Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Eric Jacobsen, 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
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 ofa 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 also 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.