(NEW LEBANON, N.Y.) – The innovative string quartet Brooklyn Rider will perform classical works by Haydn and Schubert alongside contemporary compositions by avant-jazz guitarist/composer Bill Frisell, jazz pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, and Glenn Kotche of indie-rock band Wilco, in the Tannery Pond Concerts Series at the Darrow School, on Saturday, July 18 at 8pm.
The quartet, which is often called a latter-day heir to Kronos Quartet, will play Haydn’s String Quartet in G minor, Op.74, No.3 (“The Rider”) and Schubert’s String Quartet in A minor, Op.29, No.13 (“Rosamunde”), as well as excerpts from their acclaimed new album “The Brooklyn Rider Almanac,” which features contemporary works commissioned by the group to commemorate its 10th anniversary.
The members of Brooklyn Rider – Colin Jacobsen, violin; Johnny Gandelsman, violin; Nicholas Cords, viola; Eric Jacobsen, cello – are also members of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and the Jacobsens are co-founders of The Knights.
Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), the game-changing string quartet Brooklyn Rider presents eclectic repertoire in gripping performances that continue to draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike.
NPR credits Brooklyn Rider with “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble”; the Los Angeles Times dubs the group “one of the wonders of contemporary music”; and Vice likens its members to “motocross daredevils who never screw up a stunt.”
Equally at home in clubs and concert halls, the quartet has played venues as varied as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Le Poisson Rouge, Japan’s Todai-ji, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn’s Littlefield, the Library of Congress, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and South by Southwest.
Through visionary programming and global collaborations, Brooklyn Rider’s “down-to-earth demeanor…demystifies contemporary classical music and invites everyone into the tent” (Time Out New York).
Celebrating its tenth anniversary with its most ambitious venture to date, Brooklyn Rider launches the 2014-15 season with the release of the “Brooklyn Rider Almanac” on Mercury Classics, accompanied by a U.S. tour. The album forms the centerpiece of a groundbreaking multi-disciplinary project for which the quartet commissioned 15 new works, each inspired by a respective artistic muse, from composers ranging from Wilco’s Glenn Kotche of indie rock fame to jazz icon Bill Frisell.
Like the quartet’s name, the project was inspired in equal parts by the cross-disciplinary vision of Der Blaue Reiter (“The Blue Rider”), the pre-World War I Munich-based artistic collective, and the exploding array of cultures and artistic energy found in the group’s Brooklyn home.
Upcoming highlights include a residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, crowned by the world premiere of Veils and Vespers by Pulitzer Prize winner John Luther Adams; the New York premiere of Chalk and Soot, a collaboration between quartet violinist Colin Jacobsen and choreographer John Heginbotham, at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival; and continued touring with banjo legend Béla Fleck, with whom Brooklyn Rider recently released “The Impostor” on Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics.
Summer brings the tenth anniversary season of the Stillwater Music Festival, a weeklong Minnesota chamber festival founded by the group in 2006 as a place to unveil new repertoire and collaborations.
Following the 2013 release of “A Walking Fire” on Mercury Classics, Brooklyn Rider showcased repertoire from the album for its Wigmore Hall debut and elsewhere on tour in the U.S. and northern Europe.
Superstar soprano Dawn Upshaw joined the quartet for performances at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Carolina. Recent seasons also saw performances at the Ojai Music Festival, the U.S. Open tennis tournament, the Cologne Philharmonie, Rome’s American Academy, Sweden’s Malmö Festival, the Lincoln Center Festival, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Texas’s South by Southwest, where the quartet was the only classical group with an official invitation to play.
Brooklyn Rider often appears under the umbrella of outside initiatives started by members of the group. In 2003, violinist Johnny Gandelsman created In A Circle, a series of New York performance events exploring connections between music and the visual arts. He launched In A Circle Records in 2008 with the release of Brooklyn Rider’s eclectic debut recording, “Passport,” followed by “Dominant Curve” in 2010, and “Seven Steps” in 2012; the first two albums made NPR’s year-end round-ups, while the third was named an NPR listener favorite.
In 2013, In a Circle released violist Nicholas Cords’s solo recording, “Recursions.” Colin and Eric Jacobsen are co-founders of acclaimed New York-based orchestral collective The Knights. All four members of the quartet enjoy longstanding participation in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, with which they have performed worldwide and recorded three albums for Sony Classical.
A public radio favorite, Brooklyn Rider has been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, On Point, All Songs Considered, Deceptive Cadence, and All Things Considered, WNYC’s Soundcheck, and American Public Media’s Performance Today, as well as on NY1 television in New York City. The ensemble’s recordings are played across North America on stations ranging in focus from classical to world, jazz, pop, and new music.