JCalled "wholesome-looking" by the New York Times, violist John Pickford Richards has gained a reputation for performing new and unusual music. Before playing in JACK, he was a founding member of the ensemble Alarm Will Sound, allowing him to work closely with composers such as John Adams, Meredith Monk, and Steve Reich at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Holland Festival. John has appeared with bands such as the All-American Rejects, Silversun Pickups, and Grizzly Bear and has performed as soloist with the Pasadena Symphony, Armenian Philharmonic, Wordless Music Orchestra, Ossia New Music, and with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra playing the solo part to Luciano Berio's Chemins II under the direction of Pierre Boulez. He holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy and Eastman School of Music where his primary teachers were David Holland and John Graham.
AAri Streisfeld has quickly established himself as an avid interpreter of contemporary classical music through performances with Ensemble Dal Niente (Chicago), Juventas Ensemble (Boston), Signal Ensemble (New York), and as a founding member of the critically acclaimed JACK Quartet (New York). Ari has worked closely with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Matthias Pintscher, Steve Mackey, Toshio Hosokawa, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Aaron Cassidy and has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, Le Poisson Rouge, the Venice Biennale, and Wigmore Hall. He has attended the Music Academy of the West, New York String Orchestra Seminar, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, and the Lucerne Festival Academy. He has soloed with the Kennett Symphony Orchestra and the Northwestern Philharmonia. As a winner of the 2008 Boston University Concerto Competition, Ari performed the Berg Violin Concerto with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra. As a composer Ari was a recipient of the 2000 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. The Los Angeles Times said his arrangements of music by Machaut and Gesualdo were "imaginatively arranged for string quartet." He received his BM at the Eastman School of Music, MM at Northwestern University, and is an ABD Doctoral Candidate at Boston University. His teachers have included Zvi Zeitlin, Almita Vamos, and Peter Zazofsky. Ari has recorded for Mode, Albany, and Cantaloupe Records. He currently resides in New York City.
CChristopher Otto studied composition at the Eastman School of Music with Martin Bresnick, David Liptak, and Robert Morris. As a violinist, Christopher has premiered many compositions and worked with such composers as Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Helmut Lachenmann, and Steve Reich. Christopher has participated as composer and performer in such contemporary music festivals as the Lucerne Festival Academy, Internationale Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Karlheinz Stockhausen Courses, Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance at the Mannes College of Music, June in Buffalo, and Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Michoacán.
KKevin McFarland is a member of Ensemble Signal and has made guest appearances with Alarm Will Sound, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Wordless Music Orchestra. He also composes, with recent performances by mezzo-soprano Abby Fischer as part of her ABSYNTH project and by Hutchins Consort East with whom he also plays the tenor violin. He sometimes distributes electronic music under various monikers which are only quasi-secret. He is also active as a solo artist, both as interpreter of new works for solo cello as well as improviser. He made his solo cello and electronics debut at The Stone in 2014. Kevin holds a Bachelor's Degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied cello with Steven Doane and composition with David Liptak, Robert Morris, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. His article "Second-Generation Interpretation of Xenakis' String Quartets" can be found in Performing Xenakis published by Pendragon Press. He currently calls three places home: Brooklyn, NY is his home base; Lancaster, PA is his hometown; and Denver, CO is his home away from home with his partner and two dogs.