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Brooklyn Rider celebrates the release of A Walking Fire with May 1 show

Brooklyn Rider, the group credited for “re-creating the 300-year-old form of the string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble(NPR), will release its new album – A Walking Fire – on April 30, with a show featuring both Brooklyn Rider and its special guest, Ljova and the Kontraband, at the Brooklyn club Littlefield on May 1. The new album reflects the artistic independence and enterprising mixture of classic quartet literature and new works that are the ensemble’s hallmarks. As the New York Times has said: “Brooklyn Rider stands out for its consistent refinement, globe-spanning stylistic range, do-it-yourself gumption and integration of standard repertory works into the mix.” A Walking Fire features a seminal string quartet by Béla Bartók, alongside new works by contemporary Russian-American composer Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin and Brooklyn Rider’s Colin Jacobsen. This recording is the group’s first release on Universal Music’s Mercury Classics label and is co-branded with In a Circle, the imprint started by Brooklyn Rider violinist Johnny Gandelsman in 2008.
The album includes the group’s signature interpretation of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 2, a work the Hungarian composer and famed musical explorer wrote while World War I raged. Ljova’s Culai channels the sound and spirit of the late Nicolae Neacsu, nicknamed “Culai,” who was the violinist-vocalist of the famed Gypsy ensemble Taraf de Haïdouks. Colin Jacobsen’s Three Miniatures for String Quartet is a musical fantasy stemming from the composer’s appreciation of the close connection between music, poetry and the visual arts in Persian culture – an appreciation fostered by Jacobsen’s friendship and collaborations with Persian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor.  The recording takes its title from a poem by 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi. As the quartet explains in the liner notes: “In addition to serving as a metaphor for love, we feel this title poetically encapsulates the process of wide-eyed exploration leading to passionate creation which is at the heart of this album.”
At Littlefield – a cutting-edge performance and art space in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn Rider’s home borough – the group will perform a set on May 1 that showcases material from A Walking Fire. Straying from the traditional concert program, the quartet will be joined by Ljova and the Kontraband (an act described as “chamber-jam music for the remix generation.”)
Brooklyn Rider violist Nicholas Cords adds:
A Walking Fire takes us on a guided expedition to three legendary musical centers. With stops in World War I-era Budapest, in the Romanian village of Clejani and the fragrant gardens of Esfahan, this album celebrates the transformative nature of travel and its potential to act as a creative catalyst. We believe that getting underneath the surface of a musical tradition other than the one we inherit can be life changing. All the works on A Walking Fire are unique products of this kind of encounter, and we are thrilled to take our listeners along for the ride.”
This spring, Brooklyn Rider performs live from the East Coast to the West Coast, as well as in the Far East. The group guests at the Oregon Bach Festival (April 7), playing a program that ranges from Mendelssohn and Beethoven to Ljova’s Culai and Brooklyn Rider’s group-composed Seven Steps. After playing Atlanta’s Schwartz Center (April 12), the foursome travels to China to play a series of concerts in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as in Taiwan (April 18-25). Brooklyn Rider then returns to New York and, following the May 1 date at Littlefield, performs a Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert at the Henry Street Settlement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side (May 5).
Brooklyn Rider: upcoming engagements
April 2, 6:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
New York, NY
Le Poisson Rouge
Appearing as part of A Jookin’ Jam Session with Lil Buck
April 7, 3:00 p.m.
Eugene, OR
Beall Concert Hall
Oregon Bach Festival / Chamber Series
Mendelssohn: String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 12
Ljova: Culai
Brooklyn Rider: Seven Steps,
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131
April 12, 8:00 p.m.
Atlanta, GA
Schwartz Center
April 18-19, 8:00 p.m.
Hong Kong, China
Jockey Club Amphitheatre
April 20, 8:00 p.m.
Taipei, Taiwan
National Concert Hall
April 25, 8:00 p.m.
Macau, China
Brooklyn Rider: Seven Steps
Ljova: Culai
C. Jacobson: Three Miniatures for String Quartet
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131
May 1, 8:00 p.m.
Brooklyn, NY
May 5, 8:00 p.m.
New York, NY
Abrons Art Center at Henry Street Settlement
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert







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