P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2004
May 12, 2004
String Quartet Brings New Work in the Making to MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) Ethel is a 21st-century manifestation of the classical string quartet. Featuring performing stalwarts whose credentials read like a who's who of classical, contemporary, and popular music. From the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Steve Reich Ensemble to the Sheryl Crow Band and the Roger Daltrey Band, the members of Ethel bring together a vast spectrum of musical experience. The group will spend two weeks in residence at MASS MoCA to develop their newest musical work, and on Saturday, June 12, at 7:30 P.M. they'll present a work-in-progress concert. The New York Times hails Ethel as "extraordinarily skilled, passionate musicians." "Ethel is a composer's dream, doing everything I ask and making it sound even better than I imagined," according to composer Evan Ziporyn. Dick Connette calls them "...the choice of discriminating avant-gardists everywhere."
Ethel has quickly emerged as a powerful musical voice in New York City's rich concert scene. This all-star foursome – Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello), Todd Reynolds (violin) and Mary Rowell (violin) – has stretched itself far past the limits of genre and style. Ethel has collaborated with such innovative composers as John King, Joe Jackson, Steve Coleman, Mel Graves and Benny Wallace. Ethel has had regular appearances on the World Music Institute's "Interpretations" series, the Upper Manhattan Arts Project's "Featured Artist" series, and has appeared at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival with the Bang-On-Can All Stars and Ensemble Moderne. Their recordings include Showtime's original series, The Hoop Life, the Oscar Moore animated film, The Indescribable Nth, and even a Poland Spring television commercial. Ethel will soon be heard on new releases from Joe Jackson and from Rickie Lee Jones.
Ralph Farris' versatility is reflected in his collaborative performance history — from Joseph Silverstein and Allen Ginsberg to Barry White and the Georgian pop band Mtziuri. He served as violist, violinist, and assistant conductor for the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of The Lion King. His string quartet arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was performed at Ground Zero on September 11, 2002. He has toured Europe and Asia with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the former Soviet Union with International Arts for Peace-Children Are the Future, and as fiddler of the Roger Daltrey Band. A graduate of The Juilliard School's Accelerated BM/MM program, he received the school's William Schuman Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership. Ralph has served as composer/arranger for Las Vegas' Classical Magic and as arranger/orchestrator for Dishwalla, Chantal Kreviazuk, Stage, The British Rock Symphony, The NBC film Martha, Inc., the National touring company of A Chorus Line and the Grammy-nominated Five for Fighting single "Superman".
Dorothy Lawson appears regularly with New York's finest ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Virtuosi. According to The New York Times, Lawson "makes chamber music seem like truly serious fun." Co-founder of both the Andreas Trio and the Rossetti Quartet, Lawson is the cello voice of Brazilian jazz pianist Marcelo Zarvos + Group and has toured extensively with Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project. Her recent concerto engagements include a recording of Bazelon's Entre Nous (written for her) with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, concert appearances with the Lithuania National Philharmonic featuring Goldshmidt's Cello Concerto, and the New York performances of Ghedini's Double Cello Concerto with colleague Carter Brey and Philharmonia Virtuosi. She most recently served as first cello in the Jason Robert Brown show, The Last Five Years.
Todd Reynolds, "New York's leading classical/jazz violinist," according to The New Yorker, is a long time member of Steve Reich and Musicians and violinist for Bang On a Can. He currently rocks New York City in his music-based performance art project Still Life With Microphone and new music cabaret act, Nuove Uova. A composer and conductor, he is a recipient of Meet The Composer and American Composers Forum Grants and is Associate Conductor to Sound Painting guru Walter Thompson and the Steve Reich Ensemble. Reynolds collaborates with world musicians frequently and is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project. A member of the Betty Buckley Band and an original member of the Mahavishnu Project, he originated the role of the dancing fiddler in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Annie, Get Your Gun.
Mary Rowell is considered by critics and colleagues to be one of the most important and exciting performers on the scene today. Equally at home on the stages of Lincoln Center and grunge rock clubs, critics have described her playing as amazing and versatile. She has appeared as soloist with National Symphony, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Northwest Arkansas Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, and the Concordia Orchestra, and has recorded and toured with Sheryl Crow, Joe Jackson, the Tango Project and the Silos. She is concertmaster of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and the Palm Beach Pops.
Tickets for Ethel Goes to the Movies are $14. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available in advance through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111. Tickets are also available in advance at Images Cinema in Williamstown.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release