In 1991 the Cassatt String Quartet came to play on the [Bang on a Can] festival because another quartet had canceled at the last minute. We didn’t know them. When they started to play I was amazed — they were like angels, moving and breathing together. In 1992 I wrote Four Marys for the Cassatt. I thought about how they played as if they were one organism. Four Marys takes the sound world of the mountain dulcimer and magnifies it — the sliding pitches, the crude crying tone, the drone strings, and the ”strumming” expand throughout the quartet. I spent hours hanging around with them in their apartments, trying out ideas, reworking things, ordering take-out food. This was the beginning of our friendship.
About Julia Wolfe
Julia Wolfe draws inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, bringing a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them. Her Pulitzer prize-winning concert-length oratorio, Anthracite…