Only Ever Us (2021)
50 For The Future:
The Kronos Learning
“This piece is an excuse to gather. It is a reason to know someone better and a chance to share a moment with them. It is an opportunity to listen, chat, and perhaps consider that in this us-versus-them world, we are free to redraw the boundary of us at any time to include more them."
About the instrumentation:
Any rendition of Only Ever Us should include, at the minimum, four ‘requisite’ parts: Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola 1, and Violoncello 1. This quartet formation may either perform alone or augment itself with any combination of ‘auxiliary’ parts (Violin 3, Viola 2, and/or Violoncello 2) to form one of many possible quintet, sextet, or septet configurations—each with its own perspective and unique musical interactions.
Paul Wiancko, a composer for Kronos' Fifty for the Future, discusses his musical background, his composition process, the piece he wrote for Fifty for the Future, and more.
Paul Wiancko was recently featured in The Washington Post’s “22 for ‘22: Composers and Performers to Watch” and called “a restless and multifaceted talent who plays well with others,” a reference to Paul’s collaborations with artists ranging from Max Richter, Nico Muhly, Chick Corea, and Norah Jones to members of the Emerson, Guarneri, JACK, and Kronos Quartets--to bands like Arcade Fire, The National, Dirty Projectors, and Wye Oak. “Even with this chronically collaborative spirit,” the Post continues, “Wiancko maintains a singular voice as a composer.” Chosen as one of Kronos Quartet’s “50 for the Future,” Paul’s own music has been described as “dazzling” and “compelling” (Star Tribune), and “vital pieces that avoid the predictable” (Allan Kozinn).
A serial chamber musician, Paul’s performances with Musicians From Marlboro have been described as "utterly transparent" and "so full of earthy vitality and sheer sensual pleasure that it made you happy to be alive" (Washington Post). In 2009, he joined the award-winning Harlem Quartet, with whom he spent 3 years performing and teaching extensively throughout the US, Europe, South America, and Africa. Paul currently writes and performs as a member of the viola and cello duo Ayane & Paul and the quartet-collective Owls.
Paul has been composer-in-residence at Spoleto Festival USA, Music From Angel Fire, Caramoor, Twickenham, and the Portland, Newburyport, and Methow Valley Chamber Music Festivals, and has composed works for the St. Lawrence, Kronos, Aizuri, Parker, Calder, and Attacca Quartets, yMusic, Alexi Kenney, Tessa Lark, David Byrd Marrow, and many others. NPR writes, “If Haydn were alive to write a string quartet today, it may sound something like Paul Wiancko's LIFT”–a work that “teems with understanding of and affection for the string-quartet tradition” (New York Times) and is featured on the Aizuri Quartet’s Grammy-nominated album Blueprinting, one of NPR’s top 10 classical albums of 2018.
Paul Wiancko performs on a 2010 Mario Miralles violoncello and resides in Brooklyn, NY. He enjoys woodworking and never travels without a tenkara fishing rod.
Only Ever Us is such an incredible and unique piece. When you hear it, you know—only Paul could write this. It has his stamp and his color, and that's what you want to find in a composer.