Del Sol Quartet - Composing in Place Composition Workshop (May 31-June 14)

May 11, 2020, 3:41 PM · I received an email from Ben Kreith of the Del Sol Quartet asking me to share the group's Composing in Place Composition Workshop they are offering! As a violinist and composer myself, it looks like an incredible opportunity to make music virtually with other string players, and is similar to a piece I am currently finishing up at UIUC to be performed by a colleague and myself. You don't have to define yourself as a composer to be a part of this: it's a way to try out writing your own music, and playing music by others.

Here is a link to their website if you are interested in finding out more: Click here!

And here I have copied the press release.

Press contact: Jonah Gallagher, Managing Associate, Del Sol String Quartet
(630) 815 9363 |

You may also contact Ben Kreith (, violinist, Del Sol Quartet.

Del Sol Quartet Facilitates Grass-roots Creative Exchange
through Composing-in-Place Workshop
Registration for second session open through May 29
Workshop runs: May 31-June 14

Del Sol Quartet recently concluded an innovative workshop that provides amateur musicians with new possibilities for musical growth and human interaction. Now they are expanding the model on a national level. “We realized that so many people were missing the musical, social and spiritual satisfaction they usually find making music together,” explains Del Sol cellist Kathryn Bates, “Composing In Place addresses this need in a wildly successful way.”

The program has two main components – a solo composition ‘not-so-secret Santa’ and a collaboratively composed string quartet. After receiving a ‘composer starter kit,’ participants had one week create original solo pieces. Once the completed pieces were redistributed, the participants learned and performed one-another’s compositions. Del Sol Quartet and guest composer Jonah Gallagher guided the process on Zoom sessions ranging from full group discussions to private lessons. For many participants, hearing their first compositions performed by enthusiastic colleagues was a joyous fulfillment of their desire to create and communicate. One participant, shared afterwards “Chamber music is all about building bridges between musicians, but this workshop showed me a new type of bridge -- between composer and player.”

“For the collaborative composition, we were inspired by a game Lou Harrison, John Cage, and Virgil Thompson used to play,” says Bates. “Someone writes a few measures, folds over the corner so only the end is showing and mails it on to the next composer to continue. The Surrealists called this a cadavre exquis - we prefer Lou Harrison’s title, Party Piece.” The Composing In Place party piece will be professionally engraved, printed and sent out to participants. Del Sol will make a first recording with the hope that the composers can soon bring the collaborative composition to their first rehearsals of a post-restrictions world, and enjoy sharing their music in person.

In the meantime, the Quartet is launching its second session of the workshop, encouraged by the impact of the first session. As Adam, another participant, describes: “Del Sol saw this awful situation and somehow extracted from it this beautiful opportunity to extend creativity, sensitivity, and community.”

More about Del Sol Quartet
Del Sol began as a thought on the night shift at Fermilab. Charlton Lee loved the cutting edge of physics research – always looking for the next discovery, pushing boundaries. But he missed the way music connected people, building community by communicating in ways physics never would. What if he could bring that scientific passion for exploration to a string quartet? Twenty-six years later, Del Sol is still sharing music that brings out the endorphins. Music that asks why not Fascinated by the feedback loop between social change, technology, and artistic innovation, the San Francisco-based ensemble is a leading force in 21st century chamber music - whether introducing Ben Johnston’s microtonal Americana at the Library of Congress, taking Aaron Garcia’s gun-violence memorial to the streets of the Mission District, exploring Andean soundscapes with Gabriela Lena Frank and traditional musicians, or collaborating with Huang Ruo and the anonymous poets who scratched their words into the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station during the years of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The current Del Sol lineup, marked by the arrival of violinist Sam Weiser alongside mainstays Kathryn Bates and Ben Kreith, bring a fresh energy, freedom, and precision to the group.

Recognized as a “vigorous champion of living composers”, Del Sol has premiered well over 100 works by composers including Terry Riley, Gabriela Lena Frank, Frederic Rzewski, Ben Johnston, Chinary Ung, Mason Bates, Tania León, Erberk Eryilmaz, Theresa Wong, Reza Vali, Mohammed Fairouz and Peter Sculthorpe. Many of these works are included on Del Sol’s nine critically-acclaimed albums. PopMatters praised Del Sol’s “unfettered mastery” on Terry Riley’s Dark Queen Mantra (2017, Sono Luminus). Scrapyard Exotica (2015) elicited this rave in the New York Times. “I could be wrong, but I’m guessing it’s been a while since you’ve rocked out to a string quartet recording. See if your foot can stay still once you put on this funky disc of rhythmically infectious (if often warped) music played by the adventurous Del Sol String Quartet.”


This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine