When Iva Bittová sings, her voice darts its way in and out of a melody like the needle of a mad embroidery master. To listen to this Czech singer is to be transported to a place where you don’t know what will happen next — but you want nothing more than to find out.
Bittová, a violinist as well as a singer, joins the Los Angeles-based Calder Quartet on the FUZE! series at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at the Akron Art Museum. This is the fourth season for FUZE!, a collaboration between two Knight Arts grantees, the Akron Art Museum and Tuesday Musical Association. FUZE! tests the limits of classical music, pushing into other directions — much as the Calder did in its recent collaboration with The Airborne Toxic Event for a concert tour.
In their Akron appearance, Calder and Bittová will perform music by established Czech composers Béla Bartók and Leoš Janáček, as well as by Fred Frith, who began his career in the ’60s band Henry Cow and has since composed for respected new music groups, including the Arditti Quartet.
The Calder (named for the sculptor Alexander Calder) consists of members Benjamin Jacobson, violin; Andrew Bulbrook, violin; Jonathan Moerschel, viola; and Eric Byers, cello. It has made a successful sideline for itself with a program demonstrating the leadership principles that can be learned from a string quartet. As the members described it, the program “explores how a group finds a compelling direction without a defined leader.” During the day on Friday, business students, arts administration students and string students from the University of Akron will gather to hear the Calder’s presentation.
Reaching out in another way, the Calder will do a lecture-demonstration the day before the concert at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, a public magnet school in Akron. Tuesday Musical’s Executive Director Barbara Feld said she wanted the fourth- through eighth-grade students to hear the category-breaking Calder, because, “it’s important for young people to know that they need to learn the fundamentals and get the basic training, but there are more avenues open to them than ever before.’’
The Calder Quartet with Iva Bittová at the Akron Art Museum, One South High St., Akron; 330-376-9185, ext. 268; akronartmuseum.org.