JACK Quartet

Lachenmann | Xenakis III | Lim II

Do strings store information? This is the idea that inspired Liza Lim’s latest string quartet “String Creatures”, which is now given its German premiere at Musikfest Berlin by the JACK Quartet. The musicians also function as a multiple body connected by the sound of their strings in Helmut Lachenmann’s “Grido” and Iannis Xenakis’s “Tetras”.

The composer uses a pencil to write in a large score on the wall.

Die Komponistin schreibt mit Bleistift in einer große Partitur an der Wand.

© Ricordi Berlin

Past Dates

“The string has something magical about it as a material object,” says the composer Liza Lim about the thin strands of thread, gut, hair, metal or plastic that are spanned across a resonant body in or-der to make them vibrate. Every action inscribes itself into the material. The string forgets nothing. No wonder that the Australian calls her new quartet “String Creatures”. “The piece and the musi-cians are one organism: this consists of a number of bodies, each with their own consciousness and their own desires.” Helmut Lachenmann also thinks of the quartet as a multiple body. He composes a shout for the four strings, indicating it with the Italian word “grido”. Noises and energies form mel-odies, but also clouds and surfaces. In his quartet, first performed in 2001, the composer from Stuttgart creates a world in which the four instruments, bodies and souls enter a symbiosis in which the number of players, while clear, may not be distinguishable by listening. By contrast, the Greek word “tetra” means four. Iannis Xenakis dispatches the quartet on flightpaths beyond the graduated world of scales. The lines he traces are futuristic arcs, just like the spectacular buildings he de-signed as an engineer and assistant to the architect Le Corbusier.

Concert Programme

Helmut Lachenmann (*1935)
String Quartet No. 3 (2000/2001)

Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2001)
for string quartet (1983)

Liza Lim (*1966)
String Creatures
for string quartet (2022)
Commissioned by Lucerne Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre and Miller Theatre at Columbia University
German Premiere


JACK Quartet
Christopher Otto violin
Austin Wulliman violin
John Pickford Richards viola
Jay Campbell cello

The JACK Quartet's performance is supported in part by Mid Atlantic Arts through USArtists International, a programme in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.
Logo Mid Atlantic Arts

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event