2017 Composition Weekend brings together the provocative intensity and contagious energy of the Del Sol with the rigorous poetry of composer Jeffrey Mumford and Levine high school composers.  As Wikipedia states, “In physics, ‘string theory’ is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other,” paralleling  the fusion of rhythmic energy, multi-voiced textures, and imaginative timbres that light up music. This image above shows the Del Sol merged with a string theory string.

Hailed by Gramophone as “masters of all musical things they survey,” the Del Sol Quartet shares living music with adventurous listeners. Fascinated by the feedback loop between social change, technology, and artistic innovation, the San Francisco-based ensemble is a leading force in 21st century chamber music, whether introducing Ben Johnston’s microtonal Americana at the Library of Congress, exploring Andean soundscapes with Gabriela Lena Frank and traditional musicians, deconstructing Ruth Crawford’s radical experimental processes with East Bay schoolchildren, or rocking Mason Bates’ techno grooves in his San Francisco club dance party. The New York Times praised the Del Sol’s most recent recording, Scrapyard Exotica, “See if your foot can stay still once you put on this funky disc of rhythmically infectious . . .music played by the adventurous Del Sol”. Their world premiere album of Terry Riley’s Dark Queen Mantra  comes out in August 2017.

NY Times critic Steve Smith noted that Jeffrey Mumford “has an unerring knack for fashioning rigorous works as changeable  as cloudscapes, bursting with color, nuance and poetry.”  Born in Washington, D.C. in 1955,  Mumford has received numerous fellowships, grants, awards and commissions. Awards include Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an ASCAP Aaron Copland Scholarship.  He was the winner of the inaugural National Black Arts Festival/Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition.  Other grants: Ohio Arts Council, Meet the Composer, Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Inc., ASCAP Foundation, University of California.

Objectives of the Composition Weekend are to:
• Introduce students and audience to a wide array of exciting new music
• Cultivate a loyal, adventurous audience for new music
• Inspire young composers to create individually expressive, well-crafted music that includes strings
• Teach young composers practical skills such as recruiting performers, running rehearsals

Levine Music has presented annual composition masterclasses that have been funded by Randy Hostetler Living Room Music Fund, ASCAP Foundation.  Featured composers include Nicholas Maw, George Crumb, Steve Antosca, John Supko, Alexandra Gardner, Simon Sargon.

Project Media

Jeffrey Mumford: the promise of the far horizon
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Features: Jeffrey Mumford

“the promise of the far horizon”, commissioned by the Nancy Ruyke Dodge Charitable Trust, composed for the Corigliano String Quartet premiere,2002

The composer writes:
“. . .focusing on images from my childhood, specifically the energy and the particular journey daylight, direct or reflected, took through my bedroom window. I had an exquisite view of the horizon and would imagine whole worlds beyond the trees and rooftops. Often it appeared that the sunlight would shine differently on the hills, trees, buildings, fueling my imagination.”

“Chasqui” by Gabriela Lena Frank
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“Chasqui” from “Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout” by Gabriela Lena Frank.

“Chasqui” depicts a legendary figure from the Inca period, the chasqui runner, who sprinted great distances to deliver messages between towns separated from one another by the Andean peaks.

Performed by the Del Sol Quartet on its album “Zia,” on the Sono Luminus label.

During the Composition Weekend, Del Sol will be performing “Milagros”, another string quartet by Frank, in addition to previewing segments of a new commission for the Levine composition students.

Morning Rush and Midnight Visions by 17 year old composer Camilo Gonzalez-Sol
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Features: Levine Music

Morning Rush/Midnight Visions contrasts AM/PM energy and moods.

Performed here by high school students.
Composed 2016 for reading by Del Sol.

HS senior Gonzalez-Sol is a Levine composition/piano student.

2014: Jack Kent Cook fellow in the Levine Music Honors Program.
2014-2017: Levine Music Honors Program
2016: First Place, senior level, National PTA Reflections Competition.
2016: ASCAP Foundation’s scholarship to study at Tanglewood.
2016: Merit Winner, Composition nationwide, National Young/Arts Competition.

Start and End Dates



Washington, District Of Columbia

Project Created By

Washington, District Of Columbia
Levine Music, the Washington DC region’s preeminent center for music education, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Levine’s core values, excellence and opportunity, infuse everything we do. Our distinguished faculty offers a broad and well-rounded curriculum that…

In Collaboration With

The Del Sol SQ will perform one of his pieces and he will be our masterclass composition teacher.
Oberlin, Ohio
The Del Sol SQ will perform our concert and critique the masterclass compositions and performances.
San Francisco, California


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