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Ethel Interview

Posted on 13 February 2007. © Copyright 2004-2020 Composition:Today

C:T talks to Mary Rowell of the innovative String Quartet, ETHEL

Ethel, Steve J. Sherman
Tell us about the ethos behind ETHEL

ETHEL came together because we all were looking to break away from classical conventions. We all had various experiences in rock, jazz, pop, ultra contemporary, uptown and downtown music. If you are a classically trained string player the string quartet is just simply the best ensemble to work in. We all thought it would be fun to form a quartet where we wouldn't play anything from the standard repertoire but create our own music with our friends composing for us and composing pieces ourselves. That we would reach out to all styles and genres and bring the string quartet into the 21st Century.

You are performing in Symphony Space, New York this Feb 15th, with some very big name performers. Tell us about the concert.

We have been wanting to take on the roll of producer to create an evening of music presenting interesting and innovative performers and composers. People who we feel share our sentiment to do their own thing even if it defies convention. We're calling the show ETHEL FAIR and we hope this will be the first of many shows we put on. When we asked our friends and colleagues if they would be involved in this show not one of them said no!! We have James Bilagody, Navajo Singer/Poet; Kurt Koble"s P.A.M Band (robotic group), Thomas Dolby (She Blinded Me With Science), Complex Rock band Electric Kompany, Klezmer/Avant Garde clarinetist David Krakauer and Mark Stewart, Instrument inventor and lead guitar player for Paul Simon. This is going to be a really kickin show!

Your website mentions that you review unsolicited submissions on a rolling basis. Tell us about the kind of work you are looking for?

Composers are always looking for groups that have a high profile that will perform their music. We are interested in seeing what's out there. You never know if your next favorite piece is being written by someone you don't know! ETHEL does have a certain criteria that we're looking for... a certain smart hippness... a certain groove... a certain intention from the music that wants to reach out and jump off the stage and get into the hearts and soul of any one listening. That is how ETHEL plays and we look for music that wants to do the same. We suggest that composers should experience ETHEL in concert to get a real sense of what we're about and then write something FOR us.

Which composers do you particularly admire?

Well ETHEL favorite composers include John King, Marcelo Zarvos, Phil Kline, Julia Wolfe, Mary Ellen Childs, Evan Ziporyn, Don Byron to name a few. We admire these folks for following their inner voices and writing stuff that really connects with an audience.

What were the formative influences on the ensmeble?

Budapest Quartet, Beatles, Doobie Brothers, Jacquline DuPres, Boston, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Leonard Bernstein, Eric Clapton, Rush, Led Zepplin, Roger Daltry... to name a few

What are your plans for the future?

We are working on an ongoing project we're calling Truck Stop. As we travel around the country we seek out local artists to jam with and to create music together. it's a way of learning more about the community we are visiting and to form musical imperssions and friendships. It is also creating repertoire for us! We are interested in finding a residency where we can teach about being an entrepreneurial

Where can people find out more about you?

Come to our website also our myspace site Drop us a line. Check out our Blog. We love to hear from you.

Interview by Composition:Today © Copyright 2004-2020

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