Ethel string quartet to perform at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington


What: Ethel performs "Grace" feat. works by Ennio Morricone, Jeff Buckley, Vijay Iyer, Son Lux, Marcelo Zarvos, Nico Muhly and more

When: Saturday, June 21st at 8:00pm

Where: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA

Admission: $30. To purchase, call Mahaiwe at 413.528.0100 or visit

"The concept of grace is a loosely binding element that is expressed in the various pieces in really different ways. There's one piece in [the meter of] 13 by Vijay Iyer. Grace is what Vijay expresses in composing this piece that just flows so beautifully. Thirteen is a crazy-hard meter to count, but it beautifully rolls along. There's no stress or difficulty in feeling the ease and peace and joy of just flowing along in this meter. There's also the grace of beauty and love in the piece ["Song for Sandra"] by our dear friend Carlo Mombelli. He wrote the piece for his wife on the occasion of their 30th anniversary. It's a love song to his wife. There's grace and joy and love in that. It just makes us smile." - Ralph Farris, member of Ethel

The program for the evening is "Grace," a journey to redemption through music. In every sense of the word, "Grace" provides beauty and charm, goodwill, a favor and a reprieve. In complex, stressful times and in a world overwhelmed by seemingly irreconcilable differences and challenges, music provides both an immediate tonic of relief and a medium for long-term healing and understanding.

Ethel has pursued this aspect of its art in many ways over the years, both in its own creative output and in opening its hearts and skills to close collaboration with master artists from diverse cultures.

The centerpiece for the program is Ethel's own adaptation of Ennio Morricone's score to the 1986 film, "The Mission." Morricone's score was nominated for an Academy Award in 1986 and won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score. The film deals with cross-cultural complexities fueled by the quest for redemption against the backdrop of the jungles of South America. Also featured in the concert are special quartet treatments honoring the 20th anniversary of the release of Jeff Buckley's "Grace," his only completed studio album.

Favorite Ethel composers and collaborators composer Mary Ellen Childs, jazz pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley, and contemporary classical music composer Nico Muhly, fill out the program.

About Ethel

Described as "indefatigable and eclectic" (The New York Times) and "vital and brilliant" (The New Yorker), the string quartet ETHEL invigorates the contemporary music scene with exuberance, intensity, imaginative programming, and exceptional artistry. At the heart of ETHEL is a collaborative ethos - a quest for a common creative expression that is forged in the celebration of community. As cultural and musical "pollinators," the quartet brings its collaborative discoveries to audiences through multi-dimensional musical repertoire and community engagement. ETHEL performs adventurous music by celebrated contemporary composers such as Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, Andy Akiho, David Lang, John King, Raz Mesinai, John Zorn, Steve Reich, Anna Clyne, Kenji Bunch, JacobTV, Don Byron, Marcelo Zarvos, Evan Ziporyn, Judd Greenstein, Terry Riley, Mary Ellen Childs and Son Lux.

Founded in 1998 and based in New York City, ETHEL is comprised of Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello), Kip Jones (violin) and Tema Watstein (violin).


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