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New Thread Quartet: Works by UCLA Faculty and Student Composers

Co-presented by the UCLA Music Library, Davise Fund and the R.U. Nelson Fund

New Thread Quartet

        Jonathan Hulting-Cohen – Soprano Saxophone
Kendra Wheeler – Alto Saxophone
Erin Rogers – Tenor Saxophone
Zach Herchen – Baritone Saxophone


Tuesday January 30, 2024

Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center: Ensemble Room



New Thread Saxophone Quartet

Jonathan Hulting-Cohen – Soprano Saxophone
Kendra Wheeler – Alto Saxophone
Erin Rogers – Tenor Saxophone
Zach Herchen – Baritone Saxophone
See Bio

New Thread Quartet was formed with the mission to develop and perform impactful new music for the saxophone, and to provide high level ensemble playing to feature today’s compositional voices. In 11 seasons, the quartet has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works by composers such as Amy Beth Kirsten, Richard Carrick, Ben Hjertmann, Ebun Oguntola, Scott Wollschleger, Victoria Cheah, Taylor Brook and Emily Koh.


Based in New York City, New Thread has performed at Carnegie Hall, Roulette, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Morgan Library, Bang on a Can Summer Festival Benefit, and Monadnock Music. The quartet has performed, toured and recorded important works for saxophone quartet including Marilyn Shrude’s Evolution V with John Sampen, soloist, Erin Rogers’ Urban Composites at the World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland; and the premiere recording of Elliott Sharp’s seminal work Approaching the Arches of Corti for 4 soprano saxophones, recorded with Grammy-winning engineer, Judith Sherman, available on New World Records. New Thread released its debut album Plastic Facts in 2018 on New Focus Recordings and in 2020 recorded three works on [word]plays, an album by Emily Koh, now available from Innova Recordings.


Ensemble members are Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (soprano saxophone), Noa Even (alto saxophone), Erin Rogers (tenor saxophone), and Zach Herchen (baritone saxophone).

See Bio

Jonathan Hulting-Cohen

Soprano Saxophone See Bio

Saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen made their concerto debut with the Philadelphia Classical Symphony in 2011. As recitalist and chamber musician, Jonathan has performed at Chamber Music Northwest, Carnegie Hall, Virtuosi Concert Series in Winnipeg and the Edinburgh FringeFestival. Jonathan is Associate Professor of Saxophone at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, plays in The Moanin’ Frogs and Admiral Launch Duo, and endorses Conn-Selmer, D’Addario Woodwinds, Key Leaves and Silverstein products.



See Bio

Kendra Wheeler

Alto Saxophone See Bio

Innovative and passionate, Dr. Kendra Wheeler has established herself as a well-known performer, teacher, and scholar. She has appeared and given solo recitals, masterclasses, and guest artist residences across North America, South America, and Europe. International and nationally renowned organizations have recognized Wheeler’s work. Moreover, Wheeler is an active adjudicator for regional, state, and national solo and ensemble competitions, honor bands, and saxophone competitions. Dr. Wheeler embraces new mediums for the saxophone through interdisciplinary collaborations and chamber music. She is a member of Alecto Collective and Kakia Gkoudina (composer, electronics, visuals) in a contemporary saxophone duo with Dr. Kyle Hutchins. She is the alto saxophonist in the Medusa Saxophone Quartet. Dr. Wheeler serves as an Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Central Washington University. She is an Eastman Artist, playing the EAS 850 Rue Saint Georges, and a Légère Reeds, Silverstein Works, and Key Leaves performing artist.

See Bio

Erin Rogers

Tenor Saxophone See Bio

Saxophonist/Composer Erin Rogers is founder and Co-Artistic director of NYC-based ensembles: thingNY, Popebama, New Thread Quartet, Hypercube and a core member of LA-based WildUp. Her music has been performed worldwide at the Celebrity Series (Boston), David Geffen Hall (Lincoln Center), Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Prototype, Ecstatic, and MATA Festivals, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Centro Nacional de las Artes (Mexico City), Carnegie Hall, and NYmusikk Bergen (Norway). Rogers is a D’Addario Woodwinds and Conn-Selmer artist, a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center teaching artist, and Co-Chair of the Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Performance Program. Rogers has recorded two solo albums for Relative Pitch Records.



See Bio

Zach Herchen

Baritone Saxophone See Bio

Saxophonist Zach Herchen performs contemporary, jazz, and rock music. He has premiered dozens of pieces ranging from Japanese noise rock to jazz tone poems to multimedia works. He performs with First Construction, Emerging Voices Project, Rhymes With Opera, Quiet City, and Man Down. Zach has served on staff at NEC’s Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice and was an artist-in-resident at Wildacres Retreat. He has performed at BU’s Spectral Summer Professional Performance Workshop, the SEAMUS National Conference, Third Practice Electroacoustic Festival, the 4th International Master-Class for Classical Saxophone, and the Look & Listen Festival. Zach has performed as a soloist in Italy, Sweden, Germany, and at various American institutions. Zach holds a MM and BM in Saxophone Performance (and BM in Recording Arts Engineering) from The Peabody Conservatory.



See Bio


Sydney Wang

Little Thrift Shop (2024)



Kay Rhie

Night Blooms (2019, rev. 2023)


Peter Golub

Florestan and Eusebius (2015, revised 2024)



Austin Ali

Four Chorales – Nos. 1 and 2 (2024)


Charles Burns

The Resonant Veil



David S. Lefkowitz

Spiral Galaxy (2011)


Noah Meites

Fracture Mechanics (2022)



John Hollywood

Afterwards (2024)


Morgan Moss

Rabbit (2024)

Donor Acknowledgement

This event is supported by the Hugo and Christine Davise Fund for Contemporary Music.

This program is made possible by the Joyce S. and Robert U. Nelson Fund. Robert Uriel Nelson was a revered musicologist and music professor at UCLA, who, together with his wife, established a generous endowment for the university to make programs like this possible.

Program Notes

Austin Ali,  Four Chorales – Nos. 1 and 2 (2024)

Four Chorales represent four snapshots from my composing journey in LA, one from each year I have lived here. Totaling now fifty entries, my Chorale Journal serves as a place for both musical experimentation and inspiration. I can think of no better ensemble than the New Thread Quartet to bring these chorales to a live audience for the first time.

“2021” dates to October 1 st , 2021, the first chorale I wrote after starting in-person classes at UCLA. You can hear my genuine love for music and the pure joy of finally making music together in-person.

“2022” traces to September 2 nd , 2022, far after I had settled into LA and became comfortable enough to experiment. You’ll hear some hints of bitonality and experiments in timbre, inspired by collaborating with the New Thread performers.

As for “2023” and “2024,” I will post them on my website! (austinali.com)
A special thank-you to Dr. Noah Meites, the UCLA composition division, and the New Thread Quartet for their efforts in making this residency possible.


Charles Burns, The Resonant Veil (2024)

something something Palestrina something


Peter Golub, Florestan and Eusebius (2015, revised 2024)

About 10 years ago I was on a flight to Bratislava to record a film score.  I had scheduled 14 hours to record about an hour of music and I thought it very possible that I’d have an hour or so of extra studio time. Wanting to take advantage of the large orchestra, on the plane I wrote several short studies.  One of these studies I adapted for the first section of this saxophone quartet which I wrote in 2015 for a commission from Skidmore College. And with the exciting prospect of a performance by New Thread, I rewrote the ending, which never felt right. The first section is very circus-y, which is something I generally like to do with winds and brass.  After that the piece alternates between extroverted and introverted, ecstatic and calm, brash and dolce.  Hence the title, which refers to Robert Schumann’s alter egos.


John Hollywood, Afterwards (2024)

This piece is about trying to hold onto a good memory by fixing it in one’s mind. Of course this can’t be done, and distortions are inevitable. I’d like the overall tone to be earnest and warm.


