Yeah, now we’re REALLY on the nonstop awesomeness train!
On my last night in New York, I went to a concert at WNYC – all I knew was that it was a French string quartet who were playing mainly 20th century American composers. The one-hour show was a live simulcast on the radio; while I was in the actual performance space right on Varick in Downtown Manhattan, it was also heard around the world.
I was thrilled to enjoy a performance by the Ebene Quartet. In short, it was a fantastic – these guys are so inventive, creative, passionate and fun. Many of the tracks they played come from their latest album, Fiction, with their spin (and new arrangement) on popular American songs, from The Beatles to Disney to Bruce Springsteen. You can purchase the CD or download it right now.
Well the next day, I was at Penn Station, waiting for my Amtrak train when who do I spot in line for the same train – the Ebene Quartet! I knew I had to compliment them on their work, and I did. It gets better: they weren’t just on the same train as me; we were all headed to the same destination! Seriously, this stuff happens? :-) They were continuing on with their American tour, including a show that evening in Providence, RI, before they continued around New England and then back to New York for a Carnegie Hall show.
I spent the next two hours chatting with the guys, and Pierre Colombet (1st violin) was gracious enough to chat on camera.
What we talked about:
- Where the group’s name comes from
- What would be an ideal concert for them
- The film Pierre wants to make
- Why their latest album is a dream come true
And here’s one of their coolest arrangements: remember the theme song from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction? Well you’ve never heard it like this…
With Ebene Quartet’s music, I love how they challenge our conceptions of these American songs – they explore what else is possible with the arrangement and even the sounds that these instruments produce. Plus, by using these popular songs, I think it can be a great “hook” for others to experience classical music!
What do you think about Ebene Quartet’s arrangements and style?
For more on what Pierre and the Ebene Quartet are up to:
- You can learn more about the quartet, hear their other tracks, and see where they are performing at their site.
- Another cool track is their arrangement of Miles Davis’ “Nothing Personal”; it’s not on Fiction, so listen to it here.
Fun fact: for their Ravel, Debussy and Faure album, they won Gramophone’s 2009 Record of the Year, along with Germany’s Echo Klassik Award 2009, Belgium’s Prix Caecilia 2009 and a French Victoire de la Musique 2010 for their album. Check it out here.
They are currently touring Europe, playing from their classical repertoire and from Fiction.
Thanks to Pierre, Gabriel, Mathieu, and Raphael for their generosity of time and energy – loved meeting them! I’m excited to hang out with them whenever I get over to France. :-)
Do you have an interesting experience of meeting someone on a bus or plane or train? What did you learn?
I’d love to hear your response to the questions above and any other comments you have.
Until next time,