Sunday, May 14th - Friction Quartet & Thollem

The Sanctuary will be hosting an evening of incredible and unique music from world-class musicians on Sunday May 14th. The Friction Quartet (which includes Arcata High graduate Otis Harriel on violin) will be gracing the Sanctuary's Hall for the first time, but they have performed portions of their string quartet repertoire in numerous other local venues in years past, and will be presenting a program of recent compositions that incorporate electronics. Thollem McDonas is a classically trained pianist a truly original improvisor who has been exploring the peripheries of American musical culture for decades. He will be returning to the Sanctuary for the third time on the 14th, with a solo piano performance. Together, these two groups of artists will offer a chance to experience new perspectives on American contemporary music.

Friction Quartet

Friction Quartet exists to expand the string quartet repertoire and audience for adventurous contemporary music through commissioning composers and performing in underserved schools and communities. Recently they gave their Carnegie Hall debut as part of the Kronos Quartet Workshop. They also participated in the Shouse Institute at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival where they gave their Detroit debut and appeared with Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet. The quartet received a Chamber Music America grant to commission a piano quintet from composer and steel pan percussionist Andy Akiho. John Adams shared Friction’s video of the second movement of his first string quartet on his homepage and called it “spectacular.” They were the first ensemble in residence at the Center for New Music in San Francisco and also held residencies with the Napa Valley Performing Arts Association and SF Friends of Chamber Music.

Website ➤         Play Sample ➤


Thollem is a pianist, keyboardist, organist, composer, improviser, singer-songwriter, activist, author and teacher. He's spent his life skirting and erasing the edges of boundaries musically, culturally, geographically. His work is ever changing, evolving and responding to the times and his experiences, both as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of artists across idioms and disciplines.

Thollem was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, studying the standard classical piano repertoire, composing and improvising since he was a young child and absorbing the myriad of sounds of his culturally diverse upbringing. After dedicating his 20s and 30s to grassroots political activism, he's refocused his attention these last 15 years on a breadth of musics that incorporate his myriad experiences and curiosities. In this last decade alone, he has played well over 1,000 concerts throughout N. America and Europe as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of musicians, dancers, and filmmakers. As leader or co-leader, he has released over 50 albums in that span on 22 different vanguard labels to international critical acclaim. “Thollem is an astounding pianist who understands the huge scope of the instrument” (Terry Riley) and who continues to delve into the furthest reaches and sub-genres of Post-Classical, Free Jazz, Noise, Punk, dance and film.

Website ➤         Play Sample ➤

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