PUBLIQuartet perform in full for the first time their latest album “What is American,” which highlights our country’s complex histories with the Black and Indigenous roots of contemporary, blues, jazz, free, and rock music. Presented in partnership with the Sphinx Organization.

November 11, 2022
7:30 pm
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2018-2019 Artists-in-Residence PUBLIQuartet return for their fourth appearance on the National Sawdust stage, this time performing in full for the first time their latest album “What is American.” In their third album, the Grammy-nominated string quartet highlights our country’s complex histories with the Black and Indigenous roots of contemporary, blues, jazz, free, and rock music. Intended as a call to reflect on the question and statement "What is American" in an increasingly divided country, PUBLIQuartet's latest album journeys through America’s rich musical history. Together, violinist Jannina Norpoth, violinist Curtis Stewart, violist Nick Revel, and cellist Hamilton Berry reimagine old work with improvisations on music by Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane, and Betty Davis. With this genre- and centuries-spanning program, PUBLIQuartet reveal the multicultural roots of American music’s past and assert Black and Indigenous people’s place in its present and future. By bringing marginalized voices back into the fold of western classical music, PUBLIQuartet expand western classical music’s ability to respond to and reflect on the most pressing issues of our time.

Co-presented with the Sphinx Organization. This performance is one of a series reflecting both National Sawdust and Sphinx's commitment to empowering diverse voices that are reshaping the landscape of western classical music.


Applauded by The Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music,” and by The New Yorker as “independent-minded,” the GRAMMY nominated PUBLIQuartet’s modern interpretation of chamber music makes them one of the most dynamic artists of their generation.  Dedicated to presenting new works for string quartet, PUBLIQuartet rose on the music scene as winner of the 2013 Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places award, and in 2019 garnered Chamber Music America’s prestigious Visionary Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music.  PQ’s genre-bending programs range from 20th century masterworks to newly commissioned pieces, alongside re-imaginations of classical works featuring open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.

PUBLIQuartet has served as artist-in-residence at top institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Sawdust and has appeared at a wide variety of venues and festivals, from Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Their latest album, the GRAMMY-nominated Freedom and Faith, debuted atop the Billboard Classical Charts in May 2019. The 2019-2020 season brings a diverse array of programs to venues across the United States and abraod, including an appearance at the String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam.

PUBLIQuartet’s commitment to supporting emerging composers inspired their innovative program, PUBLIQ Access, which promotes emerging composers and presents a wide variety of under-represented music for string quartet--from classical, jazz and electronic, to non-notated, world and improvised music. Other unique projects include MIND|THE|GAP, a series of group-composed works developed by PQ to generate interest in new music while also engaging traditional classical music audiences.  These unique creations range from “Bird in Paris” (Claude Debussy meets Charlie Parker) to more recent extended works including “What Is American?” (an exploration of Dvorak’s beloved “American” String Quartet) and Sancta Femina (based on themes by three medieval and baroque female composers). 

Founded in 2010, PUBLIQuartet is currently based in New York City.

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Nov 11

PUBLIQuartet: “What is American”