Mivos Quartet

Sun., Apr. 16, 2017
Doors at 7:30pm | Show at 8pm
Resource Center for Nonviolence
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$20 General / $10 Students
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Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles,” have performed everywhere from museums to metal clubs. They will play acoustic and electro-acoustic compositions by artists from across the United States, Denmark, and Iran.

Pieces range from the propulsive String Quartet No. 3 by composer and Zs guitarist Patrick Higgins to the cold minimalism of Martin Stauning’s Atmende Steine. Mivos will also play Moonblood, by Mario Diaz de Leon, a metal guitarist and composer of “extreme instrumental music,” as well as Scott Wollschleger’s String Quartet No. 2, “White Wall”, which the composer describes as “music written at the end of the world.” Finally, Mivos will premiere a revised and expanded version of Distorted Attitudes IV, by California-based Iranian composer Anahita Abbasi.

Mivos Quartet

The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing the works of contemporary composers, presenting new music to diverse audiences. The quartet has been lauded for their “performances of edge-of-your-seat intensity” and “thrillingly committed accounts” (The Strad Magazine) and has earned a reputation as a leading interpreter of contemporary music.

Mivos is invested in commissioning and premiering new music for string quartet, particularly in a context of close collaboration with composers over extended time-periods. The quartet has worked closely with composers such as Clemens Gadenstätter, Ted Hearne, Alex Mincek, Helmut Lachenmann, Sam Pluta, Steve Reich, Katharina Rosenberger, Kate Soper, Eric Wubbels and Samson Young. The quartet maintains a full schedule of touring throughout the USA and around the world, including performances at Aldeburgh Music (UK), Carnegie Hall (USA), HellHOT! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Kennedy Center (USA), Shanghai New Music Week (China), Teatro La Fenice (Italy), and Wien Modern (Austria). Mivos has received commissions and awards from organizations including Aldeburgh Music (UK), Chamber Music America (USA), Darmstadt Summer Festival for New Music (Germany), Fromm Foundation (USA), Jerome Foundation (USA), Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), and the Ralph Kaminsky Fund for Music (USA).

In addition to their work as interpreters, Mivos is committed to collaborating with guest artists, exploring multimedia projects involving live video and electronics, creating original compositions and arrangements for the quartet, and performing improvised music. Mivos’s work as improvisers has led to collaborations with artists including Dan Blake, Ned Rothenberg, Timucin Sahin and Nate Wooley.

Mivos is also active in education, and has been engaged in residencies at Central Michigan University, University at Buffalo, Princeton, Northwestern University, Smith College, CUNY Graduate Center, Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, SUNY Fredonia, Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), the Hong Kong Art Center and MIAM University Istanbul (Turkey). The quartet also runs the annual Mivos/Kanter String Quartet Composition Prize, established to support the work of emerging and mid-career composers and to encourage continued interest in new compositions for string quartet. The winning composer, selected from over one hundred applicants, receives a performance of their work in New York City on the Mivos Quartet concert season and a cash prize. Mivos also co-founded the biennial I Creation Prize for composers of Chinese descent.

Mivos new album Garden of Diverging Paths is now out on New Focus Recordings, featuring literature-inspired works by emergent young American composers Kate Soper, Andrew Greenwald, and Taylor Brook. Reappearances, Mivos Quartet’s critically acclaimed debut album, “a sonic dynamo of unrelenting musical power” (Sequenza 21), is available on Carrier Records.

Indexical’s concerts in Santa Cruz are supported in part by the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County.

Arts Council of Santa Cruz County

The title, Moonblood, takes its name from a German black metal band.  It was composed in 2005, during a time when I wrote almost exclusively for string instruments, exploring intersections of harmony, noise, and gesture. With a structure that gradually builds towards areas of climactic intensity, the piece evokes a ritual of inner initiation.

Mario Diaz de Leon is a composer of extreme instrumental music, combining a devotion to Stockhausen-style modernism with a love of noise, drone, and black metal. His works have been described as "21st century chamber music that couples crystalline clarity with the disorienting turbulence of a sonic vortex" (Wire Magazine).

His debut album as composer, "Enter Houses Of" was released in 2009 on John Zorn's Tzadik label, and praised by the New York Times for its "hallucinatory intensity". A second album, entitled "The Soul is the Arena", was released in 2015 on the Denovali label. Both recordings were performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom he has collaborated extensively since 2006.

His works have recently been presented at Chicago Symphony Center, Hakuju Hall (Tokyo), Venice Biennale, Lucerne Festival, Musica Nova Helsinki, National Gallery of Art (DC) and Roulette (Brooklyn). In 2016, he was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to write a new work for brass and electronics.

As a solo performer, he is active under the name Oneirogen (o-NI-ro-jen), an experimental project known for its merging of ethereal synths, brutal distortion, and noise influences. Since 2012, Oneirogen has toured internationally and released three full length LPs and two EPs on the Denovali label. He is also the vocalist and guitarist of the death/black metal band Luminous Vault.

