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Artists Quatuor Bozzini

Since 1999, Quatuor Bozzini has been an original voice in new, experimental and classical music. Their skew is radically contemporary, propelling the hyper-creative Montréal scene, and beyond. Not content to parlay received wisdom, the quartet cultivates an ethos of risk-taking, and boldly venture off the beaten track. Quatuor Bozzini stands out with their “extraordinary playing.” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker). With rigorous qualitative criteria, they have nurtured a vastly diverse repertoire, unbiased by the currents of fashion. This has led to close to two hundred commissioned pieces, as well as over three hundred premiered works. A Quatuor Bozzini concert is an intensely shared experience, with meticulous and sensuous attention to detail.

Praised by its “intense musicality and immense sensitivity” (Musicworks, Canada), Quatuor Bozzini was qualified in the Bandcamp Daily as “one of the most daring string quartets of the entire world.” The group presents an annual concert series in Montréal and also tours extensively in Canada, the US, South America and Europe. Notable festivals and venues include MärzMusik (Berlin), Ultima (Oslo), Huddersfield (UK), Klangspuren (Austria), Tsuda Hall (Tokyo), Musiekgebouw (Amsterdam), November Music (Netherlands), Présences (France), Kortrijk (Belgium), TimeSpans (NYC), Porgy&Bess (Vienna) and Other Minds (San Francisco). To ensure continual development in their art, the quartet’s musical laboratories, the Composer’s Kitchen, Performer’s Kitchen and Bozzini Lab, work to mentor and support new generations of composers and performers. The quartet runs its own recording label, Collection QB, and has issued critically acclaimed albums, many of which have become reference recordings in the discipline. They also have issued albums with Edition Wandelweiser, Another Timbre, Wergo-Deutscher Musikrat, Centrediscs and ATMA Classique.

In 2018, Quatuor Bozzini was awarded the “Performer of the Year” Opus Prize by the Conseil québécois de la musique. Finalist to the 28th Grand Prix (Conseil des arts de Montréal, 2012), Quatuor Bozzini is also the recipient of three Opus Prizes “International Outreach” (2007), “Contemporary Disc of the Year” (2004), and “Discovery of the Year” (2001) as well as the Étoile-Galaxie Prize from Radio-Canada (2001), the Förderpreis Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung (2007), the German Record Critics Prize for Arbor Vitae (2009) and the 2014 Friends of Canadian Music Award.

[source: www.quatuorbozzini.ca] [iv-18]

Quatuor Bozzini

[Quatuor Bozzini]

[Quatuor Euterpe]

Montréal (Québec), 1999

  • Performer (string quartet)

Group Members

On the Web

Bozzini Quartet, Clemens Merkel, Alissa Cheung, Isabelle Bozzini, Stéphanie Bozzini [Photo: Michael Slobodian]
  • Bozzini Quartet [2017]
  • Ensemble SuperMusique; Bozzini Quartet  and Kim Myhr; back: Jean Derome; Isaiah Ceccarelli; Danielle Palardy Roger; Joane Hétu, front: Clemens Merkel; Stéphanie Bozzini; Kim Myhr; Isabelle Bozzini; Alissa Cheung [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), April 23, 2015]
  • Bozzini Quartet and Kim Myhr; Clemens Merkel, Stéphanie Bozzini, Kim Myhr, Isabelle Bozzini, Alissa Cheung [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), April 23, 2015]
  • Ensemble SuperMusique; Bozzini Quartet  et Kim Myhr; left to right: Clemens Merkel; Jean Derome; Stéphanie Bozzini; Isaiah Ceccarelli; Kim Myhr; Danielle Palardy Roger; Isabelle Bozzini; Joane Hétu; Alissa Cheung [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), April 23, 2015]
  • In back left to right: Alissa Cheung; Isabelle Bozzini; Isaiah Ceccarelli; Stéphanie Bozzini; in front Clemens Merkel; Danielle Palardy Roger; Jean Derome; Joane Hétu [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), February 11, 2015]
  • left to right: Jean Derome; Stéphanie Bozzini; Alissa Cheung; Clemens Merkel; Isabelle Bozzini; Isaiah Ceccarelli; Joane Hétu; Danielle Palardy Roger [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), February 11, 2015]
  • In back left to right: Alissa Cheung; Jean Derome; Stéphanie Bozzini; Clemens Merkel; in front Joane Hétu; Isabelle Bozzini; Isaiah Ceccarelli; Danielle Palardy Roger  [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), February 11, 2015]
  • In concert in Montréal, the Ensemble SuperMusique and the Bozzini Quartet. Left to right: Clemens Merkel; Scott Thomson;  Danielle Palardy Roger; ; Jean Derome; Stéphanie Bozzini; Joane Hétu; Pierre Tanguay; Isabelle Bozzini and Martin Tétreault (outside the frame) [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), June 15, 2014]

