Singularity Saxophone Quartet

The Singularity Saxophone Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17 at First Presbyterian Church, Davenport.

Contributed photo

Even veteran concert-goers likely won't be too familiar with music by a quartet set to perform next week at First Presbyterian Church, Davenport.

It's the Singularity Saxophone Quartet, which plays contemporary classical music. The quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, in the historic sanctuary of the church, 1702 Iowa St.

"This music is contemporary saxophone chamber music," Matt Bishop said. Bishop is a pianist and First Presbyterian's director of music. "A lot of the music has been written in the past several years so it's new and fresh."

Bishop met members of the quartet when he attended graduate school at Florida State University, Tallahassee. The four men, all playing the saxophone, also attended Florida State.

"I worked with them in the past and they are phenomenal musicians," Bishop said. The quartet plays well together, and he said one reason is because they are also friends off-stage.

"It is very inspiring to watch them do what they love to do; this is absolutely their passion," Bishop said.

The contemporary classical music is similar to the work of David Ludwig, whose compositions were played at the Quad-City Symphony's concert in early November.

This music will be an experience for the audience. "People are not used to hearing it," Bishop said. The quartet will challenge traditional definitions of classical music, and there is an experimental side to the work.

"All the music is played with passion and precision," he said.

When the group made its debut at Carnegie Hall in 2015, it was saluted by composers, including Ludwig, who described it as "At once sensitive, nuanced, brash and daring; all depending on the demands of the music," and by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Charles Wuorinen, who said it brought "a wonderful life and spirit to my work."

Both citations are on the group's website.

After graduating from Florida State, two members of Singularity moved to New York, while two have stayed in Florida.

They regularly perform with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra Chamber Series, at the Ethos New Music Society at the State University of New York in Fredonia, as guest artists and clinicians at Mercyhurst College, Erie, Penn., and are resident artists at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, Boscawen, N.H.

Bishop, at First Presbyterian, said the church usually brings in guest artists every year and often they are part of the Quad-City Arts Visiting Artist Series.

But in this case, it was Bishop who invited the Singularity Saxophone Quartet to the Quad-Cities.

"My hope is to introduce them to a new audience, and to introduce people in the Quad-Cities to new music, and new music with a saxophone quartet," he said.

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