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Brooklyn Rider’s 2013-14 includes North American tour with Béla Fleck

Genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider has built up a head of steam going into its 2013-14 season, which kicks off at Virginia’s Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival and Oklahoma’s Chamber Music Tulsa with programs that draw on music from the group’s recent album release, A Walking Fire (Sep 14, 21 & 22). As WQXR explains, the new recording “expertly manag[es] to draw on the folk-music roots of Romania, Hungary and Persia in a way that feels authentic [and] fresh”; Lucid Culture observes that it “captures the state-of-the-art New York string quartet at their most animated and eclectic, even by their standards.” Celebrated for its inspired collaborations, Brooklyn Rider – violinists Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords and cellist Eric Jacobsen – embarks this season on two North American tours with multiple Grammy Award-winning banjo superstar Béla Fleck (Nov 12-26; Jan 29–Feb 9). Besides music from A Walking Fire, their tour program showcases Night Flight Over Water, Fleck’s own composition for banjo and string quartet, which Brooklyn Rider recorded for his new Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics album, The Impostor. In the spring, the quartet also teams up with preeminent soprano Dawn Upshaw, first during a weeklong residency at the University of Texas in Austin (March 19-26), and then at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (April 6).
North American tours with Béla Fleck
A strong commitment to musical and artistic collaboration is close to Brooklyn Rider’s heart, which is one of the reasons NPR credits the group with “re-creating the 300-year-old form of the string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.” This spirit can be heard both on stage and in recording, whether the group is working with Iranian composer/kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor – as they did for the quartet’s UK debut in June at London’s Barbican Centre – or with pipa player Wu Man, tabla player Sandeep Das, and clarinetist/composer Evan Ziporyn, as they did at Brooklyn Rider’s annual summer Stillwater Music Festival in Minnesota.
The collaboration with Béla Fleck is a natural one, for the banjo artist is a kindred spirit when it comes to crossing genres. The New York Times notes that “Mr. Fleck can lay claim to the title of the most popular living banjoist, having done much to push the instrument beyond bluegrass terra firma into jazz, classical and beyond.” When setting out to compose his banjo quintet, Night Flight Over Water, for his new album The Impostor, Fleck turned to Brooklyn Rider not only to play the music, but also for inspiration. About working with the quartet, Fleck says:
“These guys are really good at new music, and they have a youthful sensibility that really makes sense for a piece that has many influences from outside of classical music. I listened to their music, and really enjoyed and respected their work. I started out writing Night Flight Over Water by composing a dozen or so sketches. The initial idea was that the ones that really worked out for this combination of instruments would be the ones that I’d use to build the piece from. But these guys were so good that they made everything I came up with sound amazing – so it was very hard to figure out what not to use. The best part is that I came to realize that I could write virtually anything and they would be able to make it come alive.
The first half Brooklyn Rider’s two-leg North American tour with Fleck begins on November 10 at New York City’s celebrated downtown music venue, Le Poisson Rouge, in a co-production with Yellow Lounge. Next the five musicians head off on a ten-city tour that includes stops in Indianapolis (Nov 15), Washington, DC (Nov 23), and Toronto (Nov 26). Brooklyn Rider and Fleck reunite in early 2014 for another ten-city run, this time taking in Philadelphia (Feb 1), Seattle (Feb 4), and Las Vegas (Feb 8). For a complete list of tour dates, see below.
The tour also features repertoire from Brooklyn Rider’s sixth recording, A Walking Fire. This “attractive travelogue” (Chicago Tribune) includes the group’s signature interpretation of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 2, as well as Culai by contemporary Russian-American composer Ljova and Three Miniatures for String Quartet by quartet violinist Colin Jacobsen. (A video clip of Brooklyn Rider playing one of Jacobsen’s Three Miniatures may be viewed here). The Boston Globe praised A Walking Fire as an “important statement about cultural curiosity and musical interconnection. That alone would justify hearing it, but the performances (especially the Bartók) are also fantastic.”
