Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), the String Quartet Brooklyn Rider presents eclectic repertoire and 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.”
Last season Brooklyn Rider presented the project Healing Modes, which takes a holistic view of Beethoven’s Op. 132 combined with five commissioned works by Reena Esmail Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts and the two Pulitzer Prize winners Caroline Shaw and Du Yun. They explore the theme of healing from a variety of historical and cultural perspectives – a topic that could not have been more relevant within the events of 2020. In March 2020 the New Yorker praised the concept of the recording as convincing and the playing of the four as persuasive.
In 2019 two albums – featuring instrumentalists who are at the forefront of their respective genre: jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman (Sun On Sand) and Irish fiddle master Martin Hayes (The Butterfly) – were released.
In fall 2018, Brooklyn Rider released Dreamers on Sony Music Masterworks with celebrated Mexican jazz vocalist Magos Herrera. The recording includes gems of the Ibero-American songbook as well as pieces written to texts by Octavio Paz, Rubén Darío, and Federico García Lorca — all reimagined by arrangers including Jaques Morelenbaum, Gonzalo Grau, Diego Schissi, Guillermo Klein and Brooklyn Rider’s own Colin Jacobsen.
In 2017/ 2018, Brooklyn Rider released Spontaneous Symbols. The album featured new quartet music by Tyondai Braxton, Evan Ziporyn, Paula Matthusen, Kyle Sanna, and Brooklyn Rider violinist Colin Jacobsen. Works from that recording were also featured in live performance for Some of a Thousand Words, the ensemble’s recent collaboration with choreographer Brian Brooks and former New York City Ballet prima ballerina Wendy Whelan. An intimate series of duets and solos in which the quartet’s live onstage music is a dynamic and central creative component, Some of a Thousand Words was featured at the 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, before two U.S. tours, including a week-long run at New York City’s Joyce Theater.
In 2016 Brooklyn Rider released an album entitled so many things on Naïve Records with Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, comprising music by Colin Jacobsen, Caroline Shaw, John Adams, Nico Muhly, Björk, Sting, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello, among others. The group toured material from the album and more with von Otter in the U.S. and Europe, including stops at Carnegie Hall and the Opernhaus Zürich.
Additionally, Brooklyn Rider performed Philip Glass’s String Quartet #7, furthering a relationship with the iconic American composer which began with 2011’s much-praised Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass and will continue with the upcoming album release of Glass’s recent quartets on the composer’s Orange Mountain Music label.
In 2015, the group celebrated its tenth anniversary with the groundbreaking multi-disciplinary project Brooklyn Rider Almanac, for which it recorded and toured 15 specially commissioned works, each inspired by a different artistic muse. Other recording projects include the quartet’s eclectic debut recording in 2008, Passport, followed by Dominant Curve in 2010, Seven Steps in 2012, and A Walking Fire in 2013. In 2016, they released The Fiction Issue with singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, with the title track a Kahane composition that was premiered in 2012 at Carnegie Hall by Kahane, Brooklyn Rider and Shara Worden. A long-standing relationship between Brooklyn Rider and Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor resulted in the much-praised 2008 recording, Silent City.
This season sees a continuation of the quartet’s collaboration with Anne Sofie von Otter. A project with two masters of the Lied genre: Franz Schubert and Rufus Wainwright. Their European concert tours will take the ensemble to Amsterdam, the Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid, the Tonhalle Zurich, and the Royal Library in Copenhagen, among others. In addition, their first Australian tour is scheduled with concerts in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth.
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