Ethel

The all-encompassing foursome hits the great (Lincoln Center) outdoors.

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Damrosch Park Bandshell; Wed 28

Few musicians demonstrate the rapidly blurring lines between genres as comprehensively as string quartet Ethel does. Scan TONY’s listings and you’ll find the group impossible to lump into one definitive category. Yet the foursome—violinists Cornelius Dufallo and Mary Rowell, violist Ralph Farris and cellist Dorothy Lawson—enriches each style it touches, teasing out common threads between its classical formation and outlying impulses. Ethel’s latest CD, Oshtali, featuring works written by student composers of the Chickasaw tribe, furthers the group’s raison d’tre, combining influences from Native American music with contemporary works by up-and-coming creators.

By comparison, the collaborators for the quartet’s latest New York appearance (presented by Lincoln Center Out of Doors) seem downright inveterate, though the final product—arranged by Ethel—promises to be no less invigorating. Singer-songwriter Dayna Kurtz’s folky, rocking standards flow with the soul of a tristate Schubert. It’s not impossible to find similar tonal tissue in the works of Argentina-born, Paris-bred folkist Juana Molina and her classical compatriot, Osvaldo Golijov. Artful punk and Lisztian rock star Tom Verlaine is collaborating with composer and producer Patrick Derivaz for his contribution. And Mike Viola (most recently seen in Get Him to the Greek) teams up with would-be EGOT--winner Adam Schlesinger. Regardless of which side of the genre borders you fall on, consider this a musical Switzerland: a nonconflicting blend as satisfying as a pot of fondue after a day on the slopes.

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