Carpe Diem String Quartet + Jeff Midkiff
Carpe Diem String Quartet + Jeff Midkiff
One of the most unique and sought-after chamber ensembles on the concert stage today, the Carpe Diem String Quartet is a boundary-breaking ensemble that has earned widespread critical acclaim. Carpe Diem defies easy classification with programming that includes classical, Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music. The quartet appears on traditional concert series (Carnegie Hall, New York NY; Jordan Hall, Boston MA; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua NY; Asolo Theater, Sarasota FL, Accademia Chigiana, Siena Italy, Suntory Hall, Tokyo Japan) as well as unconventional venues (Poisson Rouge, NYC; Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Half-Moon Bay, CA; The Redlands Bowl, Redlands, CA; The Mug & Brush, Columbus, OH). Carpe Diem has been awarded five transformative grants from the PNC Foundation for their community outreach in Central Ohio.
Carpe Diem seeks out, and is sought after by, artists from many different genres for collaborations, including : American singer/songwriter/ guitarist Willy Porter, Latin Grammy winner/bandoneón player Raul Juarena, klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer, cellist Yo Yo Ma, banjo virtuoso Jayme Stone, Shannon Heaton, Celtic flautist, mandolinist Jeff Midkiff, Dixieland trumpeter Tom Battenberg, classical guitarist Nicolo Spera, Chinese pipa player Yihan Chen, and world master of the Persian santoor Dariush Saghafi.
The quartet is dedicated to community engagement, and to pushing the limits of the classical string quartet and to changing the concert experience of chamber music. Using innovative programming, thematic concerts, and popular music for younger generations, cameras and video to assist in the visual presentation, as well as speaking from the stage to better engage the audience, Carpe Diem is bringing new audiences into the concert hall and revitalizing the chamber music experience.
Jeff Midkiff: Music for Mandolin and String Quartet
Columbus, OH – Carpe Diem String Quartet announces the release of their new CD, Jeff Midkiff, Music for Mandolin and String Quartet.
One of the most unique and sought-after chamber ensembles on the concert stage today, the Carpe Diem String Quartet was founded in 2005 by members of the Columbus Symphony, and has gone on to become a boundary-breaking, award winning ensemble that has earned widespread critical and audience acclaim for its innovative programming and electrifying performances. With programming that reflects its passions for Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music alongside the traditional string quartet repertoire, Carpe Diem has defied easy classification while quickly becoming one of America’s premier “indie” string quartets.
A mandolinist, fiddler, classical clarinetist and composer, Jeff Midkiff is an outstanding musician who feels comfortable in more than one setting—musically and personally. “I feel at home in the Blue Ridge Mountains playing fiddle tunes,” Jeff Midkiff says, “but then again, I feel at home in a professional orchestra as well.”
The music on this recording reflects the composer’s versatility, with strong folk and fiddling elements combined with sophisticated and sensitive writing for the string quartet. From a recent concert, the reviewer wrote: “The Quintet (Quintet No. 2) is somewhat of a sprawling work, with various changes of tempo and mood. It falls loosely into four movements, or sections, and effectively allows each player to shine in evocative cadenzas, especially the mandolin, which was expertly played by Midkiff. The slow movement begins with an atmospheric and unusual mix of viola, cello and mandolin.
Often the string players alternated pizzicato chords with the solo mandolin, revealing the composer’s artistic use of instrumental colours. A dance-like third section in triple meter links into a generally fast final section that combines elements of gypsy-style violin-playing and cimbalom-like strumming on the mandolin, with the traditional techniques of country fiddling. Midkiff has even paid homage to Bach by having written a short fugato near the end.
Carpe Diem Will present the music of Jeff Midkiff in Carnegie Hall on January 6. 2019.