Exploring 'Home' with the Miró Quartet: A New Album Release


July 1, 2024

Four men wearing jeans smile and lean against decorative white railing on a porch.

The renowned Miró Quartet, the resident ensemble at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music, has just released their latest album, "Home." The quartet’s newest project explores the complex concept of home, blending contemporary compositions with beloved American classics.

For over twenty-five years, the Miró Quartet has been a prominent force in the classical music world, both nationally and internationally. Described by The New Yorker as “furiously committed” and praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer for its “exceptional tonal focus and interpretive intensity,” the quartet has performed on the most prestigious stages worldwide.

Based in Austin, Texas, the Miró Quartet thrives in the city's live music scene. Formed in 1995, the quartet has won first prize at several prestigious competitions, including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. Their dedication to music education is reflected in their master classes at universities and conservatories worldwide, and they have proudly served as the quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin's Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music since 2003.

"Home" represents a culmination of the Miró Quartet’s journey and experiences, capturing the essence of comfort, belonging, and identity. The album features a selection of works that evoke the emotions and memories associated with the concept of home. It includes American music like Samuel Barber and George Walker, alongside two new commissions from their friends and fellow American composers, Kevin Puts and Caroline Shaw.

Violist John Largess explained the shift in focus for their new album: “So many of our CDs and recordings have been the great core repertoire of European quartet literature, classical music. So much of it is historically in this Eurocentric place and we really wanted to have our next album be something that represented us more personally.”

The Miro Quartet recording in a recording studio

Miró Quartet recording Home

The quartet’s desire to reflect their personal journey is evident in the selection of pieces on the album. “A lot of who we are as people and artists is where we come from and where we live, and what our context is and what our home is, whether that's people, an artistic home, or a physical place,” Largess explained.

The album features new commissions that are deeply personal and reflective of contemporary issues. Kevin Puts’ piece focuses on the musical imagination of events. Largess elaborated, “Kevin wanted to illustrate in music what he imagined was happening in the world today and that in our home in the United States that maybe we're not so aware of. The feeling of leaving home and being forced to leave home and finding a new home. Can your new home be a real home? What does home mean? Almost everybody relates to the idea of leaving home, because that's part of what happens to each of us as we grow up. He wanted to explore all those themes in this piece.”

The collaborative process was equally inspiring for the quartet. During the pandemic, Caroline Shaw’s piece was developed under unique circumstances. “We were supposed to premiere it early in 2020, but of course we couldn't because there was no touring, because we were stuck at home. The constraints of home during Covid shaped how we worked on that piece, and a lot of her inspiration was coming from her time on social media,” Largess shared.

The Miró Quartet’s new album doesn’t just feature music; it represents their community and the contemporary voices within it. “It was great to actually have a diverse album with contemporary voices and a woman composer and a black composer and gay composers, and actually have it be something that represents more the home that we live in now,” Largess noted. This diversity mirrors the quartet’s own experiences and the people they interact with daily, creating a relatable and engaging listening experience for their audiences.

The release of "Home" has already garnered positive feedback from the university community and music critics alike. Musical America describes "Home" as "a beautifully curated album, balancing new commissions with American classics. The performances are nothing short of exquisite, with the quartet’s technical prowess and emotional sensitivity shining through each piece" . The album is praised for its emotional depth and technical excellence, further solidifying the Miró Quartet’s reputation as leading figures in the world of chamber music. Largess hopes listeners will find personal connections to the music. “I want people to be moved emotionally by all the pieces. Everything on it is very emotional and real. Nothing is abstract in this album.”

The Miró Quartet continues to enrich the musical world with their creative projects and passionate performances. "Home" is a testament to their artistic vision and dedication to connecting with audiences on a profound level. 

The album is available for streaming on Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube. Listeners are encouraged to immerse themselves in the evocative sounds of "Home" and experience the Miró Quartet’s heartfelt musical journey. 


For more information, visit the Miró Quartet’s official website https://miroquartet.com/music/recordings/home 


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