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The Lost String Quartet

A New Theatrical String Quartet for Children

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A full house yesterday and an excellent review!

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin

Photo by Nana Shi

Dear friends,

Yesterday’s public performance of The Lost String Quartet was a success! We had a full house, thanks to all of you who came out and told your friends about it. I really appreciate your support.

Meanwhile, we just received an excellent review of our Friday morning performance in the blog New York Music Daily:

https://newyorkmusicdaily.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/momentakids/

I will keep you posted if and when other reviews come out, and will share more footage of the event as it emerges.

All the best,

Stephanie

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A successful run for the Time In kids, a public show tomorrow and a listing in the New York Times!

Posted on December 9, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin
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Dear friends, 

As of yesterday afternoon, our run of “The Lost String Quartet” for the children of The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative is over. We had a wonderful time performing for almost 400 kids from upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, and here is a little video of the last group of kids (Grade 2) saying goodbye.

After yesterday’s two shows, we had a film shoot with Minos Papas and his crew from Cyprian Films. More about that later….and we are very excited about the final (and public!) show tomorrow morning at 11am.

We also just found out that we got a listing in the New York Times! Very exciting….and here is the link:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/arts/events-for-children-in-nyc-this-week.html

We look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow and all the best,

Stephanie

A Grade 4 perspective on “The Lost String Quartet”

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin
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Hello again!

Today was a very special day at the Time In Children’s Arts Initiative. The 54 children who were supposed to attend our first show of the morning got stuck in terrible traffic from East Flatbush and ended up arriving at the time of the second show – so, we performed for 104 kids, ranging from kindergarten to grade 4 all at the same time. It was a lively crowd! (That’s one way to put it…) You can also say we had a sold-out show.

Again the kids enjoyed it. I like to think they are going wild over my viola solo, but, alas, I think it might be the boa constrictor puppet…

Two of the grade 4 girls offered their perspective in this short video.

I hope you can all come to the public show on Sunday, December 10 at 11am, meanwhile….

All the best,

Stephanie

The reviews are in!

Posted on December 6, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin
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Hello everybody!

The Momenta Quartet is about halfway through its run of The Lost String Quartet!

We’ve already given four exclusive private shows for the children of Cyndie Bellen-Berthézène’s fabulous program, The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative.

So far we’ve shared this show with about 160 kids. And there are 4 more private shows to go, tomorrow and Friday.

Meanwhile, there is only one public show, THIS SUNDAY December 10 at 11am.

It’s free, but space is limited, so please reserve your ticket now on Brown Paper Tickets.

You don’t need to bring a kid – trust me – I already know that there will be a lot of unchaperoned adults, so, please don’t be shy.

Meanwhile if you are thinking of bringing some kids, I’m sure they will enjoy it! The crowds went wild on Tuesday and today. Please watch the video above for the perspective of two five-year-olds who attended our world premiere.

Thank you and I hope to see you on Sunday!

Stephanie

Ticket reservation link and a video of a live performance of one of the pieces from The Lost String Quartet

Posted on December 1, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin
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Dear friends,

The Lost String Quartet is happening!!! 

Director Fernando Villa Proal and his scenographer Pedro Pazarán Trujillo arrived from Mexico on Monday, November 27 with 3 suitcases full of props and costumes. 

After daily rehearsals at the Time In Children’s Arts Initiative, the Momenta Quartet is about ready to become a theater troupe….

There is only one public show, next Sunday, December 10 at 11am at 227 W. 29th Street, Studio 4R in NYC. The event is free, but reservations are highly recommended since seating is limited. Please book your tickets at:

Brown Paper Tickets

Meanwhile, here is a short video of Momenta performing a concert version of one of the pieces from The Lost String Quartet on the chamber music series at the Chapel Restoration in Cold Spring New York on October 22, 2017.

Enjoy! And I hope to see you soon,

Stephanie

The Making of The Lost String Quartet: Video no. 1 by Nana Shi, from our residency at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute

Posted on October 20, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin
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Dear friends,

The Lost String Quartet will have its world premiere run at the Time In Gallery in early December. The public show will be on Sunday, December 10 at 11am at 227 W. 29th, Studio 4R in NYC. And we will be performing for the children of the Time In Children’s Arts Initiative at 10am and noon every day from December 5th through the 8th. 

This summer my collaborator Fernando Villa Proal came to New York City and he and I traveled with all of Momenta and our instrument designer Michael Evans to develop the piece at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute. This video is the first of three videos which pianist/photographer/videographer Nana Shi made for us. You can hear some of the music and an interview with me and Fernando about the origins of this project.

Enjoy the video and please save the morning of December 10th! You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this!!! Of course, feel free to bring all your kid friends too. (It’s free admission, thanks to all of our support from New Music USA, the LMCC, Alice M. Ditson Fund, the Amphion Foundation, NYSCA and some of my fellowship funding from NYFA and the Jerome Foundation.)

If anyone has any ideas of groups of kids to invite on December 10th, please let me know, too!

All the best,

Stephanie

Rough recording of Part II “Happy Car Ride”

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin
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Hello friends!

The Momenta Quartet visited John Gurrin’s Studio Recording at the film school at NYU last Tuesday, and I used the opportunity to make a rough recording of the music to Part II of The Lost String Quartet with my fearless ensemble, the Momenta Quartet. Early in N.M. Bodecker’s story, the near-sighted cellist drives right into a construction site, resulting in the destruction of both car and cello. This part of the piece tells that part of the story. It will lead right into the cello solo, which I shared with you a couple weeks ago.  (My rough recording of a viola version of it – Un cygne des temps – is  also still up on my Soundcloud page.) In this short quartet piece, Mozart fans may notice some quotations from the Finale of his String Quartet in G Major, K. 387, which will be a unifying thread throughout the whole work. I hope you enjoy this and more updates will be coming soon!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

Rough draft recording of the cello solo from The Lost String Quartet

Posted on January 3, 2017 by Stephanie Griffin
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Hello friends!

Thanks for following my project. I’ve been working away on composing the piece. A few updates: the performances will take place in December 2017. In June, we will have a rehearsal retreat with Michael Evans (homemade instrument designer) and director Fernando Villa Proal. 

Meanwhile, over the holiday season, I wrote the cello solo for the moment the cello gets destroyed in the disastrous story of The Lost String Quartet. 

Here is a very rough IPhone recording of me playing it up an octave on the viola. Enjoy!

All the best,

Stephanie

Overview

I am seeking support from New Music USA for the creation of a new theatrical string quartet piece for children, The Lost String Quartet, based on N.M. Bodecker’s delightful illustrated children’s book and featuring my original music, theater direction and narration by Fernando Villa Proal, and the interdisciplinary prowess of my own string quartet, the Momenta Quartet. We will premiere the new work over four consecutive days for over five hundred inner city children under the auspices of The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative in early December 2017.

The Lost String Quartet is a far-fetched story about all the terrible mishaps that befall a string quartet on its way to a concert in the thick of winter. By the time they make it there, the cello has been destroyed, one of the violins is lodged within a tire, the other violin is stuck to a bag of frozen peas and the viola has been swallowed by a boa constrictor.

The music for The Lost String Quartet will not be incidental music for a play, but rather a fully integrated theatrical piece in which the members of the Momenta Quartet serve as actors and musicians. Fernando Villa Proal will narrate and take the stage from time to time, representing the various characters the quartet encounters in its misadventures.

Using the ebullient Finale of Mozart’s String Quartet in G, K. 387 as a point of departure, I will cast the piece as a set of variations, with each one becoming more outrageous as the story develops and the instruments are compromised, culminating in a final movement played on homemade instruments.

I have been gestating this work since buying the book from a Broadway street vendor over ten years ago. While I make my living as an improviser and performer of contemporary music, I returned to composing my own music in 2014. The piece speaks to my strengths: incorporating through-composed and improvisational elements, and my years of experience playing in a variety of experimental settings, including Skip Laplante’s Music for Homemade Instruments. My first string quartet will be a major landmark in my career, and I look forward to writing for the Momenta Quartet, with whom I have tackled other theatrical quartet works by Tan Dun, George Crumb and Mauricio Kagel.

I met Fernando Villa Proal this past October, while in Mexico with the Momenta Quartet, and absolutely loved his inventive and hilarious two-man rendition of Lope de Vega’s farcical El Principe Ynocente.

The most important aspect of The Lost String Quartet will be its audience: over five hundred children from inner city Harlem public schools who participate in the programs of the Time In Children’s Arts Initiative. For many of these children, it will be their first experience of a live string quartet and their first exposure to contemporary concert music. By connecting live music performance with Fernando’s comedic sense and N.M. Bodecker’s whimsical story, we hope to provide a delightful experience, which they will remember fondly in many years to come.

Project Media

Stephanie Griffin: Poem from Exile (2015) for Seven Violas (excerpt)
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Features: Stephanie Griffin

An excerpt from composer Stephanie Griffin’s Poem from Exile (2015) for Seven Violas, from its recent world premiere performance in New York City on March 31, 2016. This is an example of one of Griffin’s fully notated compositions for strings. The Lost String Quartet will be a fully notated work for a primarily non-improvising ensemble, but due to the nature of the story, it will also involve aleatory elements. For examples of Griffin’s compositions involving improvisation, please visit her profile page.

Tan Dun: Ghost Opera, live performance by the Momenta Quartet
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This video is from the Momenta Quartet’s live performance of Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera on the Ear Heart Music series in New York City on June 24, 2014 with pipa virtuoso Zhou Yi. It demonstrates the Momenta Quartet’s strengths in theatrical music performance, required for The Lost String Quartet project. Suggested viewing excerpts:

4:31 – 9:44: demonstrates vocals, percussion work, movement in space
25:00 – 31:48: demonstrates more elaborate percussion work, some vocals and movement

Excerpt from Fernando Villa Proal’s production of Lope de Vega’s El Principe Ynocente
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This short promotional video for Fernando Villa Proal’s production of his two actor adaptation of Lope de Vega’s classic farce El Principe Ynocente demonstrates facets of his work which make him the ideal collaborator for The Lost String Quartet. He is both the director and one of the actors (the one sneezing in the first part of this video). The production shows his ability to tell a story and portray various characters with limited props and a simple set, and his comedic timing and physical theater. Note: Fernando is also fluent in English.

Start and End Dates

06/05/201701/31/2018

Location

New York, New York

8 updates
Last update on December 11, 2017

Project Created By

New York, New York
Stephanie Griffin, Composer/Violist “enthralling” – Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times “fiery, full-throttle performance” – Allan Kozinn, The New York Times “one of the city’s most inquisitive, accomplished violists” – Steve Smith, Time Out New York Stephanie Griffin is an innovative violist with a unique and eclectic musical vision. Born in Canada and based in…

In Collaboration With

Performers
New York, New York
Theater Director and Narrator

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