"At this point in 50 for the Future
one of the things that's happening is that many of the composers are listening to all of the other pieces before they start to write their own, and that's exactly what I was hoping for. Not that they would be influenced by anyone else so much as that they would see what kind of ensemble issues have already been covered, and they can then narrow down what they want to concentrate on. Each of the composers has been chosen because it feels as though that person can give all of us something that nobody else can. Of course, you can say that about any composer. When you get right down to it, there are no two composers who are the same. When you write string quartet music, everybody sounds different, everybody sounds like themselves. That's one of the things that people find scary about it, that it reveals part of the inner texture, architecture, space, the inner world that each of us gets to have, and it's certainly that way to play the music as well. I think that's what attracts listeners to it, and what attracts us to it as well.
Now that we have released 30 of the 50 pieces, we're really starting to feel a community around this repertoire. It's fabulous to see other groups take on this music in their own interpretations. I'll often hear somebody else do something really wonderful, and I'll try to figure out how that wonderfulness can be incorporated into our work. In a way, I've been doing that my whole life: you hear something you love, and you want to include it in your work. That's what being a musician is. And we've heard some quartets with ideas that have refueled our interpretations of these 50 for the Future pieces, whether it's certain articulations, whether it's a certain kind of style... there are all sorts of things that we've learned from other people. And I think this ongoing learning process and conversation among groups is one of the best outcomes. I'm feeling more collegial to the entire field of quartet players than I ever have. It's like we're part of this large community who are all trying to do the same thing—trying to make the best music we can make, trying to make programs that inspire people and give each of us more energy, trying to encourage a desire for more music."