Friction Quartet Debuts New Works for C4NM

by Jessica Balik

Any creative undertaking is bounded by certain constraints, such as the time you have to finish it or the fixed size of your canvas. You can argue whether these constraints impede or enhance creativity. Indisputably, though, our current times provide plenty of them: Musicians cannot rehearse in groups while individually sheltering in place, for example, and even when musicians play together over a video conferencing platform, the vagaries of internet connectivity can cause parts that should happen simultaneously to align imperfectly.

But on Saturday, Nov. 28, San Francisco’s Center for New Music (C4NM) presented four new works for string quartet — by Davide Verotta, Shawne Anell Workman, Monica Chew, and Allan Crossman — that were created with virtual-performance restrictions in mind. The Friction Quartet, with each member playing from their own home, streamed this intrepid program called “Composing in the Time of the Pandemic.”

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