Hailed by The New York Times as “our leading new-music foursome”, the JACK Quartet is one of the most acclaimed, renowned, and respected experimental string quartets performing today. Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, JACK operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and appreciation of new string quartet music. The quartet was selected as Musical America’s 2018 “Ensemble of the Year”, nominated for GRAMMY Awards for recordings in 2018 & 2022, named to WQXR’s “19 for 19 Artists to Watch”, and awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
A major highlight running throughout 2023 will be JACK’s involvement in major celebrations of John Zorn’s 70th birthday including performances of his complete string quartets and new work with regular collaborator Barbara Hannigan. Venues include the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), KunstFestSpiel Herrenhausen, Great American Music Hall (San Francisco), and Cite de la Musique (Paris), among others in anticipation of JACK’s release of a recording of his eight string quartets. Other highlights include a three-concert day at London’s Wigmore Hall, including the European premiere of Catherine Lamb’s divisio spiralis and a residency at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin with two concerts in spring 2023.
Through intimate relationships with today’s most creative voices, JACK embraces close collaboration with the composers they perform, leading to a radical embodiment of the technical, musical, and emotional aspects of their work. The quartet has worked with artists such as Julia Wolfe, George Lewis, Helmut Lachenmann, and Caroline Shaw, with upcoming and recent premieres including works by John Luther Adams, Catherine Lamb, Liza Lim, Tyshawn Sorey, Wadada Leo Smith, Amy Williams, and John Zorn. JACK’s all-access initiative, JACK Studio, funds collaborations with a selection of artists each year, who receive money, workshop time, mentorship, and resources to develop new works for string quartet.
JACK has performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall (USA), Lincoln Center (USA), Berlin Philharmonie (Germany), Wigmore Hall (United Kingdom), Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Netherlands), The Louvre (France), Kölner Philharmonie (Germany), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), Suntory Hall ( Japan), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Festival Internacional Cervantino (Mexico), and Teatro Colón (Argentina). Additional awards include Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA's Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.
According to Musical America, “many of their recordings are must-haves, for anyone interested in new music.” Nominated for multiple GRAMMY Awards, most recently their albums of music by John Luther Adams were nominated in the 2022 and 2023 Best Ensemble Performance category. Other albums include music by Helmut Lachenmann, Du Yun, Elliott Sharp, Zosha di Castri, Iannis Xenakis, and upcoming releases of the complete quartets of John Zorn and Elliott Carter.
Committed to education, JACK is the Quartet in Residence at the Mannes School of Music, where they provide mentorship to Mannes’s Cuker and Stern Graduate String Quartet. They also teach each summer at New Music on the Point, a contemporary chamber music festival in Vermont for young performers and composers, and at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. JACK has long-standing relationships with the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program, where they teach and collaborate with students each fall and spring, as well as with the Lucerne Festival Academy, of which the four members are all alumni.