The Corwin Chair presents the Formalist Quartet

Event Date: 

Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 4:30pm

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • Karl Geiringer Hall (UCSB)

Event Price: 

Admission is free

Event Contact: 

Adriane Hill
Marketing and Communications Manager
UC Santa Barbara Department of Music
(805) 893-3230

Formalist Quartet

The Corwin Chair will present the Los Angeles-based Formalist Quartet on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. in Karl Geiringer Hall. The program will include world premieres of works by UCSB graduate composers Brandon Rolle, Marc Evans, Mason Hock, Rodney DuPlessis, Heena Yoon, and Nick Norton

The Formalist Quartet is an ensemble dedicated to the performance of adventurous repertoire focusing on contemporary pieces and world premieres as well as exploring a diverse spectrum of early music and the standard repertoire. The quartet was born on the 100th birthday of Dmitri Shostakovich (September 25th, 2006) and since then has been playing frequently across the United States in concert halls, festivals, art galleries, cafes, and homes, including the Roy O. Disney Hall at CalArts; REDCAT at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; the Wulf, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; Stanford University; University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; the Flatfile Galleries, Chicago; University of Nevada, Reno; Cornelia Street Cafe, New York; MOSA Concert Series, New York; Princeton University; the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts; the Villa Aurora, Pacific Palisades; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; LISTEN/SPACE, New York; Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington DC; ArtSpace Herndon, Virginia; Villa Aurora, Pacific Palisades; and the Et Cetera New Music Festival. In 2010 the quartet appeared at the Reykjavík Arts Festival, Iceland. Their recordings include the epic 100 Cadences of Arthur Jarvinen, music for several small films and pop records, and Kristian Ireland’s "Clearing" on the <541> series through Innova records. This season the quartet is looking forward to performances throughout Southern CA as they celebrate their 5th anniversary.

Andrew Tholl violin (UCSB faculty member)
Mark Menzies violin/viola
Andrew McIntosh violin/viola
Ashley Walters cello

Learn more about the Formalist Quartet at


Brandon Rolle - Sovrimpressione
Sovrimpressione is a composition exploring the textures that result from overlaying two different perspectives simultaneously. The procedure is analogous to the double-exposure in photography: Each texture—one distant and broad, the other intricately animated—moves at its own pace, alternating fore- and background as a result of their relative intensities or brightness. Like its visual analog, the most interesting moments are those in which the resulting composite is something completely new, greater than and yet foreign to its summative parts.
Heena Yoon - Penguin, Penguin
Composed in hope of helping counteract climate change. Dedicated to the Formalist Quartet and Repengur. "If all glaciers melt away by global warming, what would happen?"
Nick Norton - Light Delays
*Light Delays* is simultaneously inspired by my love of delay pedals and my love of astronomy. I wanted to see what would happen if I turned three members of the string quartet into a very complicated delay pedal for the cellist. Every note the cello plays is echoed eight times throughout the rest of the quartet, sometimes with modifications, until the ending, when the cellist starts trying out new material as if she's improvising with her own echoes. As I got writing, I happened to update my phone’s operating system, which resulted in receiving text message conversations out of order in an incredibly annoying way. This got me thinking about the delay in communications between, say, the earth and its satellites and astronauts, and the new logistics conversations will necessarily evolve to adapt to a 30 minute round trip for spoken messages between Mars and Earth.
Mason Hock - the whirl of heaven
The nearer stars are to the earth, the more slowly they are moved by the whirl of heaven.
Rodney Duplessis - quinto suono
Marc Evans - Spatial Ice

