About Momentary Quartet


Momentary Quartet:  four classically-trained musicians who create live improvisations together in the moment.

The Momentary Quartet is an ensemble of classically trained musicians who perform freely-improvised music based on the concept of deep listening: each member listening to his or her own inner emotional, spiritual and tonal world, with all members listening to each other in the moment. They create pieces in the best tradition of chamber music, with rhythmic and motivic conversations, silence, and imitation, in styles from contemporary classical to avant-garde to jazz to world music. The only plan followed for their programs might include a specific combination of instruments, or possibly a mood or tempo; the result is a product of intense spontaneous interaction. They enjoy providing opportunities for audience members to explore new directions with them.

The players (Jane Buttars, piano; Lin Foulk, horn; Harold McKinney, trombone; Patrick Whitehead, trumpet) originally met at workshops conducted by Music for People http://www.MusicForPeople.org, an international organization (founded by Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling) which trains people in the techniques of improvising music for self-expression. In this environment all participants, from beginners to professionals, are welcome to experience the creative process. The Quartet members embody the Music for People philosophy of inclusiveness and acceptance, commitment to personal authenticity, and immediate engagement in the adventure of play.


The Momentary Quartet recently presented concerts at the International Society for Improvised Music in New York City, at Western Michigan University School of Music, where its residency was supported by a grant from the University Cultural Events Committee, and in Princeton, NJ.  Its concerts of all freely-improvised music are often accompanied by workshops in which students and members of the audience join the Quartet to create their own music.  This format was followed in a concert for Music for People at SUNY Fredonia School of Music.


Quartet members facilitate interactive sessions in which participants explore creating music spontaneously. Music improvisation serves as a tool to help people develop freedom of expression, release their creative spirits, increase musical knowledge, and build community.

In a fun, supportive atmosphere, participants use voices, simple percussion instruments, or their own instruments, in whole group and also in small ensemble formats. Professional musicians as well as those with no musical training are welcome, and all communicate wordlessly, regardless of their experience with improvisation.