Residencies and performances with Dawn Upshaw
In the spring, Brooklyn Rider takes up residence at two American universities that share a commitment to the arts and performance. The quartet’s week-long residency at the University of Texas in Austin (March 19-26) begins with a concert focused on music from A Walking Fire. For the second concert, Brooklyn Rider welcomes groundbreaking soprano Dawn Upshaw – “one of the most consequential performers of our time” (Los Angeles Times) – in a program that takes inspiration from the group’s near-namesake, Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), an early 19th-century Munich-based arts collective that included the likes of Kandinsky and Schoenberg. The program includes works from the “Brooklyn Rider Almanac,” the quartet’s ongoing commissioning project.
Brooklyn Rider and Upshaw team up again on April 6 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For several seasons, this university has served as an incubator of many of Brooklyn Rider’s most ambitious projects. Last season alone featured a preview of the quartet’s partnership with Béla Fleck as well as a “sensational marathon of newness” (Huffington Post) that included world premieres by John Zorn, Shara Worden, and Colin Jacobsen’s Chalk and Soot, in collaboration with choreographer John Heginbotham and his company.
Brooklyn Rider 2013-14 engagements
Sep 14
Charlottesville, VA
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival
Selections from A Walking Fire, more
Sep 21
Tulsa, OK
Chamber Music Tulsa
Mozart: String Quartet in D minor, K. 421
Ljova: Culai
Romanian traditional: Music of the Roma
Sep 22
Tulsa, OK
Chamber Music Tulsa
Schubert: Quartettsatz
Cage: In a Landscape
Evan Ziporyn: Qi
Bartók: String Quartet No. 2
Colin Jacobsen: Three Miniatures for String Quartet
Nov 10
New York, NY
Le Poisson Rouge
With Béla Fleck
Nov 12
Akron, OH
Tuesday Musical Association
With Béla Fleck
Nov 15
Indianapolis, IN
Butler University
With Béla Fleck
Nov 16
Danville, KY
Norton Center for the Arts
With Béla Fleck
Nov 18
Birmingham, AL
Samford University
With Béla Fleck
Nov 19
Clemson, SC
Clemson University
With Béla Fleck
Nov 22
Newport News, VA
Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts
With Béla Fleck
Nov 23
Washington, DC
Washington Performing Arts Society
With Béla Fleck
Nov 24
Ann Arbor, MI
University Musical Society
With Béla Fleck
Nov 26
Toronto, ON, Canada
The Royal Conservatory of Music
With Béla Fleck
Jan 29
Worcester, MA
Music Worcester, Inc.
With Béla Fleck
Jan 30
Portland, ME
Portland Ovations
With Béla Fleck
Jan 31
Keene, NH
Colonial Theatre
With Béla Fleck
Feb 1
Philadelphia, PA
Kimmel Center, Inc.
With Béla Fleck
Feb 4
Seattle, WA
University of Washington
With Béla Fleck
Feb 6
Chico, CA
California State University, Chico
With Béla Fleck
Feb 7
Northridge, CA
California State University, Northridge
With Béla Fleck
Feb 8
Las Vegas, NV
Smith Center for the Performing Arts
With Béla Fleck
Feb 9
Ogden, UT
Weber State University
With Béla Fleck
Feb 13
Huntington, PA
Juniata College
March 14
Miami Beach, FL
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
March 15
Miami Beach, FL
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
March 16
Celebration, FL
Celebration Foundation Classical Concert Series
March 19
Austin, TX
University of Texas, Austin
Selections from A Walking Fire
March 26
Austin, TX
University of Texas, Austin
Music inspired by Der Blaue Reiter, more
With soprano Dawn Upshaw
March 29
Stevens Point, WI
University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point
April 6
Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina
Music inspired by Der Blaue Reiter, more
With soprano Dawn Upshaw
April 13
Clinton, CT
George Flynn Classical Concerts
April 22
Copenhagen, Denmark
Mogens Dahl Koncertsal
April 25
Vara, Sweden
Vara Konserthus
April 26
Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholms Koncerthus
May 14
Fernandina Beach, FL
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival
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© 21C Media Group, September 2013





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