Exploring the Evocative Repertoire of Sinta Quartet

Photo Courtesy of Marius Masalar.

Captivating the Greencastle community with their symphonic melodies, saxophone ensemble Sinta Quartet performed their musical collection “Spirits in the Machine” at the Kresge Auditorium of the Green Center of Performing Arts on Feb. 19. Ranging from 18th-century pieces to contemporary arrangements, the quartet presented a diverse repertoire that represented their own award-winning compositions along with their own unique renditions of classical and folk music.

The first half of the show covered a variety of funk and contemporary pieces including “Volcanic Ash,” “String Quartet in A minor, Op.132,” and “Ex Machina.” Meanwhile, the second half included the “Reel Set,” “Appalachia Waltz,” “Red Pine,” “Contrapunctus I and IX,” and “Unquiet Spirits.” The evocative nature of their performances brought the audience into a world of raw emotion and profound narratives through each careful undulation and musical technique of the saxophone group.

One of the unique characteristics of the Sinta Quartet is their ability to perform their pieces completely from memory, as they played their golden instruments without the presence of any sheet music. The evident passion and excitement for producing their musical compositions can be attributed to the strong connection between the members of the ensemble who all studied at the University of Michigan under the guidance of the acclaimed saxophone professor—Donald Sinta—the inspiration behind the quartet’s name. 

Moreover, as an avid viewer of fantasy and adventure movies since my childhood, Sinta Quartet’s performance transported me into an illustrative paradise of stories and human experiences. Through each soft hymn, I could hear the beating heart of Alice in Wonderland as she fell into an endless rabbit hole at Wonderland. Through each whisper of the saxophone, I could feel the fickle emotions unfolding in an 18th-century romance unfolding with two lovers running across the meadow. Every composition breathed life into the stories that captured important human experiences.

These powerful and profound characteristics of the saxophone quartet led to their global recognition, as they have performed their award-winning pieces across nine countries, along with prestigious locations such as Walt Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Beijing Center for Performing Arts. Yet the intimate environment of the Kresge Auditorium allowed the Sinta Quartet to connect with the Greencastle community in a more personal manner, as they shared insights about each composition before enrapturing the audience with their melodies. 

Among the breathtaking masterpieces presented in the show, the most memorable part was when the group asked if it was the audience’s first time to watch an instrumental ensemble. This simple yet thoughtful gesture highlighted their acknowledgment of listeners from various backgrounds and levels of musical expertise, highlighting how Sinta Quartet produces music to express human experiences that can inspire musicians, artists, and storytellers in the years to come.