'It must have been like this when Beethoven was taking Vienna by storm – the exhilaration of seeing the future of classical music unfold before your eyes and ears.'
– St. Louis Post-Dispatch
'a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.'
– Yo-Yo Ma
Since its inception in 1985, Turtle Island Quartet has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy® Awards for Best Classical Crossover category, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles. Cellist nonpareil Yo-Yo Ma called TIQ "a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today."
The journey has taken Turtle Island through forays into folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, new age, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India, a repertoire consisting of hundreds of ingenious arrangements and originals. It has included more than a dozen recordings on Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc labels, soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio credits such as the Today Show, All Things Considered, A Prairie Home Companion and Morning Edition and collaborations with famed artists such as clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, guitar legends Leo Kottke and the Assad brothers, The Manhattan Transfer, pianists Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut and Ramsey Lewis, the Ying Quartet and the Parsons and Luna Negra Dance Companies.
Another unique element of Turtle Island is their revival of venerable improvisational and compositional chamber traditions that have not been explored by string players for nearly 200 years. At the time of Haydn's apocryphal creation of the string quartet form, musicians were more akin to today's saxophonists and keyboard masters of the jazz and pop world, i.e., improvisers, composers, and arrangers. Each Turtle Island member is accomplished in these areas of expertise as well as having extensive conservatory training. Original members violinist David Balakrishnan and Mark Summer, arguably the finest cross genre cellist of the modern age, are joined by the elite of the young alternative string players from Europe – Polish jazz violin phenom Mateusz Smoczynski, and violist Benjamin Von Gutzeit, of German descent, who recently completed a masters program in jazz studies at Manhattan School of Music. For more information on the Turtle Island Quartet, please visit its website.
NPR Tiny Desk Concert
ReviewsThis event is a partnership between Mary B. Martin School of the Arts & Academy of Strings.
APST, BGSD, BLUE, EVNS, HIST, HUMT, MALS, MUSC, RTVF, UHON, ETSU 1000