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The Grammy Award-Winning Attacca Quartet Challenges Our Preconception of The String Quartet

Attacca Photo Credit David Goddard (color).jpg
David Goddard

Melony Dodson talks with violinist, Dominic Salerni, of the Attacca Quartet, who performs three sets at Big Ears Festival 2022

The Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet came together while Juilliard School students in 2003. The members of the group have changed a little over the years, but two of the founding members remain: violinist, Amy Schroeder and cellist, Andrew Yee. Violist Nathan Schram joined in 2015 and violinist, Dominic Salerni joined in 2020.

The musical term attacca means to "keep playing and not to stop"...to "begin the next thing without pause"...and that seems to describe the quartet quite well, as they've taken on many challenging projects over the years, including performing all of the string quartets by Beethoven and recording and performing all sixty-eight of Haydn's String Quartets...a project that violinist, Dominc Salerni, says "changed their sound."

They have worked with living composers as well, collaborating with Caroline Shaw on their 2019 Grammy Award-winning album Orange. They recently signed with Sony Classical and in 2021, recorded two contrasting albums: Real Life, a reimagining of electronic music for string quartet, and Of All Joys, which features music by Arvo Part, John Dowland, Philip Glass, Gregorio Allegri, and others...showing the similarities between old and modern music.

The Attacca Quartet will perform Real Life, in its entirety, at Big Ears 2022 on opening night, March 24th. A performance with vocalist Eliza Bagg follows on the 25th, featuring a new song cycle by Ellis Ludwig-Leone. Lastly, they will be joined by Caroline Shaw on Saturday, March 26th, for a performance of Orange, as well as a few new compositions that will be featured on the quartet's next recording of music by Shaw.

More information and a complete schedule for Big Ears Festival 2022 can be found at https://bigearsfestival.org/

Watch the official music video for the title track of Real Life here:

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