The Deadly Rhythms for String Quartet in Werckmeister III
World Premiere

Anti-Social Music
Sunday, May 9, 7pm
Renee Weiler Concert Hall
@ Greenwich House Music School
46 Barrow Street, NYC

Sunday, May 9, 2004, the Anti-Social Music Quartet debuts Alfred Giusto's "Deadly Rhythms" for String Quartet in Werckmeister III, in twelve movements. With influences from Shostakovich to Robert Johnson to Slayer, Giusto has created a completely new niche in string quartet writing. The piece is written in Werckmeister III, a system of well-temperament that consists of twelve notes with 39 distinct and different size intervals originally developed in 1691. Giusto has added polyrhythms and microtonal inflections from the 72 note system designed by Ezra Sims (also used by Joeseph Maneri).

The Anti Social Music Quartet consists of Jean Cook, violin, Emily Schelstrate, violin, Leanne Darling, viola, and Loren Dempster, cello. An extremely talented quartet that is able to handle all of the polyrhytms and microtones that Giusto could throw their way, they have already premiered one movement at an Anti-Social Music bi-annual Premieres concert. The success of that premiere led them to work for months on developing the entire work for a premiere.



How hard was it for you to adapt to the new tuning? Did you reach a point where you felt like you could "hear" the tuning, or is it still muscle memory for the intonation?

"I'm a bit of a control freak, so it was terrifying. If you think of tempered tuning as the Crayola 8, Werckmeister III was Al coming up to me and saying "I only work with Burnt Sienna, Melon, Salmon, Thistle, Spring Green, Bittersweet, Orchid and Apricot. You need to take these colors you've been working with, and give them these in between, yet exact shades. These are all colors we know and have done before, but for me never in such an exact and precise way."

At this point we've been rehearsing on and off for about six months and we've developed a few tools to help coach us through practices. Loren made this fabulous file using Max/MSP that generates sine waves in the correct pitches that we used to make tuning and practice CDs. Al's provided us with other practice CDs he jiggered too. Luckily for me I haven't really had to learn a lot of other music lately so I've been keeping Werckmeister III in my ear pretty regularly."


Alfred Giusto, born January 27, 1969, studied jazz guitar, jazz composition, and classical guitar as a teenager. He enrolled in Berklee College of Music and then transferred to New England Conservatory, in which he studied composition with Robert Ceeley, William Thomas McKinley, and Joseph Gabriel Maneri. Under Mr. Maneri's tutelage, Al began studying microtonal composition and the Schoenberg Harnony Method.

From 1999-2001, Al studied counterpoint with Leo Edwards, professor at the Mannes College of Music. Al is also a board member of The American Festival of Microtonal Music here in New York City and has futhered his knowledge of microtones through his discussions with Johnny Reinhard.

In 1995, Mr. Giusto's orchestral piece, Peace Cow, was released on MMC Recordings, Ltd. In 1999, the Flux Quartet performed the world premiere of Fear at New York University and since then have made it a part of their standard repertoire performing it at Miller Theater, Columbia University, the Oslo Kammermusik Festival, and the Melbourne Festival in Australia. Ill-Tempered for harpsichord, was performed at the 2000 Microthon in New York City. In 2001, as a member of the three piece band Blackgrass, they were featured on the recording Black Rose Liberation by Dr. Isreal. In April of 2003, Al performed and premiered his solo guitar pieces at Micro Fest, NYC and at the Long Island Guitar Festival, C.W. Post Campus, L.I. University. Thrash, the twelfth movement of The Deadly Rhythms was premiered by The Anti-Social Music Quartet at Cami Hall in Oct, 2003.

Al's also a fretless guitar player and loves Kung Fu and Slayer. His self released solo guitar CD, Giusto Fretless Resonator (Werckmeister III), is currently available. Any questions or for further info contact

Past Performances: