Brooklyn Rider Releases Four New Albums This Season; Collaborates with Joshua Redman, Martin Hayes, Béla Fleck, and Anne Sofie von Otter; and More

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Brooklyn Rider Releases Four New Albums This Season; Collaborates with Joshua Redman, Martin Hayes, Béla Fleck, and Anne Sofie von Otter; and More

Brooklyn Rider
, the game-changing string quartet whose “superb playing is matched only by the thought, commitment and inspiration its members pour into projects” (NPR Music), releases four new albums in the 2017-18 season, beginning with Spontaneous Symbols on October 20, besides performing music from the album and more on both sides of the Atlantic. They focus on quartet performances in the northeast of the U.S. in October, before revisiting Some of a Thousand Words, their ongoing collaboration with dancers Brian Brooks and Wendy Whelan, for dates in California and Maryland. In the New Year they join Anne Sofie von Otter for two European concerts, and back in the U.S. they tour with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck. Another transatlantic crossing takes them to Dublin and London’s Barbican with Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, before more performances around the U.S. in the spring. These include May collaborations with jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman in Princeton, Boston, and New York; and a West-Coast reunion with kamancheh virtuoso, three-time Grammy nominee, and longtime collaborator Kayhan Kalhor.

All the music on Spontaneous Symbols was written for Brooklyn Rider, by composers Tyondai Braxton, Colin Jacobsen, Evan Ziporyn, Paula Matthusen, and Kyle Sanna. As quartet violist Nicholas Cords puts it, the project “shows us once again at the core of our artistic mission as a string quartet; bringing new works to life.” Due for release on quartet violinist Johnny Gandelsman’s In a Circle Records, Spontaneous Symbols is Brooklyn Rider’s first quartet-only album since 2014’s Brooklyn Rider Almanac, and follows a series of recordings made in collaboration with artists like Fleck, von Otter and Gabriel Kahane. Later in the season the group will release three more albums. Recorded with jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, bassist Scott Colley, and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, Aspects of Darkness and Light is an evening-length work by saxophonist and composer Patrick Zimmerli, commissioned by the Seattle Commissioning Club. Next comes a collaborative album with legendary Irish fiddler Martin Hayes. Finally, on December 8 the Orange Mountain Music label issues the group’s recording of Philip Glass’s String Quartets Nos. 6 and 7 and Saxophone Quartet, as arranged for Brooklyn Rider. This follows the group’s recording of the composer’s first five string quartets, which was named one of NPR’s “50 Favorite Albums of 2011.”

Guggenheim Fellowship-winner Brian Brooks was one of the choreographers who contributed to Brooklyn Rider’s seminal, multidisciplinary Brooklyn Rider Almanac project in 2014. When the quartet premiered Some of a Thousand Words – a collaboration with Brooks and former New York City Ballet prima ballerina Wendy Whelan, in which the quartet’s kinetic onstage performance plays a central role – the project was hailed as a “triumph” (New Haven Independent). After its premiere two seasons ago, the intimate series of duets and solos was performed around the U.S. last spring, and Brooklyn Rider reunites with Brooks and Whelan this season for three more performances, in San Francisco and San Diego and then at the University of Maryland. Some of a Thousand Words again incorporates bespoke works, including those featured on Spontaneous Symbols by Tyondai Braxton and quartet violinist Colin Jacobsen, as well as music by Jacob Cooper, Philip Glass, and Pulitzer Prize-winner John Luther Adams.

When Brooklyn Rider released So Many Things last fall with Grammy Award-winning mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter, the disc was named “Album of the Week” by WQXR’s Q2, which observed: “As such versatile artists seize a kaleidoscope of styles with undaunted aplomb, So Many Things tears down the very concept of genre.” Colin Jacobsen’s music is again represented on So Many Things, alongside that of Caroline Shaw, John Adams, Nico Muhly, Björk, Sting, Kate Bush, Elvis Costello, and others. A live program based on the album also drew raves: the Washington Post admired Brooklyn Rider’s “intense, inspired performance” and von Otter’s “easy virtuosity.” Last season the quartet toured with von Otter in both Europe and the U.S., and they add two more performances this season: in Malmö, Sweden, and Potsdam in Northern Germany.

