Attacca Quartet: Redefining the String Quartet

Submitted by OCM on November 15, 2023 - 10:01

Venue, Timing and Cost

St John's College Auditorium
Thursday, 30 November 2023
7:30 pm (doors open 7 pm)
£10 (pay less), £16 (regular), £22 (pay more)
Gig graphic showing the quartet holding instruments against a dark gradient background. They are formally dressed. Logos of OCM, Oxford Festival of the Arts, and St John's College Oxford. Thu 30 Nov, St John's College Auditorium. Redefining the string quartet.

Two-time GRAMMY-award winning Attacca Quartet are recognised and acclaimed as one of the most versatile and outstanding ensembles of the moment — a true quartet for modern times. Gliding through traditional classical repertoire through to electronic, video game music and contemporary collaborations, they are one of the world’s most innovative and respected ensembles.

The ensemble's three albums reflect the modern string quartet's many possibilities, and this wide-ranging programme brings together all the elements. Their first album, Real Life, exploded onto the scene with riotous electronic sounds created with producers outside the classical sphere. Of all Joys provided a complete contrast, with simple and heartfelt sounds from Renaissance composers alongside modern minimalists Phillip Glass and Arvo Pärt. Their collaboration with composer Caroline Shaw for the 2019 release Orange saw them win the 2020 GRAMMY Award for Best Chamber Music/​Small Ensemble Performance, with their follow-up album Evergreen winning the 2023 award in the same category.

By turns gutsy and ethereal, "Valencia" explores sounds and textures that feel new, while remaining rooted in sensitivity to the techniques and history of the string quartet. Meanwhile, "Blueprint" offers a musical language which is almost timeless, composed of gesture as much as of sound. The sound and fury comes in the Flying Lotus suite, in which the quartet lets rip, bows digging and strings twanging. "Benkai's Standing Death," is based on the tale of a samurai who, according to legend, died standing up as he was pelted by arrows while defending his master. It unfolds gradually, pacing its narrative beautifully over a fourteen-minute span, filled with detail and subtlety. "Mishima," which is drawn from music Glass wrote for a 1985 film soundtrack, brings a sombre mood. To send you away with a spring in your step, Gabriella Smith's "Carrot Revolution" is playful and percussive with growls and squeaks forming a firm rhythmic groove.

Attacca Quartet is:

Amy Schroeder (she/​her) — violin
Domenic Salerni (he/​him) — violin
Nathan Schram (he/​him) — viola
Andrew Yee (she/​they) — cello


Caroline Shaw: Blueprint

Flying Lotus suite

Paul Wiancko: Benkei’s Standing Death


Philip Glass- String Quartet #3 “Mishima”

Caroline Shaw: Valencia

Gabriella Smith: Carrot Revolution

Co-promoted with Oxford Festival of the Arts.

Further Information

Contact Details: 

Venue address: St Giles', Oxford OX1 3JP (please allow 5 minutes to get from the entrance to the auditorium)
Info and tickets:

Here is the accessibility info provided by the venue:

St John’s College aims to provide a good degree of accessibility for visitors. The main entrance is via the Porters’ Lodge on St Giles - please summon assistance from the porters via the bell push outside the door.

The Auditorium is located in the Garden Quad and it provides wheelchair access to both the stage and the stalls within the theatre. Seating can be removed to provide a range of different seating layouts to enable wheelchairs to be positioned in different parts of the theatre. There are also ramps, a platform lift, a hearing loop and an accessible toilet.

If the 5 minute walk from the lodge to the auditorium may be challenging for you then please get in touch with us as we can arrange a different entrance.