If anyone ever assumed chamber music was for fuddy-duddies, they would completely get over it if they witnessed Ethel at work. Ethel makes chamber music feel as physical and intense as the shreddingest rock music -- without sacrificing any artistry or delicacy. They're the future, and future sounds great.
I was fortunate enough to look after Ethel when they performed in the Melbourne International Festival for the Arts (Australia) a few years ago. I also saw them perform in the 10 Days on an Island Festival, Tasmania (also in Australia) in 2009. They are the most talented musicians, creating a really honest and vibrant sound. As a professional outfit, they are highly commited to their audience and their mission. The quality of their work is superb, and their dedication to maintaining that standard is truly inspiring. Can't wait to see them here again!
The players in Ethel have unique and generous personalities and a vivacity and authenticity in the way they share music. This communicates to people of all ages who are interested in music that is living, both in that it is newly composed and that it is in touch with a broad range of styles. I think the players of Ethel are in the best possible position to relate to young people in sharing their open and energetic approach to music and the process of creating and performing it. Their dedication to educating and empowering young people, especially those not likely to have the advantages other might, is an inspiration to all musicians and most especially to those lucky students.
I've seen Ethel perform numerous times, great chops and always a great experience, wide ranging repertoire. Caring, committed band members that 'give back' to community
Ethels Work with the Navajo has been extraordinary. For the last 4 years they have come to the middle of the Navajo Reservation (Chinle Az) and worked with a group of young aspiring composers in my high school music room. The development of self esteem I see from the students in the program is astounding. This year two of those students have applied and auditioned for multiple music schools including Berklee. The interview teams have been very impressed with their composition skills and are encouraging composition scholarships for the students. How altruistic Ethels work is! The music and ove of music is at the highest level-only exceeded by their caring and encouragement given to the students they work with.
i've worked with ethel, i've listened to ethel, my wife has worked with ethel, and we've all seen what they have accomplished. i'd compare them to the OTHER great american new music string quartet, but they are so different...i've never heard another quartet improvise like that, that is, better than most composers can write! very intimidating. they are changing the very place of string quartets and modern music, joining in with all kinds of musicians. of course no one plays their way...they are the most distinctive sounding quartet i've heard. and tecnical monsters, to be SURE!!!!!!
I am an arts professional and an audience member interested in Ethel's work. I saw them perform in two lovely venues on Kauai, in Hawaii. Their connection with the audience was palpable and their enthusiasm for a breathtaking variety of music, infectious. I had heard their recordings, and was bowled over by the heartbreaking beauty of the first live performance I heard in a stunningly intimate venue on Kauai. Thoroughly hooked, I attended a concert at a different venue a few days later where they shared the stage with a variety of talented Hawaiian artists, effortlessly connecting with a very different audience and circumstance.
Ethel is one of the most creative music groups I've ever encountered. Every event they do breaks the mold of how to create music, how to present it, and what is created. Particularly admirable is how they reach across seemingly-impossible divides between types of music and musicians, working together on a musical and personal level to create a hybrid that is at once unique and also encompasses both "cultures." And they're GREAT players, the best.
Steelgrass Farm is a center for music, agriculture and the arts on the island of Kauai. Ethel's week-long residency here was a transformative event for our rural population, which is highly underserved from a cultural perspective. Ethel's free public concerts, in particular an interactive collaboration with students from Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha, one of the few Hawaiian-language schools in the world, were the highlights of the year's musical events for everyone on our island.
Funder, audience member, observer, fan. Ethel's music is a shot in the arm for those of us who need contemporary programming. BUT their participation in the Grand Canyon Music Festival and the Native American Composers Apprentice Program has shifted the course of outreach in chamber music, and certainly in the Four Corners area. Witnessing their work with this program makes you wish the media paid more attention to the good work of artists. ETHEL is the picture of dedication, professionalism, creative thinking and role modelling.