Three more days to support Momenta in 2020!

Thank you for supporting Momenta’s new album!

Momenta Quartet practicing social distancing pre-2020; photo by Nana Shi

Dear friends,

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated towards our next album. We’re more than halfway to our goal of raising $10,000 by the end of the year! If you would like to help us in supporting new music and living composers, please visit our fiscal sponsor, The Field, to make a fully tax-deductible donation. (For those in Canada having trouble completing a donation online through the Field, please email momenta@momentaquartet.com for instructions to donate by mail.)


Since live concerts are few and far between these days we are thankful to still be able to work together as a quartet and are also very excited to send this music out into the world for you. Our new album will include recent works by American composers Roberto Sierra, Elizabeth Brown, Jason Kao Hwang, Yusef Lateef, and Shawn Jaeger. If you have attended our annual Momenta Festival in New York you might already be familiar with a few of the pieces we plan to record. Jason Kao Hwang’s If We Live in Forgetfulness, We Die in a Dream and Roberto Sierra’s Cuarteto para cuerdas No. 3 were both written for Momenta and performed on the most recent festival in 2019. Also on the CD is String Quartet No. 3 by the late great Yusef Lateef, which was premiered at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York on the first-ever Momenta Festival in 2015.

Performing at the Tenri Cultural Institute for the 2019 Momenta Festival; photo by Nana Shi
Shawn Jaeger; photo by Arthur Moeller

One work that may be less familiar to Momenta audiences is Shawn Jaeger’s Thy Wondering Eyes, written in 2010. Based in Brooklyn, Shawn has made a name for himself through numerous commissions (Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Bard College Conservatory, the American Composers Forum, Jerome Foundation, the BMI Foundation/Concert Artists Guild, Chamber Music America) and through his teaching at the Bard College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division, Tufts University, Princeton University (as a 2016-18 Princeton Arts Fellow), Brown University, and The New School. His music often engages Appalachian folksong, field recording, and creative placemaking.

We met Shawn last year while he was visiting faculty at Brown University and performed Thy Wondering Eyes twice, as part of our 2019 residencies at Brown and Bates College. We were immediately drawn to the piece, which is inspired by Old Regular Baptist hymnals from central Appalachia. These hymnals contain only words; the melodies are transmitted orally with slight variations depending on who sings them. Shawn’s writing in this piece is appropriately vocal, but often more spoken and gestural than sung. He layers the different voices on top of one another building up to a series of wild and frenzied climaxes. You can watch our performance of Thy Wondering Eyes at Brown University on YouTube:

Momenta Quartet performs Shawn Jaeger’s Thy Wondering Eyes

We are very excited to present this piece on our upcoming album. With your support we have been able to continue making music even during this most challenging year, and plan to keep going into the future!


Thank you for your support and Happy New Year,