About Us

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 Gonzalez, clarinet

Dan González (Clarinet)

Dan González Hernandez is a composer and improviser from Mexico City. His musical focus involves community practices and popular music, inevitably seen through an academic perspective. This mixed background has led him to explore the edge between popular music and the academy, using collective spontaneity as a way to understand community and develop awareness of otherness.

He holds a Bachelor Degree in Composition from CIEM (Mexico City) and a Composer/Performer MFA from CalArts. His pieces have been selected in festivals such as XLIII Festival Internacional Cervantino, el XXXIV y XXXV Foro de Música Nueva Manuel Enriquez or Sonosintesis 2016, and in 2013 he won the national composition prize from Baquetofonía Ensemble in Mexico.

His academic background has been accompanied by an empiric formation in traditional and popular music. He is musical director of the Mexican folk band “Los Molotes” with several appearances in National TV (Canal Once, Canal 22, TV UNAM) and performances in important venues such as Teatro Esperanza Iris, Sala Roberto Cantoral and Poliforum Leon.

He is also producer of “Chirimoyo”, an electronic music project mixing cumbia, improvisation and Latin rhythms, with performances largely in community driven venues in Mexico and Latin America (Panama, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and El Salvador).

He also has achieved meaningful collaborations with dance and video artists. In 2022-2023 he toured with “Cuando lleguen los bárbaros”, a multimedia piece about silence and revolution, created by the collective EnNingunLugar and presented in small venues in Central America and Brazil, looking for honest bonds to create artistic networks all over the continent. He also collaborated with dancer-choreographer Yanina Orellana in the piece “Todos somos hijos de la chingada,” a dance/theater piece presented in Greece, LA, New York, Mexico and Brazil.

Find out more at dangonzalez.net


Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth (Violin)

Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth — violinist, vocalist, and composer — is a versatile artist with extensive experience in a wide range of genres. Venturing beyond her Western classical roots, she embraces a diverse musical palette that includes Eastern European folk, Arabic, Norwegian hardanger fiddle, Americana, jazz, and popular music.

As a violinist, Yvette enjoys working with an impressive array of artists— including Kamasi Washington, Gaby Moreno, Van Dyke Parks, Ariana Grande, OneRepublic, and more. A collaborator at heart, Yvette is also a founding member of the non-traditional performer-composer collective Desert Quill Quartet and the cross-cultural chamber group Bridge to Everywhere. Currently based in Los Angeles, she has contributed to numerous film and television scores (Disney, FOX, NBC) both on and off camera. She is widely sought for her ability to compose, arrange, and improvise string parts on the spot.

Her duo project with guitarist Miroslav Tadić is a unique hybrid of Eastern European folk, Americana, and classical music. Their critically acclaimed debut album “Luka” was released on Croatia Records in 2021.

Utilizing her talents as both a vocalist and violist, Yvette thrives on interdisciplinary work in theater. She is a frequent collaborator with the innovative theater company Four Larks, including “katabasis” at the Getty Villa and a “thrillingly realized” (L.A. Times) adaptation of Shelley’s “Frankenstein” at The Wallis Center. In 2024, she performed in the Beth Morrison Project’s world premiere of “The Great Soviet Bucket” at Miami Light Projects.

Operating under the moniker Yvette Cornelia, she releases original music, including her debut EP “Open It Up” (2013) and the full-length album “What Lies Ahead” (2018). The latter, featuring her nine-piece ensemble, explores the intersections of chamber music, folk, and experimental rock. As a composer, Yvette has also had pieces performed by SF Civic Orchestra, Bay Area’s Awesöme Orchestra, CalArts Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and Bridge to Everywhere.

Raised in Northern California, Yvette is currently based in Los Angeles, California. She holds a Bachelor’s from UCLA and an MFA in Performance and Composition from the California Institute of the Arts. She is currently on music faculty at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.

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