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iStrings: The Cassatt Quartet
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 10/13/2011 at Symphony Space.

Digital projections and live electronics animate new works by Sebastian Currier, Mari Kimura, and Judith Shatin, written for these Symphony Space All-Stars.




Judith Shatin

Respecting the First (World Premiere)

Written for the Cassatt through the Fromm Foundation


Mari Kimura

I-Quadrifoglio (World Premiere)

Written for the Cassatt through the Fromm Foundation

I. faith

II. love

III. hope

IV. luck


Sebastian Currier

Next Atlantis

+ About the Artists

Acclaimed as one of America’s outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East, with appearances at New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Maeda Hall in Tokyo.

Formed in 1985 with the encouragement of the Juilliard Quartet, the Cassatt initiated and served as the inaugural participants in Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program. Their numerous awards include a Tanglewood Chamber Music Fellowship, Wardwell Chamber Music Fellowship at Yale, First Prizes at the Fischoff and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions, two top prizes at
the Banff International String Quartet Competition, two CMA/ ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, a recording grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and commissioning grants from Meet the Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Cassatt celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2006 with a series of world premieres and a performance at the Library of Congress on the Library’s Stradivarius Collection. This season the Cassatt makes their debut in Lincoln, NE, Sanibel, FL, and at the Big Sky Festival in Montana. They join forces with pianist, Ursula Oppens at New York’s Symphony Space, Bargemusic, and Music Mountain, Connecticut and together record Daniel S. Godfrey’s Piano Quintet. Next season they return for their fifth annual Texas high school educational residency, Cassatt In The Basin! which includes intensive workshops, coachings, and rehearsals of a commissioned work by Dan Welcher for Triple Quartet, in a side- by-side performance of students with the Cassatt.

Equally adept at classical masterpieces and contemporary music, the Cassatt has collaborated with a remarkable array of artists/ composers including pianist Marc-André Hamelin, soprano Susan Narucki, flutist Ransom Wilson, jazz pianist Fred Hersch, didgeridoo player Simon 7, the Trisha Brown Dance Company, members of the Cleveland and Vermeer Quartets, and composers Louis Andriessen and John Harbison.

With a deep commitment to nurturing young musicians, the Cassatt, in residencies at Princeton, Yale, Syracuse University, University of Buffalo, and the University of Pennsylvania, has devoted itself to coaching, conducting sectionals, and reading student composers’ works, while offering lively musical presentations in music theory, history, and composition. Selected by Chamber Music America, they recently served as guest artists for their New Music Institute. Summer finds them in residence at the innovative Seal Bay Festival of Contemporary American Chamber Music and Hartwick College Summer Music Festival.

This season, the Cassatt adds to its extensive collection of premiere recordings with the release of their new CD on the Albany Label of music by John Duffy with saxophonist, Glenn Morrisette, bassist, Tomoya Aomori, and narrator, Isaiah Sheffer.

The Cassatt has recorded for the Koch, Naxos, New World, Point, CRI, Tzadik and Albany labels and is named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. Visit for more information.



Judith Shatin is a composer and sound artist whose musical practice engages our social, cultural and physical environments. She draws on expanded instrumental palettes and a cornucopia of the sounding world, ranging from workers and machines in a deep coal mine to the calls of animals; and from the shuttle of a wooden loom to a lawnmower racing up the lawn. A recipient of four awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, her work has been featured in a two-year retrospective supported by the Lila Wallace Acheson - Readers Digest Arts Partners Program. Commissions include those from the Barlow and Fromm Foundations, as well as the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and such ensembles as Da Capo Chamber Players, the Cassatt and Kronos Quartets, and the Illinois, National, and Richmond Symphonies. Twice a fellow at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, she has also held residencies at Casa Zia Lina (Italy), La Cité des Arts (France), MacDowell, Mishkan Amanim (Israel), the Virginia Center for the Arts, and Yaddo. Her music is widely recorded, with her most recent CD, Tower of the Eight Winds (Innova), called “...something magical...” by Fanfare.

Educated at Douglass College (AB), The Juilliard School (MM), and Princeton University (PhD), Judith Shatin is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Music at the University of Virginia, where she founded the Virginia Center for Computer Music. A master teacher, she has served as BMI composer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University and as senior faculty at the Wellesley Composers Conference.


Hailed as a “Virtuoso playing at the Edge” (New York Times), and “Plugged-in Paganini for the Digital Age” (All Music Guide), Mari Kimura has opened up new sonic worlds for the violin, notably introducing Subharmonics, a technique to play pitches below the violin’s range without changing the tuning, and with her interactive computer music compositions. After attending Toho School, Japan’s top conservatory, where she studied with Toshiya Eto, Mari studied with Roman Totenberg at Boston University, then with Joseph Fuchs at the Juilliard School. She also studied composition with Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University and attended computer music courses at Stanford University. In 1994, she introduced Subharmonics at the League of Composers/ISCM Recital Award concert at Merkin Hall. Mari’s breakthrough drew international attention from both the musical and scientific communities.

