The Permian Basin String Quartet will make its return for the second performance of the season with its “String Theory” performance.

The event is scheduled 3 p.m. Sunday at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center in the Rea-Greathouse Recital Hall.

The Permian Basin String Quartet is the resident quartet of the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale and is comprised of the principal string players of the orchestra.

The members have developed a loyal audience and a reputation as a leading ensemble in the Permian Basin.

This concert, press information detailed, will explore the profound ideas of death and grief while also bringing peace and nostalgia throughout the music.

The performance will feature three different pieces including the “String Quartet in B Minor, Op. 11” by Samuel Barber as well as “Strange Beloved Land” by Paul Wiancko and String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810 “Death and the Maiden” by Franz Schubert.

The Permian Basin String Quartet is composed of conductor and violinist Alejandro Gomez Guillen, violinist Sarah Cranor, cellist Amy Huzjak and violist Conrad Sclar.

Sclar talked about some of the many things the audience can expect from Sunday’s performance.

“A lot of the music is written around the program is Samuel Barber’s String Quartet in D Minor,” Sclar said. “The second movement of that quartet is the adagio for strings that a lot of us learned in high school. It’s a very common piece that’s very fun to play.”

Barber is regarded as one of the great American composers of the 20th century. His first composition, “Sadness” was written at the age of seven.

Many of Barber’s works across all genres remain solidly in the repertoire and his musical vocabulary is tonal, lyrical, accessible and distinctively his own.

“Part of it is the range of music that we have here from Barber is tonal, everything fits,” Sclar said. “There are no extended techniques but the way the voices interact is incredibly unique and it’s very, to use his jargon, neo-romantic. He wrote the piece after what most folks consider the romantic era. But, the way he writes is really, in some ways, it’s almost hard to follow the voice.”

In “Strange Beloved Land”, composer Paul Wiancko began writing the piece before his father Gene Wiancko passed away.

Grief kept the young Wiancko away from music for a time, however he was eventually drawn back to it. It’s known as an ode to his father’s adventurous spirit and love of people.

“The quartet is his processing of that grief,” Sclar said.

Sclar describes “Strange Beloved Land” as “very modern.”

There’s a lot of incredible harmony,” Sclar said. “There’s some extended technique. There’s a lot of polyrhythm, it’s almost like hearing a monologue. It’s language more than it is typical musical tonality.”

The final piece will be Schubert’s “String Quartet in D Minor” which Sclar described as a “death march.”

“It sort of tells the facilitating story about the interaction of death and a woman,” Sclar said.

Schubert’s quartet has been described as a “pillar of romantic era chamber music and a transitional era chamber.”

“It’s a really remarkable piece and a lot of fun to explore this music and there are a lot of nice melodies for everyone and that’s something that not everyone gets so that’s also nice,” Sclar said.

The last concert for the Permian Basin String Quartet was back in November.

Sclar said preparing for this performance has been “nothing but fun.”

“Every musician is an incredibly high level musician in the quartet,” Sclar said. “We’re a wide-range of education focuses and professional experiences and everybody prepares at a high level. We all get along really well. we get to make really fun, musical decisions. There are also a lot of fun technical decisions that a lot of times we don’t get to make in a young professional quartet and it really makes for a fun, music-making process. We get to experiment with the music and we get to be spontaneous and it’s just nothing but fun to do.”

Sclar joined the string quartet at the beginning of the season last fall.

The Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale will change its name to the West Texas Symphony this summer after this season concludes.

“We’re excited,” Sclar said. “The symphony is making some changes. It’s just really nice to be a part of this recovery season after COVID. We’re really appreciative that people are coming out to support us. We really hope to see a lot of our students there. The cellist (Huzjak) and I live in town and we get to work pretty regularly with high school kids and we’re really excited to see some of our students there and we’re excited to share this music with our community that’s very enthusiastic about it and to provide a high quality experience. We’re grateful that everyone keeps helping us and keeps contributing to our experience.”

If you go

  • What: String Theory: Permian Basin String Quartet.
  • When: 3 p.m. April 3.
  • Where: Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center Rea-Greathouse Recital Hall.
  • Where to purchase tickets: