third angle & gabby

Third Angle String Quartet with Gabriela Lena Frank. Photo: Tom Emerson Photography
Photo: Tom Emerson Photography

We had two nights of terrific concerts at Third Angle this Thursday and Friday, and this is a photo from the finale of Friday night’s concert. Pictured are (L-R) Susan DeWitt Smith, Gabriela Lena Frank, and the Third Angle String Quartet. Gabby is just a force of nature, full of life and enthusiasm, and it was a joy for us to get to know her and her music together.

city sunset

  by nobleviola
a photo by nobleviola on Flickr.

Third Angle played a salon concert at the offices of Mulvanny|G2 architects in the Moda insurance building this evening – and this was the view from our green room.

The salon featured our guest composer this week, Gabriela Lena Frank, who has been in town since Monday coaching and rehearsing with members of 3A. She spoke about her unique blend of ethnic heritages (“Gringa latina jew”) and introduced the four movements we played of her extraordinary quartet Milagros, written in 2010.

You can order tickets for our two concerts at Portland State University this Thursday and Friday nights by going to Third Angle’s website:

heart of darkness

It’s been quite a week. I’ve been spending the last three nights playing Georg Haas’ Third String Quartet “In Darkness”, which as you might expect, is actually performed in a completely darkened concert venue. In this case the venue was the hemispherical Kendall Planetarium at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

I was terrified at the prospect of playing this piece when it was first pitched to me by Third Angle artistic director and violinist Ron Blessinger. I’m not a musician who is suited to memorizing material, and given that this piece was to be played in complete darkness, memorization was a given. But I overcame my initial resistance and took the plunge. I am so glad that I did. Playing this piece has been one of the musical highlights of my career thus far. The opening of my sense of hearing just by virtue of the lack of visual cues, and the need to discern harmonies and find my place in them without having the voicing worked out beforehand, was exhilarating. Embracing the improvised aspects of the piece, and savoring the extraordinary receptiveness of our audiences, was incredibly rewarding. It was in many ways all that I hoped that a musical experience could be, and by and large, our audiences and critics agreed.

Here are the five (!) reviews of the run that we’ve received so far – and if you ever get a chance to hear this piece within a three hour drive of where you live: take it. You won’t regret the experience.