Fry Street Quartet Hosts Virtual Premiere of Crossroads Rising Tide

Utah State University’s Fry Street Quartet (FSQ), along with the NOVA Chamber Music Series, premiered a feature-length cinematic musical event, Rising Tide, on YouTube October 25.

The FSQ, USU’s resident string quartet, created Rising Tide with USU physicist Robert Davies to fuse compelling science, evocative imagery and powerful music in an exploration of nature, humanity and the paths that lie before us.

Rising Tide, with a narrative by Davies and music by Pulitzer Prize nominee Laura Kaminsky, tackles the divide between the natural world and man-made ecosystems. The vivid, kinetic score encompasses a global life cycle. Opening with sounds of wonder at the first stirrings of life, moving through the lushness of a world full of vitality to the turmoil of a complex civilization.

Rising Tide is both a love letter to planet earth as well as a wake-up call to humankind,” Rebecca McFaul, violinist in the FSQ and associate professor of professional practice in the Caine College of the Arts, said. “After its stage premiere in 2012, none of us involved could have imagined that it would still be so present in our performing lives in 2020, nor could we imagine the impact it would have on the trajectory of our lives both personally and professionally.”

McFaul said she has cherished all the collaborative relationships born from this project. They have lent courage to the challenge of pushing her artistic and activist voice beyond what is comfortable.

“Living with this project has also meant a continual striving to do more to live into the messages of this work, and that is a never-ending tug,” McFaul said. “At its inception, the basic idea for this work was to provide a non-politicized space to come together and consider the wonders of the earth’s natural systems alongside the human systems we’ve created that run counter to them. After more than 40 performances and reaching more than 12,000 audience members live, it does seem we’ve expanded the conversation.”

McFaul also noted that eight years later in the midst of a global pandemic we still need this safe space and deep consideration more than ever. To the FSQ, this meant they needed to create the film.

The quartet hopes that Rising Tide deepens one’s understanding of nature and our global predicament and also inspires the confidence and resolve to do something about it. Those notions are encapsulated in the film’s two refrains: the time has come for us to believe what we know and pick something and make it yours – you won’t be alone.

Along with the YouTube release, the NOVA Chamber Music Series and the FSQ are releasing a series of podcast episodes featuring more in-depth conversations about water, life, food, humanity, and art. You can find more information on The Nova Podcast at novaslc.org/podcast.

The NOVA Chamber Music Series celebrates the vast chamber music repertoire and Utah’s resident artists through concerts, commissions of new works, educational programs and recordings. NOVA is continuing its efforts to provide audiences with thoughtful and innovative chamber music offerings while prioritizing public health, and is proud to feature Rising Tide: The Crossroads Project film as a major piece of the online season’s offerings.

To stream Rising Tide: The Crossroads Project, visit novaslc.org/crossroads. Rising Tide and The Nova Podcast are presented free of charge, thanks to the generosity of music lovers.

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