Ethel means nothing.
“It’s just a name. And it’s very liberating,” violist Ralph Farris said. “There are so many groups that are ‘Such and Such String Quartet,’ and then they are roped in to being a string quartet. We certainly are a string quartet. We look like a string quartet, we play those instruments, but at the same time, we have traveled down a slightly different path.”
The only label Ethel fits is “post-classical string ensemble,” a loose term. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. The quartet will perform at 4 p.m. today in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall as part of the Logan Chamber Music Series.
Ethel formed in 1998 with a commission by John King to play at the Philadelphia Ballet. The group took the same piece outside of the ballet setting and onto a concert stage. They have been moving from space to space ever since, displacing traditions and conventions as they go.