About the Piece

Instrumentation: String Orchestra
Duration: 5 min

Program Note:
Third Movement of String Quartet No. 1 – may be performed separately. Recording on Telarc Label with Ying Quartet released January 2008.

Pizzicato is a short work for string quartet, the duration of which the players never use their bows. The central sound produced is that of plucked strings as well a few surprises in the middle and towards the end of the work. Inspired by listening to Asian folk music, the piece is influenced partly by the music of the Chinese plucked instruments pipa and qin as well as by the energetic rhythms of Indonesian gamelan.

Pizzicato was read by the American String Quartet while I was an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) in New Smyrna Beach, Florida from April 29–May 17, 2001. Funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center, the entire string quartet, a four-movement composition in which Pizzicato is the third, was premiered by the Avalon String Quartet on January 24, 2004 as part of the Chamber Music Columbus series in Ohio. The string quartet version has been recorded by the Ying Quartet and is commercially available on the Telarc CD entitled “Dim Sum,” featuring short works for string quartet by Chinese American composers.

Conductor’s Perspective

For strings only. The style is somewhat minimalist, but very effective. It takes some time rehearse it gradually to toughen up the plucking fingers and for the ensemble to get tighter. Added advantage that it is available for purchase.

Challenges: some rhythmic and ensemble coordination challenges, but mostly pizzicato techniques, accents, pizz glissandi, strumming, etc.

About the Composer

Juno Award-winning composer Vivian Fung has a unique talent for combining idiosyncratic textures and styles into large-scale works, reflecting her multicultural background. “One of today’s most eclectic composers” (NPR), she has a deep interest in exploring cultures and is passionate about fostering the talent of the next generation.


Performance Materials

Purchase Score and Parts through Bill Holab Music

Perusal Score on issuu:


Recording on Youtube by the Manhattan Chamber Players (Quartet version)