Playing on the Edge 3

Mark Edwards Wilson composer
Adam Grimes composer
Liova Bueno composer
Bernard Hughes composer
Nathan Wilson Ball composer
L Peter Deutsch composer
John Summers composer
Mark Eliot Jacobs composer
Peter Dickson Lopez composer

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

Release Date: July 14, 2023
Catalog #: NV6520
Format: Digital
21st Century
String Quartet

The Sirius Quartet returns with the long-anticipated PLAYING ON THE EDGE 3, adding to their ever-thrilling catalog with a fresh batch of imaginative compositions hailing from Bernard Hughes, John Summers, Liova Bueno, Mark Edwards Wilson, Nathan Ball, Peter Dickinson Lopez, L Peter Deutsch, Mark Elliot Jacobs, and Adam Grimes.

PLAYING ON THE EDGE 3 dives into the concept of beauty, expressing itself in an extraordinary duality, with each work contributing its own unique take on the whole. Lopez makes a marked impression of decorative beauty with the electro-acoustic instrumentation of MISE-EN Series II, “Episode I,” complimented expressively by the natural contemplation of Bueno in Lluvia, who captures the startling beauty of the tropical rainstorm in a matter far past exceptional.

This is well met within Ball’s I Must Grow Less and Wilson’s Dream-Crossed Twilight, which capture within their vastly layered and deep instrumentations the beauty of humanity and the human condition, a concept similarly discovered within Summer’s City Poem and the lapsing, always warming melodies of Deutsch’s Eternity.

Perhaps the most obvious dualities are the energetic punctuations and interjections in Hughes’ Suck It and See, which ensnares the beauty of a traditional form — and questions it violently! So too in the bubbling third movement of Grimes’s String Quartet No.1, full of life and fervor, and in the push-and-pull duality of the allegro of Utremi, a movement sitting as much on the edge as any!

PLAYING ON THE EDGE 3 offers up a vibrant and challenging selection, a verbose continuation of theme. With this third installment, the Sirius Quartet proves that they’re not just playing on the edge — they’re living on it too.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Dream-Crossed Twilight: I. Striving Mark Edwards Wilson Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 4:37
02 Dream-Crossed Twilight: II. Dreams Mark Edwards Wilson Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 6:49
03 Dream-Crossed Twilight: III. Spiro Spero Mark Edwards Wilson Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 6:36
04 String Quartet No. 1: III. Energico, Ben Ritmico Adam Grimes Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 6:30
05 Lluvia (Rain) Liova Bueno Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 6:20
06 Suck It And See Bernard Hughes Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 4:19
07 I Must Grow Less Nathan Wilson Ball Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 4:26
08 Eternity L Peter Deutsch Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 5:33
09 City Poem John Summers Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 7:26
10 Utremi: I. Allegro Mark Eliot Jacobs Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 5:31
11 MISE-EN Series II: Episode 1 Peter Dickson Lopez Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, violin; Gregor Huebner, violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 6:11

String Quartet No. 1, Suck It And See, I Must Grow Less, Eternity, Utremi, MISE-EN Series II: Episode 1
Recorded January 20-22, 2022 at Oktaven Audio in Mount Vernon NY
Producer Brad Michel
Engineer Ryan Streber

Dream-Crossed Twilight, Lluvia (Rain), City Poem
Recorded March 8-9, 2022 at Oktaven Audio in Mount Vernon NY
Producer Ryan Streber
Engineer Edwin Huet

Editing, Mixing & Mastering Brad Michel

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Sullivan

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran

Artist Information

Mark Edwards Wilson


Mark Edwards Wilson, currently a member of the faculty of the University of Maryland, began his productive career in his native California. He studied with Henri Lazarof and Leon Kirchner at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he received a Ph.D. at the age of 25. He has received many prizes, awards, and other honors for his orchestral and vocal works, as well as his chamber music and electro-acoustic compositions, many of which have been commissioned and performed by major institutions and performing organizations.