Born in Minnesota in 1979, he grew up playing guitar in hardcore punk and metal bands before attending the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied electronic music and composition. He has lived in in New York City since 2004, and received his doctorate in music composition from Columbia University in 2013.

White Wall is an austere yet playful sound world which is based around white noise and fragments of sound. The central image of combing through a cultural landscape-turned-desert occupied my mind as I wrote the work. It is music written at the end of the world, i.e., today. White Wall also invokes a sense of touching and breathing. In shaping the white noise I tried to turn the quartet into a breathing apparatus that would always imply (concurrently and somewhat paradoxically) both a moving pattern and a simultaneous erasure of that pattern.  The first movement is a slow uncovering of a melody. The second movement is something of a dance that disintegrates. —S.W.

Scott Wollschleger (b. 1980) is a composer who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Wollschleger’s music has been performed in venues around the world with recent premieres in New York, Pittsburgh, Vienna, Paris, Dublin, Toyko, and São Paulo.

Mr. Wollschleger stands out in the contemporary music community as a unique and independent thinker. His distinct music language explores themes of art in dystopia, the conceptualization of silence, synesthesia, and creative repetition in form. His music has been highly praised for its arresting timbres, conceptual originality, and challenging technical substance. Much of Mr. Wollschleger’s music features a sense of “timeless lyricism”, something that influential avant-garde jazz pianist and blogger Ethan Iverson described as “the highlight of the disc” in his enthusiastic review of Mr. Wollschleger’s Brontal No. 3, on Barbary Coast, a 2014 New Focus Records release.

In 2017 New Focus Records will release his debut solo album, Soft Aberration. Other recent highlights include the release of his solo piano work, Music without Metaphor, recorded by pianist Ivan Ilić on a new album The Transcendentalist released on Heresy Records. Mr. Ilić also published an in-depth interview with the composer. This past season also saw performances by String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Longleash and Transient Canvas featuring bassoonist Chris Watford. In 2016 he will write new works for Exceptet, New Thread Quartet, and Andy Kozar. Mr. Wollschleger’s recent work White Wall, was performed by the Mivos quartet at the 2014 International Music Institute at Darmstadt and his recent Loadbang commission, was featured at The Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, California. Mr. Wollschleger is also involved in number of ongoing artistic collaborations with pianist Karl Larson and violist Anne Lanzilotti.

Following lightly in the footsteps of the New York School, Mr. Wollschleger received his Masters of Music in composition from Manhattan School of Music in 2005, where he studied with Nils Vigeland who himself Morton Feldman called “the most brilliant student I ever had.” Mr. Wollschleger has received support from a variety of organizations including New Music USA, BMI, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music. Mr. Wollschleger was a Co-Artistic Director of Red Light New Music, a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and crafting contemporary music. He also works as an editor and publisher at Schott Music New York.

In addition to his musical ideas, Mr. Wollschleger frequently delves into the philosophical writings of Deleuze, Nietzsche, and Brecht and maintains an ongoing collaboration with Deleuzian scholar Corry Shores. Their recently co-authored thesis, Rhythm without Time, was successfully presented at the London Graduate School’s academic conference, “Rhythm and Event,”.

Mr. Wollschleger’s work is published by Project Schott New York.

Distorted Attitudes IV/ Facile synthesis is the fourth piece in this cycle, which is an observation on various perspectives and mindsets in society, some of which we would describe as distorted.

Distortion is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of an object, image, sound, or waveform. Distortion is often unwanted; in some situations, however, it is desirable.

Distorted Attitudes IV/ Facile synthesis traces the integration of disparate traits, attitudes, and impulses to create a complete personality.

In short, the violins and the viola are becoming cello. They are on the one hand different shapes of a cello, and on the other hand, individual beings with their own characteristics and qualities.

The difference between their shapes has a vital influence on the quality of their sound. Within their own physical limitations, they embody individual attitudes even while following the same process towards a shared end result.

All the instruments are treated both as though they were one and as though they were different qualities of a scattered unity. The constituent elements of separate materials, sound qualities, and abstract entities will transform into a single unified entity. Struggling to unify, Facile synthesis challenges whether such reconciliations are possible.

“Anahita’s music is powerful and vigorous and consists of multiple layers. As it is also vivid from the titles of her works such as Dialogues, Situations, Distorted Attitudes, and etc; she investigates and gesticulate thoughts and feelings; At the same time it is manifestation/ observation of a scene or multiple scenes, which occur simultaneously; the content of which, however, never becomes more concrete, but remains delicate at the border. She has the tendency to take us with her music on a mystical, puzzling journey and leave us within our thoughts, to find out the “ ending” ourselves.”… ( Ernst. M. Binder)

Anahita Abbasi’s works have been performed around the world in various festivals such as: Darmstadt Ferienkurse, Ircam (Manifeste akademie), Matrix ( Experimental studio des SWR), Impuls festival, Time of music, Atlas festival and etc. In 2014, she received the work-scholarship from Experimentalstudio des SWR in Freiburg. The Recipient of 2015 Morton Gold ASCAP young composers award, is also nominated in 2017 as the “women composers of our time” along side with Kaja Saariaho and Isabel Mundry. She is one of the founders of Schallfeld Ensemble in Graz, Austria.

Anahita Abbasi graduated from the University of music and performing Arts Graz, Austria; where she studied music theory with Clemens Gadenstätter & composition with Beat Furrer and Pierluigi Billone; while working closely with Georges Aperghis, Franck Bedrossian and Philippe Leroux. Anahita is currently residing in San Diego and pursuing her Phd in Composition with Rand Steiger at the University of California San Diego.


Often initiated by images and ideas of abandoned places or things no longer used for their original purpose, Martin Stauning’s work centers on sound itself rather than as a representation of abstract ideas. Material economy is a distinctive trait in his musical language. Poetic sincerity and the absurd exist alongside each other as part of the same overall musical expression. “Atmende Steine” means “breathing stones”. Its eight short movements, played in quick succession, evoke an intimate and expressive sound world with an economy of means.

Originally educated and worked as a dancer at The Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, Martin holds a Postgraduate Advanced Diploma (Soloist) in Composition from The Royal Danish Academy of Music. Martin has counted among his teachers Hans Abrahamsen, Bent Sørensen and Niels Rosing-Schow.

Martin writes for any combination of instruments, with or without electronics, as well as working in sound performance and installation. Martin has written incidental music for plays and music for dance and theatre.

Martin is also an active performer and has performed works by John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Jeppe Ernst and himself.

Written about Martin's music:

"Stauning's music is characterized by an exquisite material economy, and [it] conveys a distinctive poetic fragility."

“The highly concentrated material in Martin Stauning’s Verdorrte Räume(2015) hits us with great power. Rarely does one experience an avantgarde piece in which the ingredients are so few and almost boiled down to a kind of concentrate.”

"The absurd also seems to appeal to Martin Stauning, as it appeared in his 'fragmented opera' At Night, Today. The characters 'The One' and 'The Other' statically sat opposite each other performing a little heated drama." Seismograf.org

"We remember with great pleasure Stauning in his own performance "Interventions" and wish that he will move even more into the theatrical world. We need a renewal of music drama!"

Until October 2014, Martin served as the chairman of UNM Denmark, the Danish branch of the pan-Nordic annual festival for young sound artists, Young Nordic Music.

Martin is the recipient of grants from among others Margrethe Axelsson Legat, Robert Russel's Memorial Grant and an artists residency from Dansk Tennis Fond.

Martin is the recipient of the Axel Borup-Jørgensen Composer Prize 2015 and was awarded a Léonie Sonning Schoarship in 2016. In 2016 Martin also received a grant from the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsens Legat.

  1. Aletheia
  2. Encomium
  3. Passagio
  4. Burial

SQ3 employs a unique notational structure, seamlessly shifting between traditional staff notation, graphic elements, spatial notation, and textual instruction, it is at once exacting and interpretive.  The work itself engages with the practices and rituals of mourning and redemption. Though not a work of program music, its four movements traverse a deeply dramatic and narrative arc, developing variation materials with almost ritualistic intensity. The first movement “Aletheia” builds itself around a counterpoint of vibrations, beginning with a dense cloud of trills, cross-fading in level, before dissolving and digging into the substance of the trill itself—an absolute difference, two root-less pitches, with no home or point of origin. Elements of density and noise enter in as the material qualities of the instruments themselves take priority over melody and pitch. An extended cadenza for first violin is set against a simple cadence in the supporting voices, an almost uncoiled tension-spring snapped atop a regular gait, a squeeze-box rhythm. "Encomium" emerges from silence into a slow unison of pitches, which are gradually pulled apart into microtonal differentiation, a bizarre and surprising eruption of rhythm arising from the clash of closely dislocated tones. This rhythmic impulse is carried across the rest of the movement, recapitulating and disfiguring materials from the first movement. The work closes with an abstract shape-based “Passagio” before the elegiac fourth movement. “Burial” is a haunting fugue, slowly intertwining a lament between the voices of the quartet before its sudden interruption and dislocation by a furious and virtuosic double cadenza for viola and cello closes the piece. The work is a meditation on death and ritual, but in the joy and passion of its execution, it is also an invitation to life, and to the primal urge to create anew. SQ3 was written for and premiered by the Mivos Quartet.

