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The Lost String Quartet
The Time In Children's Arts Initiative
New York, NY
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The Lost String Quartet

The Time In Childrens Arts Initiative
227 W. 29th Street, Studio 4R

With original music by Momenta violist/composer Stephanie Griffin
and theater direction by Mexican director Fernando Villa Proal

Based on the book THE LOST STRING QUARTET by N. M. Bodecker
Copyright © 1983 by N.M. Bodecker
Adapted for the stage by permission of Atheneum Books For Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Childrens Publishing Division. All rights reserved.

New York City's own Momenta Quartet, praised by The New York Times for its "diligence, curiosity, and excellence," is pleased to announce the world premiere of its first original show for children, The Lost String Quartet with music by Momentas own violist Stephanie Griffin and libretto and mise-en-scène by Mexican comedic actor and theater director Fernando Villa Proal. After giving eight semi-private performances for a total of four hundred inner city primary school kids under the auspices of the groundbreaking and life-changing non-profit, The Time In Childrens Arts Initiative, Momenta and Fernando Villa Proal will offer one free public performance for young people and the young at heart on Sunday, December 10th at 11am at The Time In Childrens Arts Initiative Gallery at 227 West 29th Street, NY, NY 10001.

Recognized by Steve Smith as one of the citys most inquisitive, accomplished violists (Time Out New York), Stephanie Griffin has been as active in the classical contemporary music scene as in New Yorks flourishing downtown experimental music and avant-jazz scenes. After over 20 years as a sought-after improviser and creative collaborator for numerous composers, Ms. Griffin has taken to composition herself. In her first three years as an active composer she has already won prestigious fellowship grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the Jerome Foundation. The Lost String Quartet was Ms. Griffins vision after purchasing N. M. Bodeckers whimsical book from a book vendor on Broadway over ten years ago.

Fernando Villa Proal is a young comedic actor, director and founder of Mexico Citys Efetres Teatro. He has performed his original works in Mexico, the United States and Spain, and has does extensive work with childrens theater, including his own childrens version of Shakespeares Henry V.

The Lost String Quartet recounts the many misadventures of a string quartet on its way to a concert on the other side of the mountain in mid-winter. The Momenta Quartet plays the members of the quartet as musicians and actors, and has been working with physical comedy coach Hilary Chaplain in preparation for the task. Mr. Villa Proal is the narrator and plays all the characters Momenta encounters on its troubled path.

As the story progresses, each instrument meets its own special demise, and Ms. Griffins score includes pieces for string quartet, solos for violin, viola and cello, and pieces combining the string instruments with the replacements picked up on the journey: a car door, oil pan, tire iron, and the special Bean-o-lin, Viola Constrictor and Tyre of Orpheus. Using the ebullient Finale of Mozarts String Quartet K. 387 as a point of departure, Ms. Griffin embarks on a playful musical journey that references a wide assortment of highlights from the classical canon, among them Beethovens Spring and Moonlight sonatas, Vivaldis Winter, Brahms Hungarian Dances and Mendelssohns Violin Concerto, to name only a few.  

Through this project Ms. Griffin and Mr. Proal are innovating an unusual performance medium. Neither a play nor a string quartet concert, the piece treats musical performance as theater and theater as a necessary element of musical expression, all the while aiming to delight children and their adult counterparts. This family-friendly event is free of charge and open to audiences of all ages.

The Lost String Quartet is made possible through grants from New Music USA, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), The Alice M. Ditson Fund, The Amphion Foundation and Aaron Copland Fund for Music; and composition fellowship grants from the Jerome Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

Momenta Quartet
Emilie-Anne Gendron and Alex Shiozaki, violins
Stephanie Griffin, viola; Michael Haas, cello

Momenta: the plural of momentum  four individuals in motion towards a common goal. This is the idea behind the Momenta Quartet, whose eclectic vision encompasses contemporary music of all aesthetic backgrounds alongside great music from the recent and distant past.  The New York City-based quartet has premiered over 150 works, collaborated with over 200 living composers and was praised by The New York Times for its diligence, curiosity and excellence. In the words of The New Yorkers Alex Ross, few American players assume Haydns idiom with such ease.

The quartet came into being in November 2004, when composer Matthew Greenbaum invited violist Stephanie Griffin to perform Mario Davidovskys String Trio for events celebrating Judaism and Culture at New Yorks Symphony Space and Temple University in Philadelphia. A residency through the composition department at Temple University ensued, and the rehearsals and performances were so satisfying that the players decided to form a quartet. Through this residency, Momenta gave two annual concerts highlighting the talents of Temple University student composers alongside 20th-century masterworks and works from the classical canon, and repeated the programs at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. From the outset, Momenta treated all music equally, devoting as much time, care and commitment to the student works as to the imposing musical monuments.

Word of Momentas passionate advocacy for emerging composers spread quickly. Composers started inviting Momenta for similar concerts and residencies at other academic institutions, among them Cornell, Columbia and Yeshiva Universities; the Boston and Cincinnati Conservatories; and the Eastman School of Music. In 2008 the quartet won its first major commission grant from the Koussevitzky Foundation for Malaysian composer Kee Yong Chong, and since received a second Koussevitzky grant for Bolivian composer Agustín Fernández. Deeply committed to the musical avant-garde of the developing world, Momenta has been an indispensable advocate for many international composers.  In addition to world premieres by Chong and Fernández, Momenta has premiered and championed the works of Tony Prabowo (Indonesia), Cergio Prudencio (Bolivia) and Hana Ajiashvili (Georgia). Upcoming adventures include a project to perform and record all thirteen string quartets by Mexican microtonal maverick Julián Carrillo (1875-1965) over the next three years.  

Momenta has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonians Freer Gallery, the Rubin Museum, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Cincinnati, Washington University, and at the internationally renowned Cervantino Festival in Mexico and Ostrava New Music Days in the Czech Republic. The quartet has recorded for Centaur Records, Furious Artisans, PARMA, New World Records, and Albany Records; and has been broadcast on WQXR, Q2 Music, Austrias Oe1, and Vermont Public Radio. The quartets debut album, Similar Motion, is available on Albany Records.


The Time In Children's Arts Initiative (View)
227 W. 29th Street, Studio 4R
New York, NY 10001
United States



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