April 07, 2011


By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Weis Center at Bucknell will host a concert by ETHEL — acclaimed as America's premier post-classical string quartet — with Native American flutist Robert Mirabal as guest artist, on Friday, April 15, at 8 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University.

"ETHEL has become extremely popular in New York and around the world for its edgy approach to modern music, boldly infusing contemporary concert music with fierce intensity. The group challenges boundaries of all kinds," said Bill Boswell, executive director of the Weis Center.

"One of ETHEL's fascinating current collaborations is with Native American flutist Robert Mirabal, and I considered us very lucky to be able to snag a performance of this extraordinary evening. It is a great way to close the Weis Center season with all the immediate and historical connections to music of European, Native American, and even other cultural traditions."

The concert program includes, besides music by Mirabal and the members of ETHEL, works by John Luther Adams, Terry Riley, Marcello Zarvos, Anna Milosavljevic and Eve Beglarian.

Adventurous music
Formed in 1998 in New York, ETHEL includes Juilliard-trained violinists Cornelius Dufallo and Mary Rowell, violist Ralph Farris, and cellist Dorothy Lawson.

The quartet performs adventurous music of the past four decades, with emphasis on works composed since 1995. Their repertoire includes self-composed works as well as works by such luminaries as Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, John Zorn, Steve Reich, JacobTV, David Lang and Mary Ellen Childs.

ETHEL tours the world, appearing on stages as varied as Venice Biennale, Sydney Opera House, Ravinia, TED, Lincoln Center, Holland's TROMP Festival, Kennedy Center, FIAC in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Highlights of recent seasons include the world premieres of Phil Kline's "SPACE" at the gala reopening of Alice Tully Hall; "ETHEL Fair: The Songwriters" at opening night of Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival; "WAIT FOR GREEN" with choreography by Annie-B Parson, commissioned by arts>World Financial Center; new collaborative works with both Merce Cunningham Dance and Arena Dances companies; and a commissioned original live film score for "Celebrate Brooklyn!"

Other highlights include performances at the annual TED Conference; the TROMP Festival with Colin Currie and Todd Rundgren; Merkin Hall as part of "New Sounds Live: ETHEL Plays JacobTV"; Jazz at Lincoln Center's Allen Room, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival, where ETHEL is Ensemble-in-Residence with the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project.

Robert Mirabal
Two-time Grammy winner Robert Mirabal lives with his family at the foot of sacred Taos Mountain in northern New Mexico.

Maintaining a traditional life, keeping the centuries-old customs of the Taos Pueblo people, he has been described as a Native American "Renaissance man" — musician, composer, painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman and farmer — and travels extensively playing his music all over the world.

He bought his first flute when he was 18 with money he borrowed from his grandmother. Shortly afterwards he had the opportunity to meet Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai, who greatly influenced him.

In the years since, he has continued the evolution of his flute-making and also has become a concert performer and recording artist, with a dozen albums of traditional music, rock 'n' roll, and spoken word. A leading proponent of world music, Mirabal has merged his indigenous American sound with those of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

A composer, songwriter and musician, he has won many honors, including two-time Native American Artist of the Year, three-time Songwriter of the Year, a 2006 Grammy Award for "Sacred Ground," and his 2008 Grammy for "Johnny Whitehorse Totemic Flute Chants."

Ticket information
Tickets for the performance are $20 per person. Discounts for senior citizens and students are available.

Tickets for Weis Center series performances are available in person from the Campus Box Office in the Weis Center weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; from the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University bookstore box office in Lewisburg, weekdays and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 12:30 to 4 p.m.; or the Campus Activities and Programs office on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Advance tickets also are available online or by calling 570-577-1000. The box office in the Weis Center lobby opens one hour before performances.

The 2010-11 season of Weis Center Events is generously supported by grants from the Bucknell University Association for the Arts and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support for the series is provided by numerous and generous private donors, including members of the Weis Center Green Room Circle and Green Room Board.

Contact: Division of Communications
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