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commissioning initiative

Welcome to the launch of the Friction Commissioning Initiative!



We've started this initiative as a platform for generous people like you to be an integral part of the commissioning process. We know that working together with our community of passionate music supporters, we can champion the creation of amazing new repertoire that will live for generations to come.


Composers have the unique ability to articulate the feelings and experiences of the contemporary world in a way that transcends language. They tell our stories and our truths with every expressive moment of their music. In this way, composers help define the history we are living.


This year we are commissioning six new works from composers around the world, and we are asking for your help to give each the opportunity to capture this moment in which we are living. All contributions to this initiative are tax-deductible and will be distributed solely to the composers.


This is your chance to be a vital and influential voice in the creation of today’s classics.  Let's create a living art form together!

History is not the past.
It is the present.
We carry our history with us.
We are our history.

James Baldwin

Our 2017 commissions were 50% funded!

meet the composers

Nicolas Benavides is an integral part of the SF new music scene and a recurring collaborator of ours. In the early days of Friction Quartet, Nick recalled his funky past in his piece And the horse you rode in on for Living Earth Show, Mobius Trio, and Friction Quartet. He also wrote a Charlie Parker Cantata for the String Quartet+Vocal Quartet project. In his genre merging works, Nick draws on his background in funk and jazz, as well as his expertise as a saxophonist and vocalist.

His new work will be a string quartet that explores, embraces, and glorifies what it means to be New Mexican. According to Nick: "The Land of Enchantment is a unique state with its distinct cuisine, music, culture, language, and landscape. New Mexicans comfortably exist and thrive on the border because of their centuries old traditions yet openness to new people coming from across the border. While not perfect, it's home, and I'm excited to bring it to new listeners."

Meet Nick

Mario Godoy is another staple of the San Francisco new music scene and a long time friend of ours. Shortly after Friction Quartet formed, Mario met Doug at an SF Symphony concert and mentioned a string quartet that he was writing. String Quartet no. 1 Cut and Run was one of the first large-scale new music works written for us. We premiered it in 2013, and it quickly became one of our favorite pieces to play. As we performed it more and more, we began talking with Mario about writing another full-length quartet for us. As a classically trained composer with a background as a saxophonist, Mario has a unique sense of rhythm and harmony that he uses to create compelling works. We absolutely love his work and are excited that the time for him to write his second string quartet has come.

Meet Mario

Piers Hellawell is one of the most important British composers of our time, and we are incredibly honored that he is writing his third string quartet for us. We met Piers at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in 2016 and it was love at first sight! We performed his second quartet, Driftwood on Sand, and it became one of our favorite pieces to perform. We gave the US Premiere of his first quartet, The Still Dancers, when he visited us earlier this year in San Francisco. During that time we also got to workshop sketches for his new quartet. His new work will be his first string quartet in fifteen years and we already know that it will be completely different than anything he has done before.

Meet Piers

Nicole Lizée is a French Canadian composer based in Montreal. She is creating unbelievable new worlds by integrating recontextualized mixed media with acoustic instruments. We are huge fans of her work with our friends, Living Earth Show and ‪Kronos Quartet,‬ and we know she will create a stunning work for us. In June of 2018, we will spend several weeks workshopping with her at the Lunenberg Academy of Music in Nova Scotia where we will be in residence with their Composition Academy. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Nicole for the first time.

Meet Nicole

Sarang Kim is a South Korean composer, pianist, and percussionist currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts at UC Santa Cruz. Doug had the pleasure of attending a performance of Sarang’s recent work, Oblivion, for Lightbulb Ensemble and Jack Quartet, and knew right away that she would write something exciting for Friction.


Sarang's compositions investigate a creative, cross-cultural approach to timbre, and explore other syntheses of East and West. Her new composition for Friction Quartet will be a ten minute, two-movement work juxtaposing gentle choral aesthetics and energetic rhythms.

Meet Sarang

In 2015, Max Stoffregen wrote a four-movement string quartet for us, The California Crest, that captures the magic and expanse of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Sierra Nevada range. A year later, Kevin and Doug performed his piano trio, Coyote Plan, at a Composers Inc.’s !BAMM! concert. After hearing his excellent piano writing, and being familiar with his string quartet, we knew he could create a remarkable work for piano quintet. His new work will be a reflection on his recent two-month hike across the Grand Enchantment Trail that spans from Phoenix, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Meet Max
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