Sounds New XXV

Samantha Jenkins, Arts Staff

         The Amernet String Quartet is the Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami. The group has been performing around the world for years, and were Quartet-in-Residence in a number of other colleges. They have also received multiple grants and awards along the way while hosting master classes and workshops at various universities. Additionally, they have made many recordings, as well as worked with composers who write pieces specifically for them.  The group, consisting of Misha Vitenson, Avi Nagin, Michael Klotz, and Jason Calloway, performed at Stetson on Nov. 12, 2019.

         Their current season consists of tours throughout Europe and Latin America, and here in the United States they are premiering several new pieces. For their Stetson visit, the third piece of the night, “String Quartet #2 ‘Lost Prayers’” was the United States premiere, and the last piece, “Quartet No. 8” was the world premiere. The group consists of two violins, a viola, and a cello. Mary Branson (‘22) said, “My younger brother plays the cello, so it was really cool seeing what kind of sound a real professional could get.” Each of the performers played with confidence and skill, and had many years of experience. 

         The pieces have unique tones and styles, and the instruments exchanged prominent parts in the pieces. Some pieces use modern techniques as far as getting different sounds from their string instruments. All the pieces are recent, composed within the past 25 years. Faith Hill (‘22) said, “It was interesting that they were all relatively modern songs. Usually groups just play the old, classical stuff. But the newest song is my favorite [“Quartet No. 8”].” The cellist, Jason Calloway, mentioned before the piece that Sydney Hodkinson had composed it specifically for their group, and that “[Hodkinson] gave Michael [viola player] what he always wanted, to feel like a violinist.”

         The group will continue their tour of the United States. They are scheduled to have more tours set in the future, so they may return to Stetson. In the meantime, they will continue coming up with new music and performing around the world.