Liova Bueno

Liova Bueno


Liova Bueno's music is performed in concerts and music festivals internationally, from countries in Central and South America to Europe, the United States, and across Canada. He has worked with various conductors, ensembles, and soloists, including Darwin Aquino, Stanislav Vavrinek, Brian Wismath; Sirius Quartet (New York), Cuarteto Chroma (Mexico), Trio Dominicano (Dominican Republic), Vaughan String Quartet (Edmonton, A.B.), Vox Humana Chamber Choir (Victoria, B.C.), Vancouver Peace Choir (Vancouver, B.C.), Victoria Choral Society (Victoria, B.C.), Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Juvenil of the Dominican Republic, members of the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of the Dominican Republic, and members of the Victoria Symphony; and Pierre Strauch, Patricia Kostek, Mark McGregor, Robert Ward, and Alexander Dunn.

Bernard Hughes


Bernard Hughes’s music has been performed by various ensembles, including the BBC Singers and the London Mozart Players at major British venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral. His music has won a number of awards both in the UK and internationally, and is regularly broadcast on the UK’s BBC Radio 3. Bernard Hughes’s BBC commission Birdchant was premiered at the Proms festival in August 2021. After studying music at Oxford University, and composition privately with Param Vir, Bernard was awarded a Ph.D. in composition by London University in 2009.

Nathan Wilson Ball


Inspired by Christian iconography, Nathan’s compositions emphasize music’s ability to propose emotional narratives by layering and/or juxtaposing simple musical ideas, or “sonic icons.“ This approach to composition—praised by the Boston Globe as “adroit and expressively efficient”—stresses the relationship between disparate musical ideas, which the audience is invited to reconcile of their own accord. And while the narrative journeys of Nathan’s compositions can thus be as varied as humanity itself, the subject of each work points only to One: the salvation of humanity.

L Peter Deutsch


L Peter Deutsch is a native of Massachusetts, now living in Sonoma County CA, and British Columbia, Canada. He writes primarily for small instrumental or a capella vocal ensembles, spanning styles from devotional to romantic to jazzy, and from Renaissance to early 20th century. Works to date include four choral commissions; releases through PARMA Recordings include music for chorus, string quartet, woodwind and brass quintets, piano trio (featuring work with Trio Casals), and full orchestra.

John Summers


John Summers began his professional composing career in 1973, writing music for schools for a touring theater company, where he produced every type of production, from educational musicals for young kids to setting curriculum poetry (Shakespeare, Eliot, etc) to music. This continued until 1977, and in the process, he visited every small and large town in the Eastern states of Australia.

Mark Eliot Jacobs


Composer Mark Eliot Jacobs, born in 1960, lives in southern Oregonís Rogue River Valley. He is a frequent participant in the musical life of the valley: principal trombonist in the Rogue Valley Symphony, and musician with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among other engagements. He is an adjunct instructor at Southern Oregon University where he has taught in the areas of music theory, composition, and low brass. Mark holds the degree Doctor of Music from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in Music Composition (1986).

Peter Dickson Lopez


As an internationally performed composer, Lopez traces his musical roots to a broad range of influences, from his tenure as a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, as a Tanglewood Fellowship Composer, and as recipient of the George Ladd Prix de Paris (1976-1978). The eclectic nature of Lopez’s mature style stems no doubt from having worked directly with composers of diverse approaches and philosophies during his early years at Berkeley and Tanglewood: with Joaquin Nin Culmell, Andrew Imbrie, Edwin Dugger, Olly Wilson, Earle Brown at UC Berkeley (1972-1978); and with Ralph Shapey and Theodore Antoniou during his Fellowship at Tanglewood (1979). Even more influential to Lopez’s artistic development was his residence in Paris, where he had the opportunity to listen to many live concerts of contemporary European composers as well as to attend numerous events at IRCAM.

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.


Dream-Crossed Twilight, a composition commissioned by the Maryland Chapter of the Music Teachers National Association in 2018, was written for my friends and colleagues of the Left Bank Quartet. The title is a reference to T. S. Eliot’s description of human existence in his profound and moving poem, “Ash Wednesday”. The work is in three contrasting movements:

I. “Striving”
II. “Dreams”
III. “Spiro. Spero.” (“I breathe. I hope.”)

The contemplative and mysterious inner movement contrasts with the two energetic outer movements, and the darkness of the first movement is dispelled by the luminous optimism of the finale.

