Acclaimed as “unfailingly vital” (The New York Times), “brilliant,” “downtown’s reigning string quartet” (The New Yorker), and “one of the most exciting quartets around” (The Strad), ETHEL invigorates the contemporary music scene with exuberance, intensity, imaginative programming, and exceptional artistry. At the heart of ETHEL is a quest for a common creative expression that is forged in the celebration of community. As cultural and musical “pollinators,” the quartet invigorates today’s indie-classic scene through genre and culture-crossing initiatives, inventive repertoire, and innovative community engagement activities. ETHEL advances the work of a diverse community of artists through commissions, collaborations, and recordings.
While on tour and at home, ETHEL offers in-depth residency and community outreach programming to connect a broad spectrum of audiences and students to its music. Founded in 1998 and based in New York City, ETHEL is comprised of Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello), Kip Jones (violin), and Corin Lee (violin).
Known worldwide for transcending the limits of tradition, ETHEL actively, aggressively, and joyfully adapts its masterful skill-set to the presentation of virtuosic, boundary-crossing works of musical and cultural diversity.
The group ongoingly champions the music of emerging artists, and performs adventurous music by celebrated contemporary composers such as Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, Andy Akiho, David Lang, John King, John Zorn, Steve Reich, Anna Clyne, Kenji Bunch, JacobTV, Don Byron, Marcelo Zarvos, Evan Ziporyn, Judd Greenstein, Terry Riley, James Kimo Williams and Mary Ellen Childs. Over the past five years, ETHEL has premiered 150+ new works, many of them commissioned by the quartet.
ETHEL’s 2015-16 season celebrates the diversity of regional American music, anchored by a national tour of the evening-length ETHEL’s Documerica, described by The New York Times as “new music bonding with old images in rich, provocative and moving ways.” ETHEL will tour several critically-acclaimed signature programs throughout the season, ranging from The River, a collaboration with Taos Pueblo flutist Robert Mirabal, to an introspective program Grace, featuring ETHEL’s arrangements of music by Ennio Morricone and Jeff Buckley. Other highlights include the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe’s “Blue Dress for String Quartet,” commissioned by ETHEL, at National Sawdust; performances of new and existing repertoire as the Resident Ensemble at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Balcony Bar, and interdisciplinary activities as Ensemble-in-Residence at Denison University.