Roydon Tse

Delgani String Quartet: Commissioning tomorrow’s classics

Eugene quartet's spring season nurtures new music alongside classics

by GARY FERRINGTON

“If you’re a musician today and you’re not commissioning new works, or at the very least working with living composers on works they’ve already composed, then you’re really just treading water,” Delgani String Quartet Artistic Director Wyatt True tells ArtsWatch. “Without collaboration between performer and composer, the development of music goes nowhere.”

True, whose ensemble premieres three commissioned works this season, observes that audiences “love new music” and that even very unexpected contemporary works can be positively received if the audience is prepared to make sense of the music they are hearing. Fortunately for the performance of most Delgani commissions, the composers are available to share insights into their music with audiences.

“Don’t get me wrong, we love playing Beethoven too!” True says. “But even Beethoven’s music would not be here today if no one ever took an interest in it. Besides, how great is it to be able to actually speak with the composer about their work? Imagine all of the interpretive issues that could be resolved instantly if we could talk to Mozart or Beethoven.”

Delgani at the Eugene Jazz Station. Photo: Gary Ferrington.

This March, Delgani will premiere new commissions by Oregon composer Greg Steinke and Toronto-based Roydon Tse, both winners of the ensemble’s Call for Scores. Later in the season the group premieres a new piece by University of Oregon percussion faculty member Pius Cheung and a regional premiere of a work by Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho.

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