THE SANDBOX OF INVENTION
Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in C Major; Op. 20 No. 2
The Brooklyn Rider Alamanac: Selections from Book II (Clarice Assad; Tyshawn Sorey; Giovanni Sollima; Gabriel Kahane)
Sofia Gubaidulina: Reflections on the Theme B-A-C-H
Robert Schumann: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 41 No. 1
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Michael Nicolas, cello
“They are four classical musicians performing with the energy of young rock stars jamming on their guitars, a Beethoven-goes-indie foray into making classical music accessible but also celebrating why it was good in the first place.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
With their gripping performance style and unquenchable appetite for musical adventure, Brooklyn Rider has carved a singular space in the world of string quartets over their fifteen-plus year history. Defining the string quartet as a medium with deep historic roots and endless possibility for invention, they find equal inspiration in musical languages ranging from late Beethoven to Persian classical music to American roots music to the endlessly varied voices of living composers. Claiming no allegiance to either end of the historical spectrum, Brooklyn Rider most comfortably operates within the long arc of the tradition, seeking to illuminate works of the past with fresh insight while coaxing the malleable genre into the future through an inclusive programming vision, deep-rooted collaborations with a wide range of global tradition bearers, and the creation of thoughtful and relevant frames for commissioning projects.
The upcoming concert season is strongly illustrative of the intrepid musical appetite of Brooklyn Rider. This fall, they began unveiling a major new commissioning and programmatic venture called The Four Elements; an exploration of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire) as metaphor for both the complex inner world of the string quartet and the current health of planet Earth. Featuring new commissions – each based on an element – by Andreia Pinto Correia, Conrad Tao, Dan Trueman, and Akshaya Tucker, this project also features existing works from the repertoire including Shostakovich’s 8th String Quartet, Dutilleux’s Ainsi la nuit, Golijov’s Tenebrae, and American folk music collected by Ruth Crawford, newly arranged by Brooklyn Rider’s own Colin Jacobsen. This winter, the quartet will also release The Wanderer, their first ever live concert recording, made at Paliesius Manor in eastern Lithuania while on tour last spring. The album consists of two works written recently for Brooklyn Rider: Gonzalo Grau’s Aroma a distancia and Osvaldo Golijov’s Um Dia bom. Also featured is Brooklyn Rider’s signature interpretation of Schubert’s iconic “Death and the Maiden” string quartet. This season also sees the quartet reuniting with Magos Herrera across the U.S. for their Dreamers project. Looking further into the future, they will expand work already underway with Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmah, including the future release of a collaborative album.
Brooklyn Rider has remained steadfast in their commitment to generate new music for string quartet at nearly every phase of their history. To kick off the 2017-18 season, Brooklyn Rider released Spontaneous Symbols (In a Circle Records), featuring new commissions by Tyondai Braxton, Evan Ziporyn, Paula Matthusen, Kyle Sanna, and Colin Jacobsen. In the 2015-16 season, the group celebrated its tenth anniversary with the groundbreaking multi-disciplinary project The Brooklyn Rider Almanac, for which it recorded and toured 15 specially commissioned works by musicians from the worlds of folk, jazz, and indie rock, each inspired by a different artistic muse. The Fiction Issue, with singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, featured his composition which was premiered in 2012 at Carnegie Hall by Kahane, Brooklyn Rider, and Shara Nova. Additionally, Brooklyn Rider has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the music of the iconic American composer Philip Glass, which began with 2011’s much-praised recording Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass and continued with two subsequent installments of Glass’s works for string quartet, all released on the composer’s label Orange Mountain Music. Numerous other collaborations have helped give rise to NPR Music’s observation that Brooklyn Rider is “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.”
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