Ornithology S

David Clay Mettens

"Ornithology S is inspired by a series of works created by the visual artist Juan Fontanive. He began the series by repurposing old Victorian clock parts to create “flip book” machines that rapidly turn over images of hummingbirds. His machines animate the diverse colors and forms of the birds in a kind of stuttering, perpetual flight, accompanied by the constant sound of whirring pages. Fontanive’s constructions closely align with some of my recent compositional interests: flickering colors, composites created by blurring many parts into a single entity, irregularities within perpetual motion, and careful blends of pitch and noise. To these ends, I have hollowed out the timbre of the quartet in two distinct directions, exploiting the airy qualities of the instruments on the one hand, and transforming the ensemble into a vast battery of (barely) pitched wooden percussion on the other."

— Clay Mettens

We are thrilled to be commissioning Clay's first work for saxophone quartet!

For more information about Clay's music and Juan's artwork, check out their websites below!


Quantum Shift

Mischa Zupko

Inspired by quantum theory in physics, Zupko's new work for saxophone quartet is a high velocity work that demonstrates the flexibility of the ensemble. Zupko musically mimics an electron's ability to suddenly change orbit by having quick changes of motive, texture, and energy in the ensemble. 

Quantum Shift was commissioned by a consortium of saxophone quartets including:

Kenari Quartet

Assembly Quartet

Barkada Quartet

Donald Sinta Quartet

Fuego Quartet

Mirasol Quartet


Project Fusion

Zzyzx Quartet


For more information about Mischa Zupko, check out his website below!


Breaking Point

Ted King-Smith

"Breaking Point is a fictional depiction of a loss of sanity. Once the piece establishes itself musically the quartet is presented with challenges to time, organization, and direction. As the quartet recovers from each challenge the fringes of its “sanity” fray bit-by-bit, represented by extended techniques and indeterminacy. Eventually the quartet devolves into chaos, past a point of no return. This work also exemplifies my love for the music of Charles Mingus and Led Zeppelin, and embraces the aggressive, improvisatory, and politically-charged nature they’re known for." - Ted King-Smith

Breaking Point was commissioned by a consortium of saxophone quartets including:

Barkada Quartet

Coalescent Quartet

Fuego Quartet

Kenari Quartet

Resurgam Quartet

For more information about Ted King-Smith and his music, check out his website below!