Brooklyn Rider’s collaboration with 14-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck dates back to Fleck’s 2013 album The Impostor, which features the quartet on his composition Night Flight Over Water. They also appear on the peerless banjoist’s 2017 album Juno Concerto, performing his Griff (G riff) and a movement from Quintet for Banjo and Strings, which he wrote in 1984 with virtuoso bassist Edgar Meyer. The group’s tour with Fleck next January takes in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, and Montana.

When the quartet plays with Kayhan Kalhor in the spring they will again be reuniting with an old friend and longtime collaborator. Like several of the quartet members, Kalhor has a long-standing relationship with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and Brooklyn Rider was featured on Kalhor’s 2008 recording Silent City – named one of Rhapsody’s best world-music albums of the last decade.

Whether in collaboration or alone, Brooklyn Rider continues to forge new territory in the classical realm and beyond. As the Washington Post put it a few years ago:

Brooklyn Rider’s blend of keen energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and ease of delivery, combined with the musicians’ tremendous talent, has forged a unique voice, which they skillfully deploy across a dazzling array of styles. Composer Greg Saunier has thanked them for ‘sneaking classical music out of museum jail.’ That pretty much says it all.”

Brooklyn Rider: 2017-18 season

Oct 13

Pawling, NY

Pawling Concert Series

Oct 19

New York, NY


Featuring works from Spontaneous Symbols

Oct 25

Washington, D.C.


Featuring works from Spontaneous Symbols

Oct 26

Baltimore, MD

An die Musik

Featuring works from Spontaneous Symbols

Oct 29

Amherst, MA

UMass Fine Arts Center

Oct 30

Boston, MA

Harvard Ed Portal

Featuring works from Spontaneous Symbols

Nov 29 & 30

San Francisco, CA

Herbst Theatre

San Francisco Performances Inc.

With Wendy Whelan, dancer and Brian Brooks, dancer/choreographer

Dec 2

San Diego, CA

La Jolla Music Society

Balboa Theatre

With Wendy Whelan, dancer and Brian Brooks, dancer/choreographer

Dec 9

College Park, MD

University of Maryland

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

With Wendy Whelan, dancer and Brian Brooks, dancer/choreographer

Jan 11

Malmö, Sweden

Malmö Live Konserthus

With Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano

Jan 12

Potsdam, Germany


With Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano

Jan 14

Dallas, TX

Dallas Center for Performing Arts

With Béla Fleck, banjo

Jan 15

San Angelo, TX

San Angelo Performing Arts Center

With Béla Fleck, banjo

Jan 16

Edmond, OK

Armstrong Auditorium

With Béla Fleck, banjo

Jan 17

Fayetteville, AR

Walton Arts Center

With Béla Fleck, banjo

Jan 19

Beaver Creek, CO

Vilar Performing Arts Center

With Béla Fleck, banjo

Jan 20

Boulder, CO

University of Colorado

With Béla Fleck, banjo

Jan 21

Billings, MT

Alberta Bair Theater

With Béla Fleck, banjo

Jan 24

Dublin, Ireland

National Concert Hall

With Martin Hayes, violin

Jan 25

London, UK

Barbican Theatre

With Martin Hayes, violin

Feb 9

Santa Fe, NM

Lensic Performing Arts Center

Feb 13

Fort Worth, TX

Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge

Feb 15

Greenville, SC

Peace Center for the Performing Arts

Gunter Theater

Feb 17

Columbia, MD

Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center

Feb 23

Hamilton, MT

Bitterroot Performing Arts Council

April 28

Sleepy Hollow, NY

Sleepy Hollow High School

May 16

Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University

May 18

Princeton, NJ

McCarter Theatre

With Joshua Redman, saxophone

May 19

Boston, MA

Celebrity Series of Boston

Berklee Performance Center

With Joshua Redman, saxophone

May 20

New York, NY

New York City Town Hall

With Joshua Redman, saxophone

May 24

Corvallis, OR

Austin Auditorium at the LaSells Stewart Center

With Kayhan Kalhor, kamancheh

May 26

Irvine, CA

Irvine Barclay Theatre

With Kayhan Kalhor, kamancheh

June 2

Dresden, Germany

# # #

© 21C Media Group, October 2017

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