Echelon String Quartet takes stage

By Signe Trewyn


Four local alumni will bring their talent to the stage this week hoping to introduce their audience to music that they might not usually listen to, as the Echelon String Quartet reaches beyond the usual repertoire.

The group includes Blaine Mcquinn and Alerdale Wimer on violin, and Leah Shultz on viola and Jon Miller on cello.  They will play pieces from a wide variety of genres from Pink Floyd to contemporary classical. The quartet provides an amazing range of music with only four string players in total for the performance.

“Two strings, viola and a cello,” Matt Sintchak said.

Those are the instruments that will be heard and used during the performance. Sintchak said he is not a performer in the show itself, rather he is arranging the show for the performers.

Sintchak said what’s special about the performance is that the performers get to play songs that many younger people haven’t heard yet.

It is the blending of these genres that makes Echelon so popular with the listening audience because there will be something for everyone.  Pop and contemporary will prove popular among the students, while songs by older rock bands will resonate well with the more mature individuals in the audience.

It may be hard to recognize the songs at first since they will be played by strings and not the original instruments.

Interestingly, the four performers for the show met while pursuing a music degree at UW-Whitewater. While in college, they received a National Undergraduate Research grant to commission and perform a piece of music by a living composer.

The result of the grant was “Seven Sultry Gothic Love Songs” a seven-movement work suited for a string quartet and percussion by a New York based composer Edward Schwartz.

Another recent performance by the group includes participation in the Madison, Wisconsin Broom Street Sessions, and the Wurst Times Music Festival.

The Echelon String Quartet is in high demand for clinics and it can often be found teaching master classes and leading recruitment and retention activities for public school music programs.

A large part of the String Quartet repertoire ranges from everything to rock music to jazz standards and audiences are entertained by the fun interpretations of fun rock music.

The Echelon String Quartet will be presented by Sonic and perform at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26 in Light Recital Hall.