Main Releases

Collection QB / CQB 1922 / 2019
A
Collection QB / CQB 1924 / 2019
Another Timbre / AT 129 / 2018
Another Timbre / AT 105x2 / 2017
Collection QB / CQB 1821, CQB 1821_NUM / 2017
Collection QB / CQB 1615, CQB 1615_NUM / 2016
Collection QB / CQB 1719, CQB 1719_NUM / 2016
Tour de bras / TDB 9019 / 2016
Collection QB / CQB 1616, CQB 1616_NUM / 2015
Edition Wandelweiser Records / EWR 1507 / 2015
Collection QB / CQB 1414, CQB 1414_NUM / 2014
Centrediscs / CMCCD 17412 / 2012
Collection QB / CQB 1110 / 2011
Collection QB / CQB 1111 / 2011
Collection QB / CQB 1112 / 2011
Collection QB / CQB 1113 / 2011
Collection QB / CQB 0907 / 2009
Atma Classique / ACD 22552 / 2008
Collection QB / CQB 0806 / 2008
Collection QB / CQB 0704 / 2007
Edition Wandelweiser Records / EWR 0410 / 2006
Collection QB / CQB 0502 / 2005
Collection QB / CQB 0401 / 2004

In the Press

Critique

Réjean Beaucage, Voir, January 1, 2017
L’ajout du Quatuor Bozzini dans la recette agrandit singulièrement l’univers sonore du duo…

Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville 2016, Part 1

Mike Chamberlain, All About Jazz, May 24, 2016

The 32nd edition of the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville began with a performance of new compositions by Norwegian guitarist / composer Kim Myhr with Montréal’s Quatour Bozzini in the town’s new cultural space, Carré 150, an impressive $28 million structure that stands on the site of the former Cinema Laurier, one of the performance homes for the festival for many years.

If we’re looking for themes, the first two days’ concerts featured the human voice and by extension, the notion of breathing and the breath mechanism. Both the Bozzini / Myhr ensemble and the Julie Tippetts / Martin Archer Ensemble that followed included vocalists who incorporated poetry and song into the performances. The music of Bozzini and Myhr, who did two pieces, one by Christian Wolff and the other by Myhr, was spare and slow-moving, but insistent and hypnotic, with Angell reciting the poetry of the British poet Caroline Bergvall. The following performance, the Montréal-based vocalist Erika Tippetts / Archer group was performing live for the first time ever, despite the fact that they have been making music in the studio for a decade and a half. Their music is very much in the prog- rock sphere, with elements of the blues, a big bass sound and electric keyboards underpinning the group sound and providing a strong foundation for Tippetts’ soaring voice. (…)

The three performances on Friday evening all featured Quebec and Canadian musicians. Electric bassist / composer / educator Eric Normand lives in the small town of Rimouski, Quebec, where he leads a group called GGRIL, comprised mainly of amateur musicians from the Rimouski area. In starting GGRIL a few years ago, Normand has created an enormously important community music project that is reinvigorating the improvised music scene in Quebec. GGRIL were joined at Victo by veteran Montréalers Jean Derome and Joane Hetu and Ensemble SuperMusique, for an improvisation conducted by French guitarist / composer / improviser Olivier Benoit. There was no vocalist; it was the music itself that breathed and vibrated to the rhythm of the breath and beating of the heart. Benoit’s choice of moves for the musicians was impeccable, as the hour-long piece built up slowly to two climaxes, the tension palpable throughout. This was easily the best improvisation by a large Quebec ensemble heard here in many years. (…)

This was easily the best improvisation by a large Quebec ensemble heard here in many years.

