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The Fry Street Quartet releases The Crossroads Project

Fry Street Quartet - Crossroads Project
Fry Street Quartet Crossroads Project Album Cover

New York, NY: Today, The Fry Street Quartet releases The Crossroads Projecton Navona Records: a captivating recording blending art and science to address global sustainability, featuring new works by Pulitzer Prize nominee Laura Kaminsky and Grammy Award winner Libby Larsen.

The Crossroads Project exemplifies the FSQ’s intellectual and musical curiosity and collaborative spirit. The album commemorates the ensemble’s signature multimedia performance of the same name, created in collaboration with physicist Dr. Robert Davies, which has toured to 20 cities for a total of 30 performances.

“The FSQ has always been motivated by the goal of relevancy, in matters big and small. We feel it’s critical that we bring our artistic voices to bear on a topic vital to human society,” says Fry Street Quartet cellist Anne Francis Bayless.

The Crossroads Project is intended to encourage a sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world, and bring listeners into a place of reverence. After listening, we hope some will dig further into the mission of our project, and be encouraged to learn more.”

In addition to demonstrating expert craftsmanship and musicality, the recording evokes natural wonders and the composers’ responses to the plight that they, and we, face. The Project looks unblinkingly at the fact that the beauty and life-sustaining power of our natural resources may be ephemeral if we do not act.

The water cycle forms the basis of Larsen’s “Emergence.” Simultaneously, it captures a vast, potent emotional landscape. At one crucial moment, a wistful folk tune becomes distorted as its accompaniment becomes increasingly dark and jagged. Yet the work ends on a hopeful note, with the quartet resolved in a shared melody, and, ultimately, resounding as one gleaming, unified voice.

Kaminsky’s “Rising Tide” tackles the divide between the natural world and man-made ecosystems. With a vivid, kinetic score, it encompasses a global life cycle. Opening with sounds of wonder at the first stirrings of life, it goes on to illustrate the lushness of a world full of vitality as well as the turmoil of a complex civilization.

The recording underscores the quartet’s longstanding relationship with Kaminsky. The FSQ recently appeared as the accompanying ensemble for As One – the composer’s critically acclaimed opera centered on a transgender individual – at BAM.

“The Fry Street Quartet is the most thoughtful, artistically committed intellectually vibrant group of artists I have ever known,” Kaminsky says.

The Crossroads Project is the most fully realized manifestation of my work as a composer, using my music as a means of expressing my concerns about the fate of the earth.”

“The arts, and music in particular, have long been instrumental in social change movements,” adds FSQ violinist Robert Waters.

“The simpler goal of this recording is to generate a wider audience for these two fantastic new works. Our larger goal, though, is to spread awareness of the work of The Crossroads Project and, by extension, its call to action for each of us to work, as quickly as we can, to change our path away from environmental destruction and toward a sustainable world.”

For more information about the album, visit www.frystreetquartet.com/tcp

Fry Street Quartet Crossroads Project

ABOUT THE FRY STREET QUARTET

Hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by The New York Times, the Fry Street Quartet is a multi-faceted ensemble taking chamber music in new directions. Since securing the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to London, and Sarajevo to Jerusalem. The quartet’s early years were defined by a “Rural Residency” in Hickory North Carolina, sponsored by Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts. During this period, the quartet developed its capacity and passion for building a local audience and creating artistic connections with the community through music-making. Since 2002, the Fry Street Quartet has held the Endowed String Quartet Residency at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.

ABOUT LAURA KAMINSKY

Laura Kaminsky is a composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” whose works are “colorful and harmonically sharp-edged” (The New York Times) and whose “music is full of fire as well as ice, written in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection. It is strong stuff.” (American Record Guide). Social and political themes are common in her work, as is an abiding respect for and connection to the natural world. Kaminsky has received commissions, fellowships, and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, Chamber Music America, BAM/Kennedy Center De Vos Institute, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, and Likhachev-Russkiy Mir Foundation, among others. She was awarded the 2015 Polish Gold Cross of Merit by the President of Poland for exemplary public service or humanitarian work. Performed internationally, her music is heard on the Albany, Bridge, CRI, Capstone, Mode, and MSR labels. Chair of the composition department at the Conservatory of Music/SUNY Purchase, she is also composer-in-residence at American Opera Projects.

ABOUT LIBBY LARSEN

Libby Larsen is one of America’s most-performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy© Award-winning and widely recorded, including over fifty albums of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory. A vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composer’s Forum, which has become an invaluable aid for composers in a transitional time for American arts. A former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.