five etudes for viola solo

Jack Van Zandt

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five etudes for viola solo

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Composer Jack Van Zandt
Year of Composition 2014
Duration ca.16'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-jvz1s1


  1. Earth; II. Air; III. Water; IV. Aether; V. Fire

The title Stoicheia is the Greek word for the five physical elements recognized in the science and philosophy of ancient Greece: earth, air, water, ether, and fire. Each etude explores different technical aspects of viola playing in various combinations—including multiple stops, special string effects, and different styles of bowing and plucking, etc.—in music utilizing common musical materials and scales: modal, chromatic and atonal. While the etudes are designed as challenging studies in viola technique for a very experienced performer, they also provide an equally challenging platform for specific compositional studies influenced by earlier models of etudes by Bach, Bartok, Ligeti and Xenakis, among others.

Note: There are two related but different fourth movements, “Aether,” provided in the score. One version (IVa) requiring live electronic enhancements, and another (IVb) that requires no electronics. The performer is free to choose which they will play.

The premiere performance of Stoicheia was by Alma Fernandez at the 2015 Hear Now Festival in Los Angeles.