Praised for its "explosive virtuosity" by the Boston Globe and its "powerhouse-playing" by the Chicago Sun-Times, the JACK Quartet has quickly established a reputation for giving high-energy performances of today's most demanding works for string quartet. The New York Times called the quartet's performance of Iannis Xenakis' complete string quartets one of the "most memorable classical music presentations of 2008," and in 2009, the quartet received an ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.
- Jeff Myers (b. 1977): Dopamine (written for JACK) -listen-
- Matthias Pintscher (b. 1971): Study IV for Treatise on the Veil (U.S. premiere)
- Aaron Cassidy (b. 1976): String Quartet -listen-
- Wolfgang Rihm (b. 1952): String Quartet No. 3, Im Innersten
Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland, the JACK Quartet has performed at Carnegie Hall (USA), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Germany), and the Festival Internacional Chihuahua (Mexico) with future appearances at the Miller Theatre (USA), the Library of Congress (USA) and the Donaueschinger Musiktage (Germany).
The commissioning and performance of new works for string quartet is integral to the JACK Quartet's mission, leading them to work closely with composers Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Matthias Pintscher, Toshio Hosokawa, Wolfgang Rihm, Elliott Sharp, Beat Furrer, and Aaron Cassidy. Upcoming premieres include works by Caleb Burhans, Peter Ablinger, and Alan Hilario.
The quartet has lead workshops with young composers at Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Victoria, and the University of Washington. In addition to working with composers and performers, the JACK Quartet seeks to broaden and diversify the potential audience for new music through educational presentations designed for a variety of ages, backgrounds, and levels of musical experience.
The members of the quartet met while attending the Eastman School of Music, and they have since studied closely with the Arditti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Muir String Quartet, and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.