Mar 14, 2009
Violinist and composer David Fulmer was just named a winner of the 56th annual BMI Student Composer Awards, and was recently presented the prestigious Charles Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his original compositions. Other honors and awards include a special citation from the Minister of Education of Brazil for his lectures entitled “The History of Music Theory”, the Hannah Komanoff Scholarship in Composition (2006-07) and the 2005 Dorothy Hill Klotzman Grant from the Juilliard School, and the highly coveted 2004 George Whitefield Chadwick Gold Medal from the New England Conservatory. After graduating from the Masters program at Juilliard pursuing studies in composition with Milton Babbitt and violin with Robert Mann, David is currently resuming his studies at Juilliard as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow maintaining his role as violinist and composer. He just returned from touring with the Zukofsky Quartet performing the pioneering program of the complete string quartets of Milton Babbitt. He appears frequently and records often with the premiere new music ensembles Speculum Musicae, the Group for Contemporary Music, the New York New Music Ensemble, and also with the Second Instrumental Unit, an ensemble that he co-founded and directs. His recent compositions have been commissioned by and written for the Mimesis Ensemble, Zukofsky Quartet, Cygnus Ensemble, Lyndon Institute, Tetras Quartet, Monadnock Music Festival. Between academic and performing engagements, he often presents lectures on a myriad of musical topics around the globe, with recent appearances at the Philadelphia Modern Languages Association Conference; International Society of the Arts, Mathematics, and Architecture (Germany); BRIDGES International Mathematics Conference (Maryland); Banff Centre; Hildegard Von Bingen Society.
My String Quartet No. 3, affectionately dedicated to the Zukofsky quartet, was written for the 2009 American Composers Alliance Festival. When deciding upon a new work for the Festival, I immediately leapt at the opportunity to write a string quartet, perhaps because as a string player myself, the string quartet presents one of the ultimate, and singularly unique chamber music expressions. For a composer, the string quartet medium presents an extended registral spectrum, a diversified palate of timbres (through the uses of such techniques as pizzicato, sul ponticello, sul tasto, col legno, etc.), and a wonderful asymmetric balance of instruments. Lastly, the quartet is such an appealing ensemble to write for simply because of the wealth and quality of repertoire that has been written for this formation; the models are countless.
This work is structured around sequences articulated by registers of varying lengths. The succession of these registers is continuously changing as a result of the transformations of pitch material together with the changing of instrumental groupings within the quartet (ie. solo, duo, trio). This sort of rapid succession of smaller and extended sections enables a spontaneous contour to unravel as the resultant formal design of the work. In the harmonic sense, this quartet aims at creating a texture of ever-changing chromatic saturations. Utilizing the full 24-tone chromatic gamut, the use of quartertones allows dense concentration of pitch material. The employment of such an extended gamut also entails greater variety and differentiation regarding the size and qualities of particular pitch collections. In assembling the collections contained in this work, I became fascinated with the very tightly-knit ones (containing the smallest intervals), and on the contrary, others that contained only larger intervals. Some of the harmonies heard this evening will behave sonorously, while others will not. It is with great pleasure that I present my quartet this evening with the Zukofsky Quartet. Lastly, I would like to thank the Festival for inviting me to write and perform this new work for this year’s program. (World Premiere)