Described by The New Yorker magazine as one of the "prime movers of the local avant-garde", and an "exacting avant-classical guitarist" by TimeOut NY, Patrick Higgins is a New York based composer/performer of experimental music. Higgins has composed works for some of the nation's leading ensembles, ranging from chamber orchestra works, percussion cycles, and string quartets to smaller ensembles and soloists. He has scored works for television, museum exhibitions, and films both short-form and feature-length. Higgins plays guitar and composes in ZS, hailed by the New York Times as "one of the strongest avant-garde bands in New York."
As a soloist, he performs both classical acoustic and electric guitar in genre-bending contexts, utilizing extended technique and electronic processing. A work of "visionary [...] master-craftsmanship on guitar" (Tiny Mix Tapes), his record of quadraphonic guitar compositions STEREO was named to the Best of 2012 by Impose Magazine, and his electro-acoustic project Bachanalia has received numerous plaudits for its re-interpretation of the Baroque master's work. A unique double LP of Higgins' String Quartet No.2 and its electro-acoustic "remix" Glacia is out on Ex Cathedra Records - called "stunning" by Experimedia. Social Death Mixtape - a record of assorted experimental composition, is now available on NNA Records.

Patrick Higgins' music has been performed internationally in over 20 countries, including performances at some of the world's leading concert venues and music festivals: Unsound Festival (Poland), Merkin Concert Hall (Ecstatic Music Fest), Issue Project Room, Roulette, The Stone, 92Y Tribeca, (le) Poisson Rouge, Tribeca Film Festival, Big Ears Festival, ICA Boston, Hopscoth Festival, Club Unit (Tokyo), Vacant Gallery (Tokyo), Donau Festival (Austria), Incubate (Netherlands), Berghain (Germany), Magazin 4 (Belgium), Sonic (France), Puxian Grand Theater (China), Art Basel, The Queens Museum NY, Paula Cooper Gallery and many more.

Upcoming projects and collaborations include a new record of solo guitar and sampled percussion, a premiere of string quartet no.3 by the Mivos Quartet, a new long form composition for Vicky Chow, a forthcoming record of Bach's lute music, some hand-bound editions of scores, and an on-going project of nomadic symphonic works with Nuit Blanche NY.

Higgins will be on tour in Europe this November. Higgins is endorsed by Albert Augustine guitar strings

The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing the works of contemporary composers, and presenting new music to diverse audiences. Since the quartet's beginnings in 2008 they have performed and closely collaborated with an ever-expanding group of international composers who represent multiple aesthetics of contemporary classical composition. They have appeared on prestigious series such as the New York Phil Biennial, Wien Modern (Austria), the Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Germany), Asphalt Festival (Düsseldorf, Germany), HellHOT! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Shanghai New Music Week (Shanghai, China), Edgefest (Ann Arbor, MI), Música de Agora na Bahia (Brazil), Aldeburgh Music (UK), and Lo Spririto della musica di Venezia (La Fenice Theater, Italy). Mivos is invested in commissioning and premiering new music for string quartet, particularly in a context of close collaboration with composers over extended time-periods. Commissioning and premiering new music for string quartet is essential to the quartet's mission; recently Mivos has collaborated on new works with Sam Pluta (Lucerne Festival Commission), Dan Blake (Jerome Commission), Mark Barden (Wien Modern Festival Commission), Richard Carrick (Fromm Commission), George Lewis (ECLAT Festival Commission) Eric Wubbels (CMA Commission), Kate Soper, Scott Wollschleger, Patrick Higgins (ZS), and poet/musician Saul Williams.

In addition to their international performing activities, Mivos is active in education, and has conducted workshops at CUNY Graduate Center, Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Shanghai Conservatory (China), University Malaya (Malaysia), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), the Hong Kong Art Center, and MIAM University in Istanbul (Turkey). The quartet also runs the annual Mivos/Kanter String Quartet Composition Prize, established to support the work of emerging and mid-career composers and to encourage continued interest in new compositions for string quartet. The winning composer, selected from over one hundred and fifty applicants, receives a performance of their work in New York City on the Mivos Quartet concert season and a cash prize. In 2013 Mivos initiated a second competition for composers of Chinese descent, called the I-Creation Prize. This past spring, Mivos released their second ensemble album, entitled “Garden of Diverging Paths”

Beyond expanding the string quartet repertoire, Mivos is also committed to working with guest artists, exploring multi-media projects involving live video and electronics, creating original compositions and arrangements for the quartet, and performing improvised music. This has led to collaborations with artists such as Dan Blake, Ned Rothenberg, Chris Speed, Timucin Sahin, Saul Williams, and Nate Wooley.

The members of Mivos are: violinists Olivia De Prato and Lauren Cauley, violist Victor Lowrie, and cellist Mariel Roberts, each of whom are recognized individually as extraordinary voices in contemporary music, and perform frequently with leading new music ensembles including Ensemble Signal, Victoire, and Wet Ink.