Creating a new work with Quatuor Bozzini

Kyle Brenders, Soundstreams, June 23, 2015

Our Artistic Associate Kyle Brenders recently spent a week in Montreal, participating in Quatuor Bozzini’s Composer’s Kitchen. He wrote a blog post for us about his experience, and how he composes.

Beyond what I do here at Soundstreams, I attempt to have a life as a practicing composer (and performer, but that’s a story for another blog post). I am constantly searching to find a balance between my own artistic practice, and that which I’m working to put on stage at Soundstreams. Some might say that my work as a creative musician is my second job, because I do it after I get home from Soundstreams. But I sometimes feel that Soundstreams is my second job, there to support my habit as a musician! All kidding aside, I recently participated in an emerging composer workshop—a departure from being the workshop designer, which is part of what I do at Soundstreams.

I created a new work for string quartet as part of the Quatuor Bozzini’s Composer’s Kitchen. The Composer’s Kitchen is an annual musical “laboratory” conceived as an artistic "playground,” where composers workshop their new composition with direct support from the Quartet, as well as two composer mentors. The Composer’s Kitchen happens in three stages:

1) A workshop in Montreal and performance of the new work;

2) A few months of private revisions;

3) Another workshop in London, UK, and concert of the final works.

The workshop had four participants that were selected through an application process: two composers from Canada and two from the United Kingdom, supported by the amazing UK organization Sound and Music (you can read about the other participants here). The two mentor composers were Christopher Butterfield from Victoria, BC, and Christopher Fox from London, UK.

This workshop reminded me of how intense the process of creating a new work really is. In my own compositional practice, I know I’ll be performing much of the music that I write. Because of this, I tend to leave a lot of musical information out of the score. Dynamics, articulation, bar-lines, time signatures, instructions for improvisation, and sometimes even the duration of notes, are aspects of the score that I leave out, and figure out either in real-time during the performance, or through the rehearsal process.

I wasn’t going to be performing this new work, so I needed to create something clear and precise. However, I don’t believe in creating a score, handing it over, and expecting the piece to be performed directly as it appears on the page. I love openness, which requires the performers to make their own decisions. I love facilitating surprises for the performers as they play the music, and also for me as the composer of the work. This can create complications when working with musicians used to scores that have the composer’s instructions clearly written on the page. I knew this would a challenge going into this workshop, but I also knew that the members of Quatuor Bozzini would be game for anything.

I had a breakthrough on my piece when another workshop composer mentioned that she views the compositional process as “creating an article of clothing”—composers have to put the pieces of thread together for the performers. I am slightly different in my work—I provide the performers with the buttons and thread, but they have to create the shirt. The materials I provide the performers with create specific musical events, but how each event progresses through time will be determined in each performance. This idea is also where my piece got its name: sewn.

You can see a section of the score below and listen to how it’s all put together. There is a main set of materials that begin the section, and then each player is free to move through their own musical materials. Each player receives only their subsections, separate from the other four players.

My music has a quirkiness that I encourage. I recently played with Bobby McFerrin at Roy Thomson Hall, and one thing he stressed was that everyone needs a level of quirkiness in their everyday, and suggested 10%. I think I’m there with this piece. The Quartet really explored the material with curiosity and wit. But remember, this is only one performance, and one way through the material. Each time the Quartet performed my piece, they created a new version. My music isn’t about capturing a final, flawless performance, but capturing the moment the musicians are presently in.

Another amazing aspect of this workshop was collaborating with the other participants. They each created incredible pieces that inspired me to work harder (you can hear one of them here). Seeing another composer’s music being work-shopped is one of the joys of this process. I love watching how people put music together, hearing them describe what they’re doing, and seeing how the performers respond. It’s this joy of creation that made me first want to make music, and continues to drive me every day. Luckily, this workshop has a second stage, where we all come together again. I’ll write again in February after the third stage of the workshop, which will include a performance of the work in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Contemplations on listening: Alvin Lucier and the Bozzini Quartet in Montréal

Christina Volpini, Bachtrack, June 10, 2015

As many composers continue on a mad dash to ensnare audiences in a spiral of novel sounds, fantastic visuals and complexity, it is rare to find a composer who is interested solely in investigating the phenomena of sound itself. Musical trends have come and gone over the course of the 20th century, and yet composer Alvin Lucier has continued to produce works focused on a single idea related to sound production and the act of listening. This past Sunday, Montréal hosted Lucier as he, the Bozzini Quartet and other musicians performed his works of the past two decades.

