Thank you for including Momenta in your year-end giving plans!
It’s been one week since we launched our fundraising campaign, and we are truly grateful for the donations received thus far, which have brought us nearly halfway to our $10,000 goal. Your fully tax-deductible contribution will fund Momenta’s next CD project, a diverse collection of modern American chamber works bearing personal significance to the quartet. (And for those of you who donated to last year’s campaign for the now-postponed Momenta Festival VI: those funds are set aside for as soon as it is safe and realistic to plan for the next in-person festival. We will also be doing a special bonus “Virtual Momenta Festival” in June. We will keep you posted on that front!)
Our next album is intended to be a current snapshot of the vast and varied American musical landscape, as reflected in our group’s own unique personal repertoire. The album will consist of premiere recordings of works by Elizabeth Brown, Jason Kao Hwang, Shawn Jaeger, Yusef Lateef, and Roberto Sierra, the focus of this week’s e-blast.
Roberto Sierra’s name should ring familiar to anyone who attended my curated evenings on Momenta Festivals IV and V, which featured his second and third quartets respectively. Momenta has performed Sierra’s music across the USA and internationally in locales as far-flung as Cochabamba, Bolivia. The quartet came to know him through his longtime teaching base of Cornell University, where we have been collaborating with the composition and ethnomusicology departments and performing for over a decade. He is lauded as one of today’s leading American composers, with major commissions from international orchestras and ensembles.
To me, Sierra’s musical vocabulary is the embodiment of a melting pot in the deeply American sense of forging a new, original identity from widely divergent sources. His music is infused with a range of elements, from the Afro-Caribbean and popular rhythms drawn from the sights and sounds of his native Puerto Rico, all the way to the compositional tools gathered from his rigorous formal training in conservatories both in Puerto Rico and across Europe. (During his time at Hamburg’s Hochschule für Musik in the 1970s, one of his most influential teachers was the eminent György Ligeti–who, in true melting-pot spirit, actually credited Sierra with influencing his own music by introducing him to Afro-Caribbean drumming.)
Momenta’s album will include Sierra’s action-packed Cuarteto para cuerdas No. 3, dedicated to us and completed in 2019. We premiered it on last year’s Momenta Festival V to enthusiastic acclaim by both audience and press, who described the work as “sublimely shapeshifting, relentlessly bustling” (Lucid Culture) and “a brilliantly constructed contiguous whole that leaves the listener metaphorically breathless” (Blogcritics). Thanks in no small part to this piece, New York Music Daily even named this night of the Momenta Festival (along with the preceding opening night curated by our violist Stephanie) among the 30 best NYC concerts of 2019.
Here’s a sneak peek at the explosive first movement (aptly named Rápido) of Roberto Sierra’s Cuarteto para cuerdas No. 3. This is from our world-premiere performance on the Momenta Festival V at the Americas Society in NYC on October 16, 2019.
With your help, we can bring to life this meaningful new album that celebrates five richly diverse recent American contributions, by way of Momenta, to contemporary chamber music. Our goal is to raise $10,000 by the stroke of midnight on December 31. All of your donations will be fully tax-deductible through our fiscal conduit, The Field.
We thank all of you for your continued support!
All the best,