Brooklyn Rider: Genre-defying string quartet
(Posted on October 26, 2012) 8 p.m., Friday, November 9, 2012
Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
Pre-performance talk at 7:15 p.m.
Tickets: $35, $30
The adventurous, genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider performs at 8 p.m., Friday, November 9, 2012, at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Known for its gripping performance style and eclectic repertoire, Brooklyn Rider will present a program highlighted by the preview of a completely new work, "Morris Dance," composed by Ethan Iverson, pianist for The Bad Plus, and inspired by dance icon Mark Morris, with whom Iverson used to work. The program also includes works by Felix Mendelssohn, Igor Stravinsky, Béla Bartók, and Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin. A pre-performance talk with Alan Murchie, Fairfield University Adjunct Professor of Music, takes place at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $30.
Brooklyn Rider is comprised of Johnny Gandelsman on violin, Nicholas Cords on viola, and brothers Colin Jacobsen on violin and Eric Jacobsen on cello. Drawing critical acclaim from classical, world and rock critics, Brooklyn Rider is credited by NPR with "recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble." Through creative programming and global collaborations, Brooklyn Rider illuminates music for its audiences in ways that are "stunningly imaginative" (Lucid Culture). Born out of a desire to use the rich medium of the string quartet as a vehicle for communication across a large span of history and geography, Brooklyn Rider is equally devoted to the interpretation of existing quartet literature and to the creation of new works. Its fall season includes the performance of five world premieres. Much of Brooklyn Rider's desire to extend the borders of conventional string quartet programming has come from its longstanding participation in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. And when joining with this ensemble, they have performed throughout the world, recorded three albums for Sony Classical, and taken part in educational initiatives, family concerts, museum residencies, and media broadcasts.
Brooklyn Rider often appears under the umbrella of outside initiatives begun by all four members of the group. In 2003, violinist Johnny Gandelsman created In A Circle, a series of performance events in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn that explores 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 Best Classical CDs of 2008 and 50 Favorite Albums of 2010, and the third has already been chosen as an NPR listener favorite. The recordings have received glowing reviews from Gramophone, Strings, the Strad and the Huffington Post, as well as the online indie magazines Pitchfork, Vice, Nerve and Lucid Culture. "Forgive the hyperbole," wrote Strings, "but I've seen the future of chamber music and it is Brooklyn Rider."
A public radio favorite, Brooklyn Rider has been featured on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts, All Songs Considered, Deceptive Cadence, and All Things Considered, WNYC's Soundcheck, and American Public Media's Performance Today, as well as NY1 News TV 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.
The quartet founded the Stillwater Music Festival (MN) in 2006 as a place to unveil new repertoire and collaborations. As educators, Brooklyn Rider has enjoyed residencies at Williams College, MacPhail Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College, Texas A&M University, Denison University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen are also co-founders of the exuberant New York-based chamber orchestra, The Knights, in which all the members of Brooklyn Rider play.
The quartet's name is inspired in part by the cross disciplinary vision of Der Blau Reiter (The Blue Rider), a pre World War I Munich-based artistic collective whose members included Vassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Arnold Schoenberg, and Alexander Scriabin. In this spirit, Brooklyn Rider has created an online art gallery at www.brooklynrider.com that showcases the work of some of their friends. Proceeds are used to support new commissioning projects.
The Quick Center program features: "String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 12," by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847); a special preview of "Morris Dance" by Ethan Iverson (b. 1973), commissioned by the Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College in celebration of the Center's 50th anniversary; "Culai," by Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin (b. 1978), a commissioned piece made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund; "Three Pieces for String Quartet" by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971); "String Quartet No. 2" Sz. 67 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945); and a traditional work, "Music of the Roma." This performance is funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.
Tickets and subscriptions are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.quickcenter.com.
The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.
Image: Photo by Sarah Small (copyright) from 2011: (left to right) Johnny Gandelsman, Eric Jacobsen, Colin Jacobsen and Nicholas Cords.
Vol. 45, No. 89