The pioneering contemporary music ensemble Sirius Quartet will present a genre-defying performance of masterful original compositions and exquisite interpretations of popular music at the Moss Arts Center on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.
Making labels like “new music” sound tame, members of the innovative quartet create bold, original works, pushing beyond the conventional vocabulary of string instruments. They incorporate popular song forms, gripping improvisations, extended techniques, and undeniable contemporary grooves.
With its newest program, “New World,” Sirius investigates the personal and political challenges of life in the 21st century with original compositions and covers that reflect on today’s uncertainty and instability while, in the end, leaving the audience with a feeling of hope.
Violinist Gregor Huebner’s award-winning composition “New World Nov. 9 2016” is the stunning centerpiece of the program. Contrasting idyllic, hopeful themes of Dvořák’s Largo from “New World Symphony” with the ferocity of Shostakovich’s String Quartet no. 8, Huebner encapsulates changing attitudes towards the immigrant experience in America.
Violinist Fung Chern Hwei’s “Beside the Point” and Huebner’s “#Still” — based on the song “Strange Fruit,” composed by Abel Meeropol and made more well known by Billie Holiday — confront the ever-present specter of racism that plagues society. With two recent immigrant violinists, the quartet feels — individually and as a group — it is more important than ever to create art that impacts communities and the world at large.
Exciting energy bursts from Huebner’s “Duda,” which is based on the tango clave and inspired by Argentinian tango nuevo, while Jeremy Harman’s “Paths Become Lines” is inspired by the time the musician split between cello/classical music and playing guitar in metal and hardcore bands when he was growing up.
Also included in the performance are two arrangements by Huebner — Radiohead’s “Knives Out” and the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”
During their visit to Blacksburg, members of the quartet will conduct a music improvisation workshop for string students in Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Arts.
Tickets are $20-45 for the general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
While Virginia Tech students can always attend any Moss Arts Center performance for only $10, the center also offers free last-minute rush tickets for students who sign up for text notifications. To receive these notifications, text “arts” to 31996. Availability of the rush tickets varies by performance, and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last in the box office. Virginia Tech ID will be required for admission.
Parking will be available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.