Press Room

Brooklyn Rider Performs at National Sawdust, Part of the NY PHIL BIENNIAL (June 3)

Brooklyn Rider, the game-changing string quartet hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), plays one last New York concert with outgoing cellist Eric Jacobsen, after announcing in January the first personnel change of the group’s ten-year history. This performance – the penultimate with Jacobsen – culminates the quartet’s residency at Brooklyn’s celebrated new venue National Sawdust on June 3. The concert is part of the citywide NY PHIL BIENNIAL, and will also feature new cellist Michael Nicolas, with whom Jacobsen has been alternating performances this spring to make the transition as seamless as possible. Jacobsen will perform on the world premiere of BTT by his brother, Brooklyn Rider violinist Colin Jacobsen, an homage to an earlier era of New York’s downtown music scene that included the likes of Glenn Branca, John Lurie, Meredith Monk, the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, and many other visionary musicians. Nicolas will join the group for the New York premiere of Tyondai Braxton’s Arp Rec 1, a work written for 2014’s Brooklyn Rider Almanac that was inspired by the compositions of Fred Lerdahl and Iannis Xenakis; he’ll also play on John Zorn’s The Alchemist, a work Brooklyn Rider premiered in 2011 that Zorn characterizes as “virtuosic lyricism, numerology, prayers, canons, contrapuntal complexity, alchemical procedures … and the ghost of a fugue.” The concert will be followed by a NY PHIL BIENNIAL Play Date, a post-concert meet-up with composers and performers over cocktails, also at National Sawdust.

Eric Jacobsen leaves the group to focus more fully on his burgeoning conducting career. He has been the Co-Artistic Director with his brother Colin of the orchestral collective The Knights, which will give its own NY PHIL BIENNIAL concert this spring. More recently he launched a new tenure as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic and has served as Artistic Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony since the 2014-15 season.

Jacobsen comments:

“There’s a feeling of bittersweet nostalgia as my last show with Brooklyn Rider approaches. Each show we play together this month is one more step towards a changed life trajectory. Because of the love I have for my bandmates, my emotions creep up on me each day. It is appropriate that on one of my final shows with Brooklyn Rider, we get to premiere a piece by my brother Colin, and perform in Brooklyn, where it all started. I am filled with pride to know that we have created a group that can attract a musician as wonderful as Mike Nicolas. Handing off the bow to him will be a beautiful last musical gesture.”

Meanwhile, the pace of the quartet’s energetic performance and recording schedule shows no sign of slackening. February saw the release of The Fiction Issue with eclectic composer, pianist and singer Gabriel Kahane, along with a five-stop tour of material from the disc that included performances in the Boston Celebrity Series and at Washington Performing Arts. The quartet’s own tour of Scandinavia and Germany followed in March, with Jacobsen performing the first concert in Copenhagen and Nicolas taking over thereafter. The first performances of Nicolas’s permanent tenure with the quartet later in June will be in collaboration with choreographer Brian Brooks, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. First at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, which will mark Eric Jacobsen’s final performance, and then at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts with Nicolas, the quartet will provide live, onstage music for Some of a Thousand Words, an intimate series of duets and solos featuring Brooks and former New York City Ballet star and principal dancer Wendy Whelan.

Brooklyn Rider’s always-expanding roster of collaborators includes the smorgasbord of artists assembled for the Brooklyn Rider Almanac project, ranging from jazz icon Bill Frisell to Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, and the likes of Irish fiddler Martin Hayes; saxophonist Joshua Redman; banjo star Béla Fleck, with whom the group recorded the 2013 DG/Mercury Classics album The Impostor; and kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, whose 2008 recording Silent City – named one of Rhapsody’s best world-music albums of the last decade – featured the quartet. Most recently, famed Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter has become another favored collaborator; together they have now recorded a new album to be released this fall on Naïve Classique, and will join forces for U.S. and European tours in the fall as well.

Brooklyn Rider with Michael Nicolas (photo: Erin Baiano)

Brooklyn Rider with Michael Nicolas (photo: Erin Baiano)

For high-resolution photos, click here.

Brooklyn Rider: 2016 Spring engagements

May 18
Chicago, IL
Harris Theater
All-Brooklyn Rider Almanac program

June 3
Brooklyn, NY
National Sawdust
Colin Jacobsen: BTT (world premiere)
John Zorn: The Alchemist
Tyondai Braxton: Arp Rec 1 (New York premiere)

June 23-24
New Haven, CT
Shubert Theater
With Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks

July 27-31
Becket, MA
Jacob’s Pillow Dance
With Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks

#          #          #


© 21C Media Group, May 2016

Return to Press Room