Doug Machiz, cello; Otis Harriel, violin; Kevin Rogers, violin; Rachyl Martinez, viola
Melinda Martinez Becker, mezzo soprano
Clara Schumann Die gute Nacht, die ich dir sage; Ich stand in dunklen Traümen; and Der Wanderer
Fanny Mendelssohn String Quartet in E-flat major
and more tba!
Mezzo soprano Melinda Martinez Becker is a multi-faceted performer singing a diverse repertoire of baroque, contemporary classical, and experimental works. Her New Mexican and Jewish heritage shapes her career as a performer of art song in Spanish, Ladino, Yiddish and a variety of other languages.
As a soloist and chamber musician, she is recognized for her interpretations of various styles of music: “Throughout the program, mezzo-soprano Becker effortlessly switched tracks, from light Baroque singing to all the various demands of the new works”. (San Francisco Classical Voice) She is known for her “…notably expressive” vocal talents “particularly in light of all the styles she ha[s] to negotiate”. (The Rehearsal Studio) In addition to performing throughout the Bay Area, she has performed in Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Austria, and France.
Through her passion for chamber music, she is a founding member of Renegade Duo with guitarist Jon Mendle, a collaboration dedicated to performing uncommon and rarely heard repertoire for guitar and voice. As the vocalist of New Moon Duo with pianist Anne Rainwater, as well as the all-female Baroque quartet Liaison Ensemble, she brought historically-informed performances of predominantly women composers throughout history to a wide range of audiences in non-traditional venues.
Melinda’s collaborations with emerging new music composers and ensembles include projects with Nicolas Benavides, Brian Baumbusch and the Lightbulb Ensemble, Emily Koh, Mahsa Vahdat, George Hurd, Helia Music Collective, Musical Art Quintet, and as a soloist with the Classical Revolution Orchestra and Ukiah Symphony Orchestra.
Her operatic performances with companies such as Opera San Jose and Bayshore Lyric Opera have seen her in roles including Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Nireno in Giulio Cesare, the Page in Rigoletto, and First Spirit in The Magic Flute. Other roles performed include Anne Frank in Yours, Anne, and Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Melinda earned her Master of Music Degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying vocal performance with Catherine Cook. She continued on to the Conservatoire de Strasbourg in France to pursue her interest in chamber music. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and a Masters degree in Education from Santa Clara University. Through Project Canción Española, she studied and performed Spanish chamber music and art song at the Escuela Superior de Canto in Madrid and Música en Compostela in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
An active educator, Melinda has taught at Marymount California University, Université de Strasbourg in France, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, the French American International School and the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts. Melinda is currently on music faculty at Dominican University of California and maintains an active private teaching studio in San Francisco.
Friction Quartet, whose performances have been called “stunningly passionate” (Calgary Herald) and “exquisitely skilled” (ZealNYC), exists to modernize the chamber music experience and expand the string quartet repertoire. Friction achieves this mission by commissioning new works, curating imaginative programs, collaborating with artists, and presenting interactive educational outreach. Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle) declared that Friction Quartet is, “The Bay Area’s redoubtable new-music ensemble.”
Since forming in 2011, Friction has commissioned fifty works for string quartet and given countless world premiere performances. To support their mission of commissioning new music, they developed the Friction Commissioning Initiative to work together with their audience to fund specific commissions. Since 2017, they have raised $20,000 that has funded eleven new works, including five by young composers between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. In the past few years, they have been awarded commissioning grants from Chamber Music America and Intermusic SF. They have received additional grant support from IntermusicSF, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the California Arts Council.
Friction has held residencies at the New Music for Strings Festival in Denmark, Interlochen Arts Camp, Lunenburg Academy of Music, Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Old First Concerts, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and was the first ensemble in residence at the Center for New Music. They are ensemble educators with San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music Program, KDFC Playground Pop Ups, and more.
Friction appears on recordings with National Sawdust Tracks, Innova Records, Albany Records, and Pinna Records. Their recent albums include Rising, featuring three commissioned quartets about the changing climate and the landscapes of California, and Counter Paint, a collaborative multimedia project created by Pascal Le Boeuf and Danny Clay. They released their full-length debut album, resolve, in 2018.
Friction Quartet won Second Prize in the 2016 Schoenfeld Competition, were quarter-finalists in the 2015 Fischoff Competition, and placed second at the 2015 Frances Walton Competition.