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About Circadian String Quartet

Bay Area based Circadian String Quartet was founded in 2013 to perform classical and contemporary repertoire of folkloric or cultural significance.

Since then CSQ has become known for bold original programming ideas that break boundaries or reach across cultures, that is why CSQ loves working with composers.  CSQ is proud to have given world and U.S. premieres of exciting new pieces of chamber music written by Sahba Aminikia, Ben Carson, Toronto-based Noam Lemish, and British composer Ian Venables.  They first performed Sahba Aminikia’s One Day Tehranlive on air on KPFA’s radio show “Music of the World” with Joanna Manqueros in 2015. Then in 2016 they commissioned Aminikia to write a new piece for string quartet and Narrator. The result, a glowing kaleidoscopic mixture of text by Allen Ginsburg and Hafez called The Weight of the World was premiered in 2017 at the Piedmont Arts center.


CSQ has also become known for its original transcriptions and compositions. In 2017 and 2019 their original transcriptions of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and the Firebird premiered to enthusiastic crowds and critical acclaim. In 2016 CSQ collaborated with narrator and historian Nikolaus Hohmann to tell stories from World War Two. For this project CSQ created short original pieces of music and text called “Chiaroscuros”which helped give their programs a narrative arc. Now there is a growing body of these short works which are now a regular part of all CSQ concerts. 


CSQ has been quartet in residence at the Music by the Mountain Festival in Mt. Shasta, featured in the April in Santa Cruz new music festival, and the members also serve as resident teaching artistists for the Villa Sinfonia’s Zephyr Point Chamber music workshop in South Lake Tahoe.  


Some of CSQ’s recent projects include their collaboration with world class santour player Hamid Taghavi, and the upcoming premiere of “Eurydice’s Defiance” David Ryther’s new Opera written especially for Kitka Soprano, Lily Storm and CSQ. These projects highlight the breadth of CSQ’s repertoire as they continue to expand the string quartet’s possibilities.

Press Quotes

“Last night in Old First Church, the Old First Concerts presented what was probably one of the most ambitious approaches to chamber music programming. The performing ensemble was the Circadian String Quartet…the ensemble’s approach to interpreting Ryther’s transcription[of the Rite of Spring] was consistently impressive.” 

-Steven Smolinar, Rehearsal Studio Blog 

“These four artists created a remarkable beauty at the bottom of their ranges, mining bitter grounds and translating them into direct emotion”


- Adam Broner, Piedmont Post 

“The Circadians conveyed the drama with keen sensitivity and hard bow strokes in their electric reading.”

- Paul Hertelendy, Artssf

“The four musicians arrived from some unfamiliar far-off planet, I think, perhaps grads of some galactic conservatory, and the results could not have been more refreshing. The secret of the Circadian Quartet is breaking with routine and pushing the envelope.”  

- Paul Hertelendy, Artssf    (April 15, 2018)


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