As a violinist, Mari has premiered many notable works, including John Adams’ Violin Concerto (Japanese premiere), Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII (US premiere), and Salvatore Sciarrino’s 6 Capricci (US premiere). In 2007, Mari introduced Jean-Claude Risset’s violin concerto, Schemes, at Suntory Hall with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra with her own Cadenza. In 2010, Mari appeared as a soloist with the Hamburg Symphony performing John Adams’ The Dharma at Big Sur.

As a composer, Mari’s commissions include the International Computer Music Association, Harvestworks, Music from Japan and others. Her works have been supported by numerous grants including New York Foundation for the Arts, Arts International, Meet The Composer, Japan Foundation, Argosy Foundation, and New York State Foundation for the Arts. In 2010 Mari won the Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition, and invited as Composer-in-Residence at IRCAM in Paris. In May 2011, Mari was presented in a solo recital at the Bohemian National Hall in NYC by the Vilcek Foundation, in recognition of her ground-breaking work as a foreign-born artist; subsequently she was named as one of this year’s “Immigrants: Pride of America” by the Carnegie Corporation, published in the New York Times. Mari’s latest CD, The World Below G and Beyond (Mutable Label), is devoted entirely to her own compositions and focuses on works using Subharmonics and interactive computer music. Since 1998, Mari has been teaching a graduate course in interactive computer music at the Juilliard School.

Sebastian Currier is the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award. Heralded as “music with a distinctive voice” by The New York Times and as “lyrical, colorful, firmly rooted in tradition, but absolutely new” by the Washington Post, his music has been performed at major venues worldwide by acclaimed artists and orchestras. His chamber music and premiere of his harp concerto Traces were presented by the Berlin Philharmonic. His music has been enthusiastically embraced by violinist Anne- Sophie Mutter, for whom he wrote Aftersong and a concerto entitled Time Machines that was premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 2011.

His Microsymph was commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and premiered at Carnegie Hall. It has also been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, Gewandhuas Orchestra, Eos Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra, and has been recorded by the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra. Nightmaze, a multimedia piece based on a text of Thomas Bolt has been performed by Network for New Music and the Mosaic Ensemble. His new CD of string quartets, recorded by the Cassatt Quartet “distances the present from the past, causing the listener to think about music itself” (New York Times). A CD of mixed chamber music, recorded by Music from Copland House will be released shortly.

He has received many prestigious awards including the Berlin Prize, Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has held residencies at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies. He received a DMA from the Juilliard School; and from 1999-2007 he taught at Columbia University.

+ About the Music

Respecting the First, commissioned for the Cassatt Quartet with the support of the Fromm Foundation, is scored for amplified string quartet and electronics fashioned from readings of and about the First Amendment. Composing the piece took on special significance in the aftermath of the attack on Gabrielle Giffords and those tragically killed and wounded when trying
to peaceably assemble at her open meeting on January 8, 2011, in Casa Adobes, Arizona. The piece is dedicated to her, and includes a fragment of her reading of the First Amendment on the Floor of the House, just days before the attack. The amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or the free practice thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

I thank the following for their participation: Joe Adkins, Megan England, Bérengère Petit, Aurie Hsu, Osayuwame Ikhinmwin, Steve Kemper, Michael Kubovy, Sarah O’Halloran, Eric Shatin, Michael C. Terrell, Peter Traub and Suan Yang. I also included brief comments by public figures including President Kennedy, U.S. Representative Barney Frank, and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, as well as fragments of town hall meetings and news reports extending as far back as the proposed Nazi march in Skokie, IL in 1978 and as recent as the 2010 BP oil spill. The music reflects and comments on the verbal rhythms of the recordings, and alludes to traditional songs of our common heritage.
--Judith Shatin


I-Quadrifoglio, a prayer for global unity and strength, addresses the effects of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown following this year’s massive earthquake and tsunami. Composed for string
quartet and interactive computer, the work is in four short movements, entitled “faith, love, hope, luck.” These are said to symbolize the four-leaf clover (quadrifoglio in Italian). Japan is the home country of both Muneko Otani, the 1st violinist of the Cassatt Quartet, and myself. We were deeply touched, as were all Japanese expatriates, when the country was shaken by this both natural and man-made disaster. Although half a year has passed, the Fukushima radiation leak is still not completely controlled. The attention of the international media has drifted to other immediate concerns, but the Fukushima accident—the first of its kind in our human history—could still become a lot worse than Chernobyl. We don’t know its true extent and people live under a giant cloud of fear and uncertainty. Yet they have no choice but to pick up and go about their lives. I-Quadrifoglio is not only a prayer but also a plea, not only for the Japanese, but also for the future of our global planet, for the international community to keep watch and demand more information from the Japanese government. Air and water are connected globally and affect all our children’s future.
--Mari Kimura


Next Atlantis is inspired by New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina— a new Atlantis, not of the mythic past, but one of the too-possible future. Originally conceived as a work for string quartet, the piece has been expanded into a multimedia collaboration for strings, four-channel sound and video, with video artist Pawel Wojtasik. Next Atlantis weaves together sounds of water and elegiac strains, with murmurings of Dixieland. Currier says, “I’ve always loved the sound of water and have had in mind for some time to write a piece that weaved water sounds into a musical fabric. And here the sound of water is especially poignant, because for New Orleans water is both the life-blood of the city and its potential destroyer.”
--Sebastian Currier

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