Desert Quill Quartet is a dynamic performer-composer collective featuring violin, viola, double bass, clarinet, and voices.
Dan Gonzalez (clarinet), Yvette Holzwarth (violin), Patrick Behnke (viola), and Ben Finley (double bass) are four performer-composers from diverse geographical and music backgrounds who co-founded Desert Quill Quartet in 2014. Their instrumentation opens an unplaceable and rich acoustic sonic palette—welcoming in improvisatory soundscapes, kinetic grooves, and personal/place-based compositions. Through multi-disciplinary collaborations, recordings, and live performances, you will hear cued in-the-moment sonic transformations that invite ears of all kinds into worlds that are playful, warm, expansive and deeply communicative. The Desert Quill Quartet—whether moving sound and space with dancers, soundtracking stop animations, or playing on mountain tops, in basements or in concert halls—sparks a fresh and a joyfully far-reaching ethos to contemporary music making and human connection.
Dan González (Clarinet)
Dan González Hernandez is a Performer, Composer, Improviser and Sound Artist originally from Mexico City. His art making explores the borders between popular and academic music, influenced by styles such as Mexican folk music, jazz, chamber music and electronic music, using improvisation as fundamental element. He holds a Bachelor Degree from the Music Studies and Research Centre (CIEM) and a Masters Degree in Composition and Performance from the California Institute for the Arts CalArts. Among his teachers are Enrico Chapela, David Roitstein, María Antonieta Lozano, Paul Novros, Phil O’connor, Ismael Sanchez and Bill Powell among others. His music has been performed in festivals such as the XLIII “Festival Internacional Cervantino”, “Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte Xcaret 2011”, XXXIV and XXXV “Manuel Enriquez Contemporary Music Forum” (FIMNME) and “Festival Sonosintesis 2016”. In 2017, he was part of ALUNA, a multidisciplinary installation that obtained the Honoraria grant from the Burning Man Festival. He has performed in venues from Mexico and the United States like the Julian Carrillo Concert Hall from Radio UNAM, Estudio A at The Mexican Radio Institute (IMER), Zebulon Café, The Troubadour, Auditorio Blas Galindo, el Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris and TV Shows such as “Calle 11” from Canal Once and “La hora elástica” from TV UNAM.
Find out more at dangonzalez.net/
Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth (Violin)
Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth is a violinist, vocalist, and composer from California. Her diverse musical interests expand beyond her classical background to include Eastern European folk, Arabic, Americana, experimental contemporary music, improvisation, and songwriting.
As a violinist, Yvette enjoys working with many independent artists— including Kamasi Washington, Van Dyke Parks, Gaby Moreno, among others. Based in Los Angeles, she records on numerous scores for Film and TV.
Her duo project with guitarist Miroslav Tadić is a unique hybrid of Eastern European folk, Americana, classical, and improvised music. Their critically acclaimed debut album “Luka” (2020) was released on Croatia Records.
As a composer, Yvette has had pieces performed by SF Civic Orchestra, Bay Area’s Awesöme Orchestra, CalArts Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and Bridge to Everywhere. She thrives on collaborative interdisciplinary work in theater, including Four Lark’s original productions of “katabasis” (Getty Villa) and “Frankenstein” (The Wallis). Yvette releases original music under the moniker Yvette Cornelia. Her debut EP “Open It Up” (2013) was followed up by a full-length album “What Lies Ahead” (2018), featuring a 9-piece ensemble.
Find out more at yvettecornelia.com
Patrick Behnke (Viola)
Patrick Behnke is a viola player, composer, and improviser working in acoustic, digital, and intermedia forms. His musical involvement includes a range of styles and interests from fiddling in various folk and traditional forms to collaborations with forward-minded pop and electronic musicians, and collaborations with digital artists and animators. Patrick’s work often explores cultivating interactions between communities of musicians and their environments, investigating how these interactions might ripen into varying points of view regarding sonic relationships and interpersonal-intrapersonal experiences.
Patrick was born in San Bernardino, California, raised in the metropolitan Detroit, Michigan area, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Patrick is an avid collaborator in creative music and holds his formative years improvising on viola in Detroit creative music communities as an integral piece in his artistic outlook. Patrick has appeared as a violist and electronic artist at venues in Los Angeles (Coaxial, Zebulon, Thymele Arts, SASSAS), Detroit (Trinosophes, SpreadArt at Detroit Contemporary, Sidewalk Festival, Detroit Bureau of Sound), New York (Scholes Street Studio), Chicago (Slate Arts), Boston (Washington Street Art Center) and Toronto (Anzac Club) as well as appearing as part of the Westben Fall Festival in Canada.
Find out more at patrickbehnke.com.
Ben Finley (Double Bass)
At the age of 14, Ben Finley plucked his first bass string. Everything changed! Immediately things fell still, without worry, in playful possibility. Miraculously, that feeling remains. Ben Finley is a collaborative performer-composer, singer, improviser, and writer grounded in acoustic and electric bass playing. He grew up on a music festival farm (Westben). There, he witnessed many ways of making music, entwined with land and creatures. Ben is the co-founder and creative director of the Westben Centre for Connection & Creativity’s Performer-Composer Residency and is Westben’s Sustainability Coordinator. He is a current Ph.D. candidate in the Critical Studies in Improvisation program at the University of Guelph, studying music festivals and creative music practices as sites of eco-cultural regeneration. He currently leads and co-leads several ensembles.
Find out more at benfinleymusic.com/