Kronos’ Fifty for the Future Composers

Yevgeniy Sharlat - Russia / USA

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Program Notes

About pencil sketch, Sharlat writes:

“My sincerest thanks to Kronos Quartet for making this piece happen. As David Harrington was explaining to me the purpose of the Fifty for the Future project, two things caught my attention.

“One was the notion of creating a body of new repertoire that would inspire young string players to discover the limitless expressive potential of string quartet. As a music student in the latter days of the Soviet Union, my training sadly consisted of being told what not to do — so the idea of unshackling students’ conception of sound really appealed to me.

“The other: David asked that whatever technological enhancement I chose to include, it would need to be easily obtainable and guaranteed to exist for at least another 50 years. Contrary to his wishes, I have chosen technology that is already deemed defunct: the #2 wood-cased pencil with eraser. I used it to sketch the piece, and so will Kronos, to play it. And why not? It was the most popular gadget at a recent SXSW tech conference in Austin, where I live. A sign there read: ‘Somewhere along the way, in the race to get ahead, we lost something important.’

“And so I wanted to write a piece that has an intimate pencil-scraping-on-paper feel to it, that of trying to recapture a long-lost feeling with lines and dots and shading and hatching, before rendering it in full and vibrant color. I hope for the sake of future generations that both pencils and string quartets will last an eternity.”

Yevgeniy Sharlat's pencil sketch was commissioned as part of the Kronos Performing Arts Association’s Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, which is made possible by a group of adventurous partners, including Carnegie Hall and many others.

About Yevgeniy Sharlat

Yevgeniy Sharlat has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo, theater, ballet, mechanical sculptures, animations, and film. His commissions have come from such institutions as the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, the Caramoor Festival, The Curtis Institute of Music, Texas Performing Arts, Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Astral Artistic Services, and the Seattle Chamber Players. He has written string quartets for the Amphion, the Aizuri, and the Aeolus Quartets. His music has been performed by such ensembles as Kremerata Baltica, the Seattle Symphony, Hartford Symphony, NCSA Symphony, Mikkeli City Orchestra (Finland), Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, the NOW Ensemble, and Le Train Bleu.

Sharlat was the recipient of the 2006 Charles Ives Fellowship from American Academy of Arts and Letters; other honors include a Fromm Music Foundation Commission to write for the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo, fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo, and ASCAP’s Morton Gould, Boosey & Hawkes, and Leiber & Stoller awards.

Born in Moscow, Russia, Sharlat majored in violin, piano, and music theory at the Academy of Moscow Conservatory. After immigrating to the United States in 1994, he studied composition at Juilliard Pre-College, received his bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University. His teachers included Aaron Jay Kernis, Martin Bresnick, Joseph Schwantner, Ned Rorem, and Richard Danielpour. Sharlat is associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches composition and music theory.

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