It's always a thrill to witness a world premiere of a new work by a prominent composer, and next week's performance by the St. Lawrence String Quartet offers just that. In an ongoing series at Stanford's Bing Concert Hall to celebrate the quartet's 25th anniversary, a clear highlight is the Jan. 18 unveiling of John Adams' Second Quartet.
Adams and the St. Lawrence share a fruitful relationship dating back to the composer's first quartet, which was given a West Coast premiere and recording for Nonesuch Records by the quartet. The St. Lawrence also premiered Adams' Absolute Jest with the San Francisco Symphony during the symphony's centennial season.
As for what audiences can expect of the new work—performed in a program alongside Haydn and Beethoven—Adams sounds a note of experimentation.
"What I appreciate about my friends in the St. Lawrence is their willingness to let me literally ‘improvise’ on them as if they were a piano or a drum, and I a crazy man beating away with only the roughest outlines of what I want," Adams says. "They will go the distance with me, allow me to try and fail, and they will indulge my seizures of doubt, frustration and indecision, all the while providing intuitions and frequently brilliant suggestions of their own."
Tickets to the performance, priced at $35–$75, are available here.