David S. Lefkowitz, Spiral Galaxy (2011)

Spiral Galaxy is a seven-minute piece exploring the ideas of melodic intrusion and rotational symmetry. The first movement, Galactic Intrusion, is entirely diatonic: it is not the harmony, but the melodic movement of one line into — and emerging out the other side of — the midst of a swirling tremolo.
The second movement, Spiral Galaxy, also juxtaposes strongly- directional lines against a simple harmonic background. In this movement, the harmonic background (played with slap-tongue articulations) is far more active, while the lines move precipitously toward or away from that harmonic core.
Both movements are constructed so that each gesture or passage in the piece is subsequently repeated upside-down and backwards — hence the “rotational symmetry.” This symmetry, and the way the lines spin into and away from the center, are reminiscent of images of spiral galaxies, seen from the Hubble Telescope (and as shown on the cover of this music).

Spiral Galaxy was written for the Angeles Saxophone Quartet (Christopher Elchico, soprano, Ryan Weston, alto, Umut Dursun, tenor, and Andrew Barnhart, baritone saxophones), and was premiered by them on the 1st of March, 2011.


Noah Meites, Fracture Mechanics (2022)

Flaws in the material produce
stress concentrators that cause premature failure
Sharp corners produce
large stress concentrations
Intergranular, Transgranular, Elastic Strain Energy
Stress intensity is a function of loading,
crack size, and structural geometry
Cracks grow faster as amplitude increases


Morgan Moss, Rabbit (2024)

Originally a work for solo piano, Rabbit has been adapted for the New Thread Quartet. The sweet and playful nature of the music is enhanced by the flexible expressivity of this new instrumentation, and New Thread’s virtuosity both as soloists and as an ensemble bring the work bounding to life! While the music was originally written as an assignment on broadening our musical horizons, it has gained new life as a concert work. This piece is dedicated to Dr. Kay Rhie, also featured on the program tonight: Thank you always for your wisdom, guidance, and open-mindedness; this piece would not exist if it weren’t for you!
Thank you also to the New Thread Quartet and Dr. Noah Meites for making this concert possible… We all so appreciate you sharing your knowledge, talent, and contributing to new music by commissioning new works for saxophone quartet (and being kind enough to play them)!


Kay Rhie, Night Blooms (2019, rev. 2023)

Night Blooms was written shortly after the passing of my father in 2019 and recently revised for New Thread Quartet. My father was a writer, most active during the 1960-80’s in South Korea until the family immigrated to the States. Since the move, he had taken odd jobs until he started working for a local Korean newspaper in Los Angeles. He never returned to creative writing since the immigration. I don’t think I ever asked why.
Spending many late hours at the hospital where he spent his last days, mostly reliant on the breathing machine which consistently expanded and shrank, I was reminded of the flowers that bloom only during the night. This was especially after I found among his medical papers a large collection of articles and scribbles – all of which were obviously possible source materials for his to-be-written stories. I sensed bursts of desires there that I did not know about. Like the night flowers that bloom when people are asleep, my father and many first-generation immigrants probably dreamed of beautiful “blooms” during the quiet hours when not too many took notice.

In the beginning of the piece, fragmented gestures are driven with energy but often interrupted by silence, until finally a continuous gesture blossoms into a sweeping motion. Then the piece evolves into longer melodic materials, or an elegiac dance, ending with a rather peaceful celebration of quietude.

Kay Kyurim Rhie


Sydney Wang, Little Thrift Shop (2024)

In the town where I grew up, there was a little thrift shop a few minutes from my house that my mom and I would visit now and then – sometimes in search of a specific item, but most times to simply enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the shop and its friendly employees. I loved that each item in the shop – be it a worn old book, a faded silk dress, a vintage clock, or a stuffed teddy bear – held a story within it, a vignette of a time in its owner’s life. And as a lover of stories, I enjoyed imagining what role – big or small – each item once played. To me, a thrift shop is a joyful and whimsical example of what it means to find wonder in the little things in life, and I sought to capture that essence in Little Thrift Shop.