Press Release: Music For Strings

Press Release 

Composer Uses Genetic Algorithms to Make Music

“It is a different way of thinking about the problem of writing music,” says composer Rodney Waschka II of his work with genetic algorithms.

Waschka has released a new compact disc that features music made with genetic algorithms. Genetic algorithms model some concepts of genetics into a computer program to produce potential solutions to various problems. Waschka created a computer program, called GenDash, which he has used to help him compose three large-scale works on the new compact disc, Music For Strings.  The CD was recorded by the Nevsky String Quartet of St. Petersburg, Russia and is available on Capstone Records of Brooklyn, New York.

“I use a number of different algorithmic procedures in my work, and I find genetic algorithms to be quite flexible and helpful,” Waschka commented.  “There are two string quartets on the disc and a work for viola alone that were composed using genetic algorithms.”

Genetic algorithms, also known as “GA’s” or “evolutionary computation", have been used by Waschka, a professor at North Carolina State University, to make the pieces, String Quartet: Laredo; Six Folksongs from an Imaginary Country; and String Quartet: Ha! Fortune that appear on the disc. 

The performers on the recording are the Nevsky String Quartet (Tatiana Razoumova and Anna Tchijik, violins, Vladimir Bistritsky, viola, and Dmitry Khrytchev, cello), winners of the Barenreiter Prize, and the Swedish International String Quartet Competition. The Quartet has performed at numerous festivals including the Edinburgh Festival of Music and Art, the European Podium of Young Soloists in Graz, Austria, and they have toured the United States including a performance at Lincoln Center in New York City. The Nevsky String Quartet has recorded for various labels and for the BBC.

The Nevsky Quartet premiered the String Quartet: Laredo at the Sheremetev Palace in St. Petersburg in 2002 and the String Quartet: Ha! Fortune and Six Folksongs from an Imaginary Country at the Composers’ Center in St. Petersburg in 2003.

“It was a wonderful experience in every way to have the Nevsky String Quartet perform and record these pieces,” said Waschka, “they play beautifully, respond to each other almost instinctively, and rise to every challenge with professionalism and enthusiasm.”

Composer Rodney Waschka is known for his algorithmic compositions including two operas, and numerous vocal and instrumental works. His pieces have been presented throughout the world,  including performances in New York City, London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Tokyo, Jerusalem, Berlin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Oslo, Cologne, Beijing, Chicago, Miami, Montreal and many other places.  Waschka's works have been recorded for labels in the USA, Canada, and Portugal.

Waschka, an internationally recognized expert on algorithmic composition, recently contributed a chapter, “Composing with Genetic Algorithms – GenDash” to the book, Evolutionary Computer Music, published by Springer of London. Waschka’s music has been called “profound”, “entertaining”, “thoroughly enjoyable”, and “strikingly charismatic” by such publications as Musical Opinion of London, Computer Music Journal, The Dispatch of South Africa, and Paris Transatlantic Magazine.

Other works on the Music for Strings CD are Xuan Men for violin alone recorded by Tatiana Razoumova, first violinist of the Quartet and Ravel Remembers Fascism recorded by Dmitry Khrytchev, cellist for the Quartet.

Xuan Men was premiered in Shenzhen, China in 1991 and Ravel Remembers Fascism was premiered in the Los Angeles area in 1992. 

More information at