Performance - Aizuri Quartet: What’s Past is Prologue

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021


"Elegant, inquisitive" - The New Yorker on Aizuri Quartet

The GRAMMY Award-winning string ensemble performs What's Past is Prologue, two digital concerts of music by female composers spanning the past millennia, filmed March 2021 at the studio of renowned sculptor Joel Shapiro.

The phrase "what's past is prologue," from Shakespeare's The Tempest, "has become a modern shorthand for the notion that history set the context for the present," says Aizuri cellist Karen Ouzounian. "Contemporary composers reflect on the work of those who came before them as they push the string quartet medium towards the future." The dramatic setting for this two-part program is Shapiro's large-scale geometric sculptures that suspend from the ceiling and extend from the walls and floors of his studio in Long Island City, Queens.

Program 1, available June 23 includes Benedictine composer, philosopher, and abbess Hildegard von Bingen’s (b. 1098) liturgical poem Columba aspexit, arranged for string quartet by Alex Fortes; composer and environmentalist Gabriella Smith’s (b. 1991) Carrot Revolution, written for Aizuri’s GRAMMY-winning album Blueprinting; and GRAMMY and MacArthur Award-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens’s (b. 1977) At the Purchaser’s Option, a haunting work inspired by an 1830s advertisement selling a young female slave with or without her 9 month old baby.

Program 2, available June 30 offers Barbara Strozzi’s (b. 1619) L'usignuolo “The Nightingale” and L’amante modesto “The Modest Lover,” arranged by Alex Fortes; and British, Jamaican-born composer Eleanor Alberga’s (b. 1949) second movement from String Quartet No. 1, a life-affirming work inspired by a physics lecture in which the composer learned we are all made of star dust.

Film Director - Tristan Cook

Audio Engineer - Noriko Okabe

Program 1: Streaming Jun 23-Jul 7

Program 2: Streaming Jun 30-Jul 14 


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