— Mark Edwards Wilson

Anyone who grew up in the tropics has the experience of tropical rain in their blood: the sounds, the scents, and the sensations are like rain nowhere else.

Although I had no programmatic intent when writing this piece, once completed it seemed to evoke the intensity and moods of the rainstorms in the Dominican Republic: the suddenness of pounding rain enveloping the world, mesmerizing; brief respites, filled with drops falling from vines and branches in a gentle rhythm; then again the rain, heavier and heavier until suddenly — the cloudburst is spent.

Shafts of sunlight pierce the clouds. Steam rises…

— Liova Bueno

Suck It and See is an explosive and energetic scherzo for string quartet. The title is a British-English idiom meaning to try something out, empirically rather than theoretically, to see if it works. The music is inspired by the quartets of Haydn, but with an added bite. The recurring rondo theme uses only four chords, in different spacings and arrangements, and each of the four short episodes explores a single one of these chords. Like a good house guest, Suck It and See does not outstay its welcome – but it does make quite a mess while it’s around, and kicks the cat on the way out.

— Bernard Hughes

“It is the bridegroom who has the bride; and yet the bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens to him, is filled with joy at the bridegroom’s voice. There is a joy I feel, and it is complete. He must grow greater, I must grow less.” (John 3:29-30).

— Nathan Wilson Ball

The track City Poem was inspired by a poem of the same name by Cambridge poet Elaine Feinstein. The original version had a soprano singing the words of the poem, accompanied by a string quartet. Afterward, on reviewing the composition, I toyed with the idea of incorporating the singer’s lines into the lines of the quartet. I subsequently tried this, and it worked a treat; it better fit the instruments themselves and expanded the piece — as far as the instruments were concerned — into a self-contained musical statement that I was very happy with, and would, at the same time, be ultimately more fulfilling for the players.

— John Summers

MISE-EN is a collection of works that share a common sound ideal and conceptual instrumentation. Work on this collection began in 2018 while collaborating with the Ensemble MISE-EN in South Korea under the auspices of the Oil Tank Culture Park Global Network in Seoul.

The resulting work, MISE-EN Series I, is an electroacoustic work scored for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, Percussion, Ableton Live, and Acousmatic Sound. This work was meant to reflect the aesthetic agenda of Ensemble MISE-EN, whose name roughly translates from Korean to English as meaning “decorative beauty.”

To achieve this goal, Lopez decided to write a work for chamber ensemble which would reflect a larger sonic landscape than what might be considered traditional chamber writing. He thus included live and prerecorded electronics in the scoring and composed with two divergent but complementary musical components: “sound tapestry” (“beautiful”), and ornamentation (“decorative”).

Series I is the first of a series of works based on this concept of “decorative beauty”. To simplify logistics, the Ableton Live part, which would otherwise be performed by a seventh ensemble player, can be mixed with the Acousmatic Sound recording. The World Premiere of MISE-EN, Series I in November 2018, was performed by the Ensemble MISE-EN with this alternative version.

It only occurred to Lopez after completing this first work that he could expand and extend MISE-EN as a series of works. To implement this while retaining the underlying sound ideal of “decorative beauty” for all works of the series, Lopez decided to pair electroacoustic devices with a different legacy or standard acoustic ensemble for each follow-on work. Thus, Series I is scored for a slightly modified “Pierrot” ensemble. Series II is scored for Amplified String Quartet and Acousmatic Sound. In 2021, the first Episode of Series II was selected by the Sirius Quartet for recording by PARMA to be released on the Navona Records label, CD and streaming audio. The opening Episode presents a tightly woven contrapuntal texture that is eventually painted against a contrasting broad and richly scored melodic line. The juxtaposition of this contrasting content awaits further exploration, as this first Episode ends with a question marked by the remnants of an ascending and fading contrapuntal cascade. The ornamentation of the contrapuntal texture frames the beauty expressed in the soaring cantabile, thus delineating a formal framework that harkens back to a bygone era, an era that nevertheless remains alive and essential in the creative work of Lopez.

Explore more albums in this series