String quartet honors musical tradition

Courtesy of CSUF Department of Music

Courtesy of CSUF Department of Music

Cal State Fullerton will be kicking off the 12th annual New Music Festival with a unique blend showcasing extensions of the voice.

Pamela Madsen, Ph.D., will be directing the first event of the week-long celebration, which pays tribute to contemporary music. The Del Sol Quartet and guest composer Chinary Ung will perform at Meng Concert Hall on Wednesday.

Voice in the 21st Century focuses on the many talents of the voice.

The Del Sol Quartet, a San Francisco-based string quartet, will be showcasing its talent by singing while playing their instruments.

Madsen said the quartet will be featuring new works by composers with diverse cultural backgrounds.

It will include Ben Johnston, Gabriela Lena Frank, Ken Ueno and Chinary Ung in order to give CSUF students a well rounded appreciation of this specific art.

Ung is an ideal composer for this piece being that it is tradition in his home country to sing while playing instruments.

“He’s a special composer in that he’s from Cambodia and he specializes in Southeast Asian music,” Madsen said.

She added that he will be playing the gamelan, a percussion instrument, that will really exemplify the music of his culture.

Another composer featured in this work is Ueno, who is also from San Francisco. Ueno is also a composer who sings.

Although he is not singing in this concert, his work often requires the cellist to sing while playing.

Ueno is on the faculty for UC Berkeley.

Other works included are: Ben Johnston’s “String Quartet #10,” which will be featured by the quartet along with “Leyendas-An Andean Walkabout” by Gabriela Lena Frank.

Madsen is a musician as well as a director and composer.

She is fully aware of the concentration it takes to play an instrument while singing.

“I’m also a pianist and a vocalist, so I do that myself,” Madsen said while miming stroking the keys of an invisible piano. ”So thats why I’m interested in that as well.”

Being that many of the artists are from different areas, rehearsal will begin a few days prior to the show, when everyone will be here in residency, including Mr. Ung, who will also be celebrating his 70th birthday.

Ung’s wife is a musician as well, and will be performing on Wednesday as a violinist and singer.

The Del Sol Quartet just celebrated its 20th anniversary in December.

Del Sol’s members are cellist Kathryn Bates Williams, violist Charlton Lee and violinists Kate Stenberg and Rick Shinozaki.

The concert will be held in the Meng Concert Hall of the Clayes Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $15, and $13 for Titans and seniors (62+).

Discounts are offered to advanced purchases, available at the center’s box office.

Guests in residency will host more lectures and performances through March 3.

A full list of activities can be found on Madsen’s personal website, PamelaMadsen.com.

About Crystal Chavira