Video Premiere: Friction Quartet Performs Counter Paint: The Art of Fugue

Today’s Four/Ten Media video premiere features Friction Quartet performing Counter Paint: The Art of Fugue, an interdisciplinary work that combines graphic notation, collaborative painting, and improvisation.

Developed by Pascal Le Boeuf, Danny Clay, and Friction Quartet using concepts from Clay’s “27 Overtures,” Counter Paint: The Art of Fugue engaged 34 composers to produce 27 group paintings in response to Beethoven’s Große Fugue with specific colors representing each of the four instruments of the string quartet. In addition to the project creators, the composers include Steven Mackey, Florent Ghys, Anna Pidgorna, Daniel Silliman, Emma O’Halloran, Gemma Peacocke, Matt McBane, So Percussion, Ninfea P. Cruttwell-Reade, Bora Yoon, Connor Elias Way, Tom Morrison, Natalie Dietterich, Juri Seo, Tamika Gorski, Molly Herron, Jenny Beck, Alyssa Weinberg, Anna Meadors, Chris Douthitt, Elliot Cole, Katelyn Halpern, Mike Mulshine, Kevin Eikenberg, and Annika Socolofsky.

Here’s what Danny Clay had to say about Counter Paint:

I love that in Counter Paint, a gaggle of insanely talented creative professionals were willing to dive head-first into the role of artistic amateurs. Whether you’re an elementary schooler just learning to play an instrument, or a composer with a PhD from Princeton, the experience of making something in the spirit of collective play is always a wellspring of inspiration, creativity, discovery.

Counter Paint: The Art of Fugue is now available to purchase on Bandcamp. All proceeds will be donated to Friction Quartet’s Commissioning Initiative for the development of new music by young composers and creators.

About Pascal Le Boeuf

Described as “sleek, new” and “hyper-fluent” by the New York Times, Pascal Le Boeuf is a composer, jazz pianist, and electronic artist whose works range from modern improvised music to hybridizing chamber music with production-based technology. Recent projects include commercial recordings and videos with Friction Quartet, Nu Deco Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Nick Photinos, Hub New Music, Barbora Kolářová, Shattered Glass, Jessica Meyer, Four/Ten Media, and “Mirror Image” with Bec Plexus featuring Ian Chang (of Son Lux).

As a keyboardist, Pascal performed as support for D’Angelo’s Black Messiah US tour and Clean Bandit’s Rather Be tour with Australian pop artist Meg Mac. He actively tours with Le Boeuf Brothers, Friction Quartet, and his piano trio “Pascal’s Triangle” featuring bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Justin Brown. He is currently a Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in music composition at Princeton University.

About Danny Clay

Danny Clay is a composer and teaching artist whose work is deeply rooted in curiosity, collaboration, and the sheer joy of making things with people of all ages and levels of artistic experience. Working closely with artists, students, and community members alike, he builds worlds of inquiry, play, and perpetual discovery that integrate elements of sound, movement, theater, and visual design. Children’s games, speculative systems, cognitive puzzles, invented notation, found objects, imaginary archives, repurposed media, micro-improvisations, and happy accidents all make frequent appearances in his projects.

He has collaborated with Kronos Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Eighth Blackbird, Volti, Wu Man, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Sarah Cahill, and students at schools and universities throughout the United States.

About Friction Quartet

Friction Quartet exists to modernize the chamber music experience and expand the string quartet repertoire. Friction achieves this mission by commissioning new works, curating imaginative programs, collaborating with artists, and presenting interactive educational outreach. Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle) has declared Friction “The Bay Area’s redoubtable new-music ensemble.” Since forming in 2011, Friction has commissioned forty-three works for string quartet and given world premiere performances of more than eighty works. They won Second Prize in the 2016 Schoenfeld Competition, were quarter-finalists in the 2015 Fischoff Competition, and placed second at the 2015 Frances Walton Competition.

Friction has held residencies at the New Music for Strings Festival in Denmark, Interlochen Arts Camp, Lunenburg Academy of Music, Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Old First Concerts, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and was the first ensemble in residence at the Center for New Music. They are ensemble educators with SF Symphony’s Adventures in Music Program, KDFC Playground Pop Ups, and more.


Danny Clay is the recipient of a 2019 American Composers Forum McKnight Visiting Composer Residency with funding from The McKnight Foundation. Friction Quartet, Bora Yoon, and Juri Seo are innova artists.

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