Del Sol Quartet

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The Del Sol Quartet is a string quartet based in San Francisco, California that was founded in 1992. Del Sol is known for actively working with living composers from a wide range of cultural perspectives, and recording and performing exclusively 20th and 21st century music.[1]

Del Sol has commissioned and premiered over 100 works from a diverse range of international composers, including Mason Bates, Gabriela Lena Frank, Chinary Ung, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Mohammed Fairouz, Tania León, Ken Ueno, Peter Sculthorpe, Reza Vali, Per Nørgård, and various emerging composers from Argentina, Mexico, Korea, China, Canada and the United States.

Del Sol rose to international attention with the release of its 2002 CD, Tear. Del Sol was named winner of the Chamber Ensemble/Mixed Repertory category for 2005-2006 by Chamber Music America and ASCAP, and also received an ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music[2]

Current quartet members are Benjamin Kreith (violin), Rick Shinozaki (violin), Charlton Lee (viola), and Kathryn Bates (cello).


Founded in 1992, the Del Sol String Quartet began its life in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts, followed by residency at San Francisco State University in association with the Alexander String Quartet. Other appointments have included the 2003 "Emerging Quartets and Composers Residency" with the Muir String Quartet and Joan Tower in Park City, Utah; Quartet-in-Residence at University of New Mexico; residencies at The Walden School and Tahoe Music Festival; and Northeastern University in 2007. Del Sol appears on programs presented by Other Minds, San Francisco Performances, Montalvo Arts Center and Santa Fe New Music/Santa Fe Opera. (from website)


For more than a decade, the quartet has given lectures/performances by invitation from presenters including the San Francisco Symphony Adventures in Music series, San Francisco Libraries, Music at Kohl Mansion, Young Audiences of the Bay Area, American Composers Forum and San Francisco Performances, the City’s largest independent concert presenter. To date, Del Sol has performed over 300 concerts for more than 30,000 young people.


Del Sol has released seven full-length CDs since 2002, that reflect the ensemble’s fascination with the intersection of place and culture, garnering praise from Gramophone,[3] The Strad, Chamber Music,[4] BBC Music Magazine, and others. Its latest CD, “The Complete String Quartets of Robert Erickson,” was released July 1, 2014 by New World Records. Del Sol has a multi-CD recording contract with Sono Luminus, which released our “ZIA” CD in February 2013 and a “split EP” recording (for digital download) by Del Sol and the 4-hands piano duo, ZOFO.

  • Peter Sculthorpe Complete String Quartets with Didjeridu (2014) (Sono Luminus)
  • ZIA (2013) features fascinating contemporary works with influences from Peru, Turkey, Spain, Iran and Uzbekistan. (Sono Luminus)

"Zia" takes its name from the Zia Indians’ ancient symbol for the sacred sun, with arms radiating outward in four directions – north, south, east and west - which captures the adventurous spirit and global perspective of this recording. Released by GRAMMY® Award-winning Sono Luminus Records in February 2013, ZIA showcases fascinating contemporary works with influences from Peru, Turkey, Spain, Iran and Uzbekistan. The five composers represented on the album – Gabriela Lena Frank, Lou Harrison, Reza Vali, Jose Evangelista and Elena Kats-Chernin – all trained in the Western European tradition, reach back to ancient and traditional folk music sources and cultures in creating vibrant new music for string quartet. Producers Marina A. Ledin & Victor Ledin received a 2014 GRAMMY® nomination for Producer of the Year – Classical for their work on ZIA and other albums.

  • First Life (2009), a world premiere recording of the complete string quartets of American composer Marc Blitzstein (Other Minds)
  • Ring of Fire: Music of the Pacific Rim (2008), a compilation of works by eight composers from around the Pacific Rim (Other Minds)

This recording is the definitive recording of the composer and has sparked a revival of interest in his chamber works

  • Tear (2002), featuring works by 20th century masters alongside recent works by young composers from the Americas.

, This recording features a noteworthy rendition of Ástor Piazzolla's Libertango," as well as music by Lou Harrison, Earle Brown, Silvestre Revueltas, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Alberto Ginastera, and John Harbison.

Del Sol, along with Stephen Kent, didjeridu, releases its 7th full-length album the Complete String quartets with Didjeridu by Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe on Sono Luminus on September 30, 2014. Sono Luminus plans to release 2 more CDs in 2015 & 2016 featuring works by Mason Bates, Mohammed Fairouz, Ken Ueno and others.

Notable Performances[edit]

In October 2007, Del Sol Quartet was invited to play the Library of Congress' collection of Stradivarius instruments and debut the world premiere of Chinary Ung's Spiral X.


Their collaborations immerse ithe audience in multi-media and dramatic performances, including STRINGWRECK (its collaboration with acclaimed choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton), Ricky Ian Gordon’s chamber opera GREEN SNEAKERS with baritone Jesse Blumberg (exploring the intimate impact of AIDS), and GARDEN (a four-dimensional soundscape created with composer and video artist Chris Jonas)

Composers with Del Sol Commissions or Premiere Performances/Recordings[edit]


External links[edit]