Del sol string quartet
Hailed by Gramophone as “masters of all musical things they survey” and two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Del Sol String Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.
Fascinated by the feedback loop between social change, technology, and artistic innovation, the San Francisco-based ensemble is a leading force in 21st century chamber music - whether introducing Ben Johnston’s microtonal Americana at the Library of Congress, exploring Andean soundscapes with Gabriela Lena Frank and traditional musicians, deconstructing Ruth Crawford’s radical experimental processes with East Bay schoolchildren, or rocking Mason Bates’ techno grooves in his San Francisco club dance party.
Del Sol focuses on music that reflects the cultural diversity of our community, championing works by both world-renowned and emerging composers, and collaborating across disciplines. Founded in 1992 at Banff Centre for the Arts, Del Sol’s collaborative performance projects and chamber music programs embrace this panoramic and emotionally rich worldview. Del Sol has breached the wall between pit and stage in STRINGWRECK, its cheeky collaboration with critically acclaimed choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton; explored the intimate impact of AIDS in composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s deeply moving, autobiographical chamber opera, GREEN SNEAKERS, with baritone Jesse Blumberg; and immersed the audience in a four-dimensional soundscape created with composer and video artist Chris Jonas in GARDEN. Whether diving deeply into a single work or transcending the limits of genre, Del Sol’s carefully crafted chamber music programs engage audiences fully in the concert experience.
Recognized as a “vigorous champion of living composers”, Del Sol has premiered well over 100 works through its extensive commissioning and innovative performances. The composers represent a diverse range of contemporary voices, including Terry Riley, Mason Bates, Frederic Rzewski, Ben Johnston, Gabriela Lena Frank, Chinary Ung, Tania León, Ken Ueno, Peter Sculthorpe, Reza Vali, Mohammed Fairouz and Per Nørgård.
Many of these works are included in Del Sol’s eclectic discography — nine, critically-acclaimed, full-length albums that reflect the ensemble’s fascination with the intersection of place and culture. PopMatters praised Del Sol’s “unfettered mastery” on the “addictive” “Dark Queen Mantra” (2017, Sono Luminus), featuring a collaboration with guitarist Gyan Riley and world premiere recordings of music by Terry Riley and Stefano Scodanibbio. The NY Times questioned, when listening to Scrapyard Exotica (2015) “if your foot can stay still once you put on this funky disc of rhythmically infectious…music played by the adventurous Del Sol String Quartet.”
Other Del Sol recordings have explored the “hypnotic sound world” of Peter Sculthorpe (Sculthorpe: The Complete String Quartets with Didjeridu); reveled in musical languages from Peru, Turkey, Spain, Iran and Uzbekistan (Zia); featured composers from the Pacific Rim (Ring of Fire); illuminated the string quartets of George Antheil, Marc Blitzstein and Robert Erickson; and created a vibrant dialogue between 20th century masters and young composers from the Americas (Tear).
The Quartet has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Museum and National Gallery of Art in Washington DC; Symphony Space in New York City; Other Minds Festival of New Music in San Francisco; Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Santa Cruz, CA; Clefworks Festival, Montgomery, AL; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Houston; Santa Fe Opera in NM; Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY; Candlelight Concerts, Columbia, MD; University of Vermont Lane Series in Burlington, VT; Davos and Hirzenberg Music Festivals in Switzerland; and the Chengdu Festival of Contemporary Music in China.
With its deep commitment to education, Del Sol has reached thousands of K-12 students through inventive school performances, workshops, coaching and residencies. The Quartet members also have worked closely with student composers, musicians and faculty artists at universities across the country, including Dartmouth, MIT, Brandeis, Northeastern, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, University of New Mexico, University of California at Berkeley, San Diego, and Santa Cruz, Chapman, Augustana, Illinois State, the Peabody Institute, the Manhattan School of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.