Release Date: September 27, 2019
Catalog #: NV6249
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
String Quartet

Playing on the Edge

Ian Erickson composer
Marga Richter composer
Jennifer Castellano composer
Brian Field composer
Mari Tamaki composer

Sirius Quartet
Fung Chern Hwei violin
Gregor Huebner violin
Ron Lawrence viola
Jeremy Harman cello

Described as having “Versatility and flair with lively improvisations” by the New York Times and being “always compelling and always exhilarating” by Imperfect Fifths, NYC-based Sirius Quartet is only the most natural choice for showcasing the genius of five genre-bending contemporary composers. Navona Records’ PLAYING ON THE EDGE brings inspiration and experience from all walks of life into one string quartet collection with the music of composers Jennifer Castellano, Ian Erickson, Brian Field, Marga Richter, and Mari Tamaki.

PLAYING ON THE EDGE suggests, beyond all else, the ability to take risks and push limits, both on the part of the composers and performers. Each piece involves unconventional tactics, from performers choosing the order of movements to music that completely evolves rhythmically and harmonically from beginning to end. Emphasis on dissonant chords, sul ponticello bowings (quite literally playing on the edge), jagged and uneven rhythmic movement, and general innovation and rule-bending from each composer permeates the album. And none are more equipped for this risky yet rich undertaking than Sirius Quartet, best known for embracing the unexpected.

Progress and innovation require the spirit and initiative to push back on boundaries and ask questions about whether anything truly can’t be done. Fortunately, the artists of PLAYING ON THE EDGE are well up to such a task.


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"Compelling album of contemporary string quartet works"

American Record Guide

Artist Information

Ian Erickson


Ian Erickson is a composer and performer from Southwest Missouri. He graduated from Missouri State University with two bachelor of arts degrees in music performance and composition, and he has extensive experience in improvisation. Many of his works aim to explore polyphonic textures through the use of complex rhythms and dense harmonies.

Marga Richter


A Midwest native (WI, MN), Marga Richter earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from The Juilliard School. She has written over 150 works, encompassing virtually every genre. Her orchestral music has been performed by more than 50 orchestras including the Atlanta, Oklahoma, and Milwaukee Symphonies and the Minnesota Orchestra, and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

Jennifer Castellano


Jennifer Mary Castellano received her Bachelor of Arts in Music in classical piano from Manhattanville College and a Master of Music in composition from State University of New York at Purchase. She has studied piano with Donna DeAngelis, Catherine Coppola, and Flora Lu Kuan and composition with Mary Ann Joyce-Walter, Huang Ruo, and Joel Thome. She has also studied organ with David Baranowski and Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka.

Brian Field


Brian Field’s music is an eclectic fusion of lyricism and driving rhythm that brings together elements of post-romanticism, minimalism, and jazz. Field has received a host of awards, including the RMN Classical recording prize, the Benenti Foundation recording prize, Briar Cliff Choral Music Competition (first prize), the Victor Herbert ASCAP Young Composers’ Contest (first prize), among many others.

Mari Tamaki


Mari Tamaki is a Japanese cellist, composer, performer, and producer whose great improvisational and compositional skills create fascinating music, fluidly crossing genres both classical and contemporary. As a composer, she has successfully created works in a variety of styles, including classical music, progressive rock, free improvisation, avant-garde, and collaboration with the Butoh dance form. In her pieces, she skillfully transitions from tense dissonance to complete harmonization by the end. She employs a lyrical style while emphasizing dissonance. 

Sirius Quartet


Internationally acclaimed veterans of contemporary music, Sirius Quartet combines exhilarating repertoire with unequalled improvisational fire. These conservatory-trained performer-composers shine with precision, soul and a raw energy rarely witnessed on stage, championing a forward-thinking, genre-defying approach that makes labels like 'New Music' sound tame.

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