At the age of 84, Lucier is a pioneer in the field of experimental music in post-war America. He often makes use of the properties of sound, room acoustics and the experience of hearing in his compositions. Of particular interest in this concert was the phenomenon of “sound wave interference”. This occurs when two sound waves which are very close in frequency approach the ear. The two slightly out-of-sync waves interfere with each other, and we hear this as a sort of ‘beating’ – imagine two instruments playing slightly out of tune. Though undesirable in other forms of classical music, Lucier draws our attention to this and other naturally-occurring acoustic phenomena, often with the use of technology.

Performing pieces of this nature requires painstaking concentration and hard work on the part of the player; pitches must be executed with absolute precision in order to create the desired effects. The first three pieces on the program presented sound wave interference through the context of a soloist in interaction with electronics. The first piece, Wind Shadows, featured trombonist Felix Del Tredici’s careful microtonal playing. Different rates of beating were created as he played long tones in unison with two pure sine oscillators. This was followed by Violynn, in which the Bozzini Quartet’s Clemens Merkel created a similar effect, this time against a series of six sine waves. Cellist Isabelle Bozzini then performed Charles Curtis, carefully executing double stops against long sine waves to form interference. The performers each paid close attention to detail, displaying fine control of their instrument through careful microtonal inflection.

Lucier himself performed the piece Bird and Person Dyning, in which an electric bird call interacted with feedback between speakers and a binaural microphone. ‘Dyning’ refers to heterodyning, a term from early radio transmission in which the addition and subtraction of two tones creates two new tones. With the performer required to wear the binaural microphone, the frequency of the feedback was dependent on Lucier’s position in the room. The composer moved in the space slowly and deliberately, able to create uncanny effects through even slight changes in the position of his body. At times, this included the strange experience of difference tones that seemed to form and vibrate right within the ear. The effects of space and resonance were also dealt with in the charming piece Nothing is real, in which pianist Daniel Áñez first recorded fragments of the Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever with a wash of damper pedal, then replayed the fragments on a speaker housed inside a teapot. By raising and lowering both the lid and the teapot itself, Áñez was able to isolate particular partials within the wash of recorded piano.

The final piece of the evening, Small Waves, brought all of the members of the Bozzini Quartet to the stage as well as Del Tredici and Áñez. In this piece, the performers played long, sustained clusters tuned closely to pitches of the feedback between speakers and six microphones. These microphones were inserted in glass vessels partially filled with water and placed around the space. On occasion, stage hands would pour water between vessels, thereby changing the pitch of the feedback. At 50 minutes in length, this piece was a display of endurance. The Bozzini Quartet’s care and precision was essential to the execution of the piece; the subtleties of the work were perceptible due to their exact microtonal tuning and synchronous ensemble playing. The quartet confronted the challenges of this music with confidence, their dedication to the work evident in their effort to bring these acoustic phenomena to fruition.

In many ways, Lucier’s music can be just as challenging for the listener as it is for the performers. Little of Western art music as single-minded and static, particularly when compared with the emotional journeys in the tradition of Beethoven, Wagner or Mahler. What Lucier’s music lacks in turbulence and cinematic grandeur it gains in quiet contemplation; rather than an elaborate structure built from many parts, this music is a monolith chiselled from a single block of marble. Lucier’s music forces us to slow down, reminding us of the quiet wonder found within the everyday act of listening.

The Bozzini Quartet’s care and precision was essential to the execution of the piece; the subtleties of the work were perceptible due to their exact microtonal tuning and synchronous ensemble playing. The quartet confronted the challenges of this music with confidence, their dedication to the work evident in their effort to bring these acoustic phenomena to fruition.

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