Robert Carl - Growth Fugue (Quartet ES)



Made up of established chamber musicians who reunited after a long separation, QuartetES brings a diverse and engaging presence to the concert stage. Since 2017 they have been in residence at Point CounterPoint Chamber Music in Vermont. In 2019 they were the Quartet-in-Residence at the Harpa International Music Academy in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Since giving his Carnegie Hall concerto debut in 1992, American violinist Anton Miller has appeared throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, and pedagogue. He has performed over fifty violin concertos with a number of orchestras on four continents. His most recent solo release on Naxos features the Kurt Weill Concerto for Violin and Wind Ensemble. Anton is on the violin and chamber music faculty at the Hartt School, and has been on the faculty of New York University, Oberlin Conservatory, Lawrence University, and Swarthmore College. He and his wife Rita Porfiris are the members of the acclaimed violin and viola ensemble, Miller-Porfiris Duo. American Record Guide said of the ensemble “You would have to go a long way to hear better duo playing than this.” He also serves as Concertmaster of Lincoln’s Symphony in Lincoln, Nebraska. Anton completed his MM at The Juilliard School studying with Dorothy DeLay and chamber music with Felix Galimir and members of the Juilliard Quartet. He received his BM from Indiana University as a student of Franco Gulli.

Ertan Torgul balances a busy career of solo, chamber music, and guest concertmaster appearances. He has performed with numerous orchestras including Indianapolis, Sacramento, Phoenix, Tucson, Dallas Opera, Shreveport, and San Antonio, among many others. From 1996- 2012, Mr. Torgul served as Associate and Acting Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Mr. Torgul has been a member of SOLI Chamber Ensemble since 1996 and has been serving as its Managing/Artistic Director since 2011.  In 2013 SOLI was awarded the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award for its innovative programming. Mr. Torgul is also a founding member of both the acclaimed SUONO Duo with pianist Aileen Chanco and “Quinteto Quilombo”, a Tango Quintet specializing in  “Tango Nuevo”. A former member of the Plymouth String Quartet, he received the Prix Mercure and prizes in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Paolo Borciani String Quartet Competition. His summer engagements include Mainly Mozart Festival in California, Point Counterpoint in Vermont, and Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. He has recently joined the faculty of University of California Santa Barbara as a Lecturer in Violin.

Praised by “USA Today” for her “richness of tone and impeccable articulation and for the warmth and subtlety of her phrasing”, violist Rita Porfiris has performed in major concert halls across the globe as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, and soloist. Currently Associate Professor of Viola and Chair of Chamber Music at The Hartt School, she has also been on faculty at New York University, University of Houston Moores’ School of Music, Florida International University, and the Harlem School for the Arts in New York. She has received Austria’s Prix Mercure, was a prize winner in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and the Primrose International Viola Competition, and a laureate of the Paolo Borciani International Quartet Competition as a member of the Plymouth String Quartet. Ms. Porfiris is a member of the Miller-Porfiris Duo with which she has released 4 CDs which have received critical acclaim. In her previous career as an orchestral musician, 15 years of which were spent with the Houston Symphony, she worked under some of the most recognized conductors of the 20-21 Centuries: Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Christoph Eschenbach. Ms. Porfiris received her BM and MM in Viola Performance from The Juilliard School, studying with William Lincer. Other teachers and mentors included Paul Doktor, Norbert Brainin, and Harvey Shapiro.

A graduate of The Juilliard School and a Fulbright Scholar, cellist Jennifer Kloetzel has concertized throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. A founding member of the San Francisco-based Cypress String Quartet, Ms. Kloetzel is noted for her elegant playing and her vibrant tone. In the past few seasons, she performed the world premiere of a Cello Suite by Daniel Asia and a Cello Concerto, “Cloud Atlas” and unaccompanied cello work “Lift”, that were both written for her by MIT composer Elena Ruehr. Ms. Kloetzel has been featured numerous times on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and her performances have been broadcast on radio stations from coast to coast.  A frequent guest soloist with orchestras, she has received the Copland Award for championing living American Composers and has commissioned and premiered nearly forty works, including five concertos written specifically for her. Ms. Kloetzel has recorded 25 CDs, including the entire cycle of Beethoven Quartets and the Brahms Sextets on the Avie label. In September 2016, Ms. Kloetzel was invited to join the faculty at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she teaches cello and chamber music.


Robert Carl (b.1954) studied composition with Jonathan Kramer, George Rochberg, Ralph Shapey, and Iannis Xenakis. His music is performed throughout the US and Europe, and is published by American Composers' Alliance, Boosey & Hawkes, Roncorp, and Apoll-Edition. His grants, prizes and residencies have come from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts, Tanglewood, Connecticut Commission on the Arts, Camargo Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ucross, Millay Colony, Bogliasco Foundation, Djerassi Foundation, the Aaron Copland House, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

He has been awarded a 2005 Chamber Music America commission for a string quintet written for the Miami String Quartet and Robert Black. An excerpt from his opera-in-progress Harmony (was presented in May 2005 in the New York City Opera’s VOX Showcase series. He is also the recipient of the 1998 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2007, Carl received a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council for travel to Japan to research contemporary Japanese composers. For fifteen years he was a co-director of the Extension Works new music ensemble in Boston. He is chair of the composition department at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, and writes extensively on new music for Fanfare Magazine. He studies shakuhachi with Ralph Samuelson.

Composer's Note:

Growth Fugue is a commission from my colleague, the violist Rita Porfiris, as part of  the "Hartt 100" centennial of the institution at which I have spent my entire professional life (which shocks me as I read it). The title is a terrible pun, as it is based the Beethoven Grosse Fugue, Op.133, which Rita requested be the source for any works written as part of the project. It is a set of "micro-variations" on the opening subject of the source. There are eight, one of each note of the theme, and each is transposed relatively to that pitch in the overall formal structure. Some are closer to the Beethovenian model, others take on a more modernist/minimalist slant. There are embedded algorithms throughout, but then what is a fugue if not an algorithm of sorts? They grow in length and complexity until about 2/3 of the way through, and then begin to contract. The whole thing should flash by like a fever dream. (And in fact, it was written as a sort of diversion from the anxiety of the spring 2020 coronavirus pandemic.) Of course, it's incredible chutzpah to write anything based on such a masterpiece, and I wouldn't have done it without Rita's prompting. But the theme is so rigorous yet pliant, it opens up all sorts of possibilities to explore. The challenge is too much fun to refuse. And how appropriate it came up at the Beethoven 250 celebration.


Growth Fugue - Robert Carl
Recorded at home across the US
Quartet ES: Anton Miller & Ertan Torgul, violin; Rita Porfiris, viola; Jennifer Kloetzel, cello.
Mastered by Robert Carl.
Property of Shelter Recording Project, American Composers Alliance