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Anthony Constantino asks, Why Not?

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

Composer Anthony Constantino wonders, where do I fit into the larger picture? Why does the world need another quartet, another chamber work when so much great work has already been composed. The World already has Beethoven and Stravinsky, Bartok and Shostakovich. Did they not reach the pinnacle of what is possible in classical form? Thankfully, Anthony has figured out how to shut off his doubting mind. Constantino writes everything from chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music to large scale orchestral works and shows us that there is still plenty of room for new music in the old forms.

Anthony came to music through Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus. As a member of the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir, he had the opportunity to perform at many of New York City’s most important venues including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and David Geffen Hall with the New York Philharmonic

These experiences were integral to his evolution as a composer. He does not shun the traditional forms, finding creative liberation in the canvas they provide for his ideas. He draws from a wide scope of American influences, mixing sweeping lyricism with jarring dissonance. Most of all, his work aims to connect on a deeply emotional level without telling the listener what exactly they are supposed to be seeing or hearing. We hope you find something that moves you in his music. Tarik and I certainly have. If you want to know more about Anthony’s music, visit his website at Here is a link to the podcast. We hope you enjoy it!

Podcast Program:

Stars, I have Seen them Fall (3:37)

Performed by Hila Plitmann, soprano; Luanne Homzy, violin; and Marcia Dickstein, harp.

Program Notes: An introspective, existential examination of futility. A dichotomy exists within this futility; fallen stars do not detract from the beauty of the skies, but likewise, rain does not dilute the salt in the sea. We live consistently within this dichotomy and have no choice but to accept it as it is.

Text by A.E. Housman

Stars, I have seen them fall,

But when they drop and die

No star is lost at all

From all the star-sown sky.

The toil of all that be

Helps not the primal fault;

It rains into the sea,

And still the sea is salt.

String Quartet No. 1: Etudes

Performed by the Carpe Diem String Quartet: Charles Wetherbee & Marisa Ishikawa, violin; Korine Fujiwara, viola; and Gregory Sauer, violoncello.

In String Quartet No. 1, Constantino aims to bring a refreshing perspective to the timeless ensemble. Carrying on the tradition of his predecessors, he blends an undoubtedly American compositional style with a voice that is wholly his own. Listeners will find the structure of the work is comfortably familiar, with a fast and bright first movement, a somber second, and a culminating finale that recaptures and declaims the essence of the previous movements. This piece was written in 2018 and premiered in 2019 at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy by the Carpe Diem String Quartet. The composer has chosen to reject the notion that a work has to be imbued with preordained meaning. This is music with no ulterior intent that exists solely to inspire feeling in any listener that is open to receive it. These days there are so many pieces with a narrative but in quartet there is no story, and Anthony finds that liberating.

Sinfonia for string orchestra

By Anthony Constantino

Performed by the Russian String Orchestra, Misha Rachlevsky, director.

This work which uses a small five-note motive to move through a complex emotional journey. Weaving through states of fierce aggression, fear, passion, and reverence, the motive persists through each section culminating in a powerful, 12-tone, “metric fugue” which recalls the aggressive, occasionally frightening energy from before. Building into a bombastic coda, the piece ends with a final defiant outburst.

We hope you enjoyed the show. Please subscribe where ever you get your podcasts, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and keep in touch!

“I find above all that the expression, atonal music, is most unfortunate — it is on a par with calling flying the art of not falling, or swimming the art of not drowning.”

-- Arnold Schoenberg

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