They Say it's Spring - string quartet

Ariel Lee (violin I), Sania Lin (violin II), Christopher Rogers-Beadle (viola), Emily Munstedt (cello)


Dedicated to my parents, and Dr. Whitman Brown 


I grew up in Cambodia but most of my influences came from music from the West.  My parents listened to French music from the 1940’s - 1970’s : Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, Georges Brassens, Charles Trenet and Jacques Brel.

My musical influences did not only come from French music but also from America.: Fitzgerald, Sinatra, Armstrong and later in my teens, Bill Evans and Blossom Dearie. I also developped,the summer before junior year, a fascination for South-American Jazz: Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim ,Tom Jobim and Elis Regina are amongst my favorites.

I started writing the first drafts of this string quartet some time in the winter of 2014, and completed it in April 2015. Writing a string quartet is a rite of passage for any composer, whether the result is good or not. I was inspired by the harmonies of Bill Evans, and the popular French song “ Que reste-t-il de nos amour” (by Léo Chauliac & Charles Trenet) as well as hints of Philip Glass.

I wrote this string quartet with the goal of writing something that conveyed a sensation of warmth to the listener. There are moments of deliberate lack of melody because I don’t want to send a message or tell a specific story. I want to initiate a feeling, a thought, a sensation. I am not pointing to a specific melody. I want the audience to come up with their own voice for the music that is given to them. It is quite a silly concept and I am a silly person for those who know me personally.

I wrote it specially for my senior recital and four string players to whom this piece is partially dedicated. It is also dedicated to my parents who have invested the past eighteen years of their lives to raise me and take care of their “free minded” daughter, driving me to countless music lessons and giving me the chance to find my own voice in leaving home to pursue my studies in the United States. To Dr.Brown, I am forever indebted to your guidance and teaching. If you hadn’t pushed me, I wouldn’t be attending the New England Conservatory in the Fall … as a composition major! I will also be the first Cambodian to attend NEC!