UCSB Graduate Composers

Brandon RolleBorn and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley, composer Brandon J. Rolle’s music embodies a spirit of innovation: Fueled by curiosity but informed by classical and experimental musical traditions, his works employ a singular language that investigates points of connection between old and new, structure and chaos, perception and deception.  His diverse output has been performed across the United States and Europe and includes orchestral, electro-acoustic and acousmatic music, as well as  original interactive computer instruments, intermedia works and installations. Outside of his compositional work, Rolle is an active conductor, orchestrator and copyist/ editor, and audio programmer.
Rolle started his musical career as a jazz guitarist, a background that influenced his experimental and collaborative approach to music-making. His interdisciplinary research interests led him to pursue dual degrees in music and rhetoric (B.A., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo) and then onto graduate study in composition at the experimental music program at Mills College. While at Mills, Rolle’s artistic voice was deeply influenced by his work with maverick composers Roscoe Mitchell and Pauline Oliveros, as well as by his exploration of computer programming, audio synthesis, and the American Experimental tradition. Today, Rolle is based out of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is a PhD candidate in music composition, the 2017-2018 Composition Associate, and a student of Clarence Barlow and Joel Feigin. Rolle's musical scores are published by  Precious Noise Music. Learn more at
Marc Evans (photo by Francesca Hilditch)Marc Evans is a composer currently residing in the Santa Barbara area. He has won numerous awards, including the 2015 Bowdoin International Music Festival Composition Contest, and has collaborated with artists such as Ignition Duo, Hocket Duo, and Now Hear Ensemble. A musician and composer since a young age, he chose to pursue his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where he studied with Jaros?aw Kapu?ci?ski. Following up on his strong interest in computers and interactivity, he then continued on at Stanford with a master's degree in Music, Science and Technology. Marc is currently the recipient of a Chancellor's graduate fellowship at UC Santa Barbara, where he is working on his PhD dissertation and studying composition with Professors Clarence Barlow, Joel Feigin, and Curtis Roads. In addition to composing, Marc is also a pianist, and has been fortunate to study with Thomas Schultz at Stanford and Charles Asche at UC Santa Barbara. He would like to extend profound gratitude to all of the above-mentioned teachers, who have contributed immeasurably to his musical thought and understanding. Marc is serving as the Artistic Director of this year's UCSB Summer Music Festival. Learn more at Photo by Francesca Hilditch


Mason Hock
Mason Hock is a composer and guitarist. He is currently pursuing an MA/PhD in composition at UC Santa Barbara, where he has studied with Clarence Barlow and Joel Feigin. Prior to that, he studied composition and mathematics at Chapman University, where he studied with Jeffrey Holmes, Dominique Schafer, Vera Ivanova, Sean Heim, and Shaun Naidoo, in addition to studying classical guitar under Jeff Cogan. In 2015, he participated in The Etchings Festival in Auvillar, France, where he studied with Franck Bedrossian and worked with Nicholas Isherwood and the ECCE ensemble. Since 2015, he has worked as Assistant Director for MicroFest. Learn more at
Rodney DuPlessis (courtesy photo)
Rodney DuPlessis is a Canadian-born composer currently making noise at UC Santa Barbara, where he is studying with Clarence Barlow, Curtis Roads, and Andrew Tholl. Previously, he studied music and psychology at St. Thomas University (New Brunswick, Canada) under the mentorship of Argentinian composer Martín Kutnowski. Rodney’s background is in incidental music for theatre, progressive metal, and video game music. Currently, his main research and composition interests are microtonality, spectralism, and granular synthesis.
[Muwon] Heena Yoon

The meaning of her name, Boundless Brilliant Beauty, is the reason why [Muwon] Heena Yoon composes. To realize her artistic goal, she bridges between dots through her composition: "Ho’oponopono" is a bridge of memories, sound, and dance movement; "B" dance or spoken word and piano; "From Your Old Bookshelves" theater, dance, and literature quotes; "Pathya Vat" Cambodian folk songs and contemporary choir-writing; "Have Fun!" Balinese gamelan music materials and western instruments; "Bridge II" flute and nay (middle Eastern wood flute); "Prayer" poem, folk-like vocal melody, and non-folk-like accompaniment, to name a few. As a researcher of music and dance, she is developing interdisciplinary teaching for composers and choreographers.


Nick Norton (photo by Lindsey Best)
Nick Norton is – like you – made from materials forged in the cores of stars. The composer/guitarist/concert- producer was born in Los Angeles approximately 13.6 billion years after the universe and has been making music ever since. He is deeply interested in the colorful grey areas between genres, creating new experiences for listeners, and destroying social barriers to enjoying music. Nick really enjoys craft beer, sci fi, and being near or in the ocean, and holds degrees from UC San Diego and King’s College London. He is currently pursuing his PhD in composition from UC Santa Barbara. Learn more at nickwritesmusic.comPhoto by Lindsey Best


Formalist Quartet