Composer John Adams on collaborating with St. Lawrence Quartet

The St. Lawrence Quartet has a history of collaboration with master American composer John Adams. They premiered his First Quartet and his Absolute Jest for string quartet and orchestra. (The recording of Absolute Jest was named one of Our 10 Favorite Classical Albums of 2015 by NPR’s deceptive cadence blog.) Most recently, the worked with him on Second Quartet, which they play for Da Camera audiences at the concert on October 28. Concert details here.

Adams appreciates the willingness of the quartet to be in the trenches with him as he composes.

“What I appreciate about my friends in the St. Lawrence is their willingness to let me literally ‘improvise’ on them as if they were a piano or a drum and I a crazy man beating away with only the roughest outlines of what I want,” says Adams on his web site. “They will go the distance with me, allow me to try and fail, and they will indulge my seizures of doubt, frustration and indecision, all the while providing intuitions and frequently brilliant suggestions of their own. It is no surprise then for me to reveal that both the First Quartet and Absolute Jest went through radical revision stages both before and after each piece’s premiere. Quartet writing for me seems to be a matter of very long-term ‘work in progress.’”