String quartet and steel pan? It’s an awesome combination, but we don’t really need to tell you that…
San Francisco-based Friction Quartet was recently in Seattle for a residency at Cornish College of the Arts and their friend, composer and steel pan virtuoso Andy Akiho, joined them at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center for one of Second Inversion’s video shoots. This piece, In/Exchange, is Andy’s first composition for string quartet and steel pan.
Andy is a virtuoso steel pan player, and just as many composers would write on the piano, thinking about structure and harmony and translating it to other instruments, he relates his music back to the steel pan. This instrument has incredible timbres and melodic possibilities and In/Exchange is a perfect example of relating those possibilities to the string quartet. By doing so, Andy takes both the steel pan and the string quartet to places they have never been before.
In/exchange was commissioned by the Ethel String Quartet and the Jerome foundation, and premiered in Merkin Hall in New York City as part of the Tribeca New Music Festival.