The FLUX Quartet is a string quartet devoted mainly to the performance of contemporary music. Besides newer music, however, it also performs rarely heard pioneering compositions from the early and mid-20th century, often unpopular repertory that divulges the FLUX players' ever-adventurous sense. Thus, one may find it performing such seldom encountered works as Kurt Weill's 1923 String Quartet, Op. 8, or Gyorgy Ligeti's 1954 Quartet No. 1, as well as late 20th and 21st century music by Annie Gosfield, Michael Byron, Ileana Pérez Velazquez, David First, Sophia Serghi, Yotam Haber, and scores of other contemporary composers. The FLUX Quartet has received much acclaim for its performances of Morton Feldman's challenging 1984 String Quartet No. 2. The quartet has toured the U.S. and abroad, and appeared at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall. It has performed on various radio broadcasts, including on NPR, and recorded for Albany Records, Mode, Tzadik, Centaur Records, and other labels.
The FLUX Quartet was founded in New York City in 1996 by four students at the Juilliard School. The original players were Tom Chiu and Cornelius Dufallo (violins), Kenji Bunch (viola), and David Eggar (cello). It chose the name FLUX to convey the sense that music is in a constant state of change and transition.
Ironically, in line with that sense of flux, the personnel has had numerous changes over the years, and of the original members, only violinist Chiu remains with the ensemble. The other players of the 2012 membership are Conrad Harris (violin), Max Mandel (viola), and Felix Fan (cello). The FLUX Quartet became active in the New York area from its earliest days, giving many acclaimed concerts, like those at the 1996 Summergarden Series at the Museum of Modern Art, where it premiered Alejandro Iglesias-Rossi's Khipus II, along with works by Dutilleux, Milhaud, and Renaud Gagneux.
The first of many changes in FLUX's personnel came in 1997 when Darrett Adkins replaced Eggar as the group's cellist. Adkins would remain a member until 2002. By this time FLUX's first recording was drawing notice, a 2001 disc of works by Annie Gosfield entitled Flying Sparks And Heavy Machinery, on Tzadik.
But it was the second recording that must be counted among its greatest achievements, a transfixing account of Feldman's String Quartet No. 2, which clocked in at just over six hours. Issued by Mode in 2002 on a five-CD set and single audio-only DVD, the performance, given without break over its marathon length, drew lavish plaudits, as did an October 2003 live performance of the work at Carnegie Hall.
FLUX's November 2005 account of the five quartets of Giacinto Scelsi at the Miller Theater in New York City was another landmark event. In June 2010 it performed Feldman's String Quartet No. 1 (a mere 90-minute work!) to great acclaim at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, a favorite venue of the group. For the 2010-2011 concert season the FLUX Quartet served as artists-in-residence at the College of William and Mary, where it performed many notable concerts, including Feldman's Second Quartet.