Art of Elan returns to North County for ‘Kontras Quartet & Friends’

Kontras Quartet
Kontras Quartet
(Gary Payne Photography)

Art of Elan’s unique talent for programming eclectic and innovative evenings of music continues with its upcoming “Kontras Quartet & Friends” to be presented outdoors on Thursday, April 21 at ICA North, Encinitas. Combining surf culture, classical music, art, video and photography, this will be a uniquely Art of Elan presentation.

For this program, the Chicago-based Kontras Quartet returns to San Diego for an evening of dynamic music-making and multimedia collaboration. They were selected as Art of Elan’s ensemble-in-residence in 2018 and performed at several venues including the San Diego Museum of Art, Lyceum Theatre, San Diego State University and the Music Box in Little Italy before the pandemic cut their residency short.

Heading north this time, the program features colorful music by some of today’s most innovative composers including Caroline Shaw, Jessie Montgomery, Javier Alvarez and Nathalie Joachim, as well as the long-awaited world premiere of the string quartet “Hidden Mothers,” whose premiere was originally scheduled for May 2020. Written by Boston-based composer Steven Snowden and commissioned by Art of Elan in 2019, this powerful piece reflects on the invisible sacrifices that mothers make on a regular basis. It was initially inspired by the Hidden Mother Photography trends of the 19th Century, where mothers were frequently disguised as furniture or other items in portraits in order to keep young children calm during the long exposure time.

“We are grateful for the ongoing partnership with our friends at ICA North. During the pandemic restrictions last April, we presented a highly successful concert in the education pavilion gardens that featured new music and dance. It was a very memorable evening and our audience is eager to return to that magical space,” explained Artistic Director Kate Hatmaker in a news release.

Followers of the “Sounds & Swells” series (a pairing of classical music with high-quality surfing films) will also be treated to the unveiling of a new project that features the music of Felix Mendelssohn and local footage from McCracken Films and Joey Taylor Photography, dramatically captured during the bioluminescence phenomenon of March 2020.

This one-hour program will take place outdoors at 7:30 p.m. in the Garden at the Education Pavilion, with a pre-concert reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. and admission to the current exhibits by Minerva Cuevas: Dark Matter and Greg Ito: All You Can Carry included with the price of admission.

ICA North (formerly Lux Art Institute) is located at 1550 South El Camino Real Encinitas, 92024. For tickets and more information, visit