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Brooklyn Rider Collaborates with Joshua Redman, Kayhan Kalhor, and More This Spring
Source: 21C Media Group


Brooklyn Rider, the game-changing string quartet whose “superb playing is matched only by the thought, commitment and inspiration its members pour into projects” (NPR Music), continues the momentum of its eclectic and adventurous season this spring, after a rigorous fall/winter schedule of quartet performances, two album releases, and three collaborative tours. More collaborations with partners old and new are on tap for the coming months: with intrepid jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, the group performs new music by Patrick Zimmerli, a premiere by Argentine pianist Guillermo Klein, and music of Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider violinist Colin Jacobsen, in Princeton and Boston. And with kamancheh virtuoso, three-time Grammy nominee, and longtime collaborator Kayhan Kalhor they perform in Oregon and California, before heading to Europe for performances at the Vienna Konzerthaus and in the Dresden Music Festival. Finally, reuniting with peerless banjoist Béla Fleck after a tour of the central U.S. earlier in the season, they return to Colorado’s storied Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman is a giant of the genre and widely considered to be among the world’s greatest sax players. He has collaborated with scores of legendary jazz musicians and recorded a long list of albums under his own name, and many more as a sideman. Redman and Brooklyn Rider first got together in the spring of 2015, along with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Satoshi Takeishi, to explore Aspects of Darkness and Light, an evening-length work by composer Patrick Zimmerli written for Redman. Designed to be a true meeting of equals in its combination of jazz and classical elements, Zimmerli’s work took shape and was transformed over the course of many years, a process which continued under the influence of Brooklyn Rider; the composer added some movements for the group and tailored others. Redman’s trio and the quartet presented parts of the work at New York’s Skaneateles Festival. Aside from that performance, the upcoming concerts mark the first public outing for this characteristically deep and long-term collaboration. They perform two shows together this spring, in Princeton’s McCarter Theater and the Celebrity Series of Boston. Zimmerli’s piece is joined on the program by the premiere of a new work by Argentine pianist Guillermo Klein, commissioned for this tour, as well as Colin Jacobsen’s“Loveland” and a piece by Gabriel Kahane, who arranged the song “Veda” from his acclaimed 2014 album, The Ambassador, specifically for this group of musicians.
Brooklyn Rider’s many longstanding collaborative relationships attest to the enthusiasm, eclectic spirit and commitment they bring to every project, as exemplified by their fruitful decade-long collaboration with kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor. Like several of the quartet members, Kalhor is a member of the Silkroad Ensemble and collaborated with Brooklyn Rider on their 2008 recording Silent City – named one of Rhapsody’s best world-music albums of that decade. After a 2011 performance together, the New York Times declared: “the collaborations turned out to be the heart of the program, not least because they so successfully found common ground among disparate languages.” This spring, after concerts in Corvallis, Oregon and Irvine, California, the group travels with Kalhor to Europe for performances in the legendary Vienna Konzerthaus and at the Dresden Music Festival, playing repertoire that combines selections from Silent City with more recent material.
As Brooklyn Rider violist Nicholas Cords says of the upcoming reunion with Kalhor:

“We are so pleased that this collaboration is still alive and thriving after more than ten years. Working with Kayhan has been an incredibly important touchstone for Brooklyn Rider since the very beginning. We have travelled the world together and we’re now excited to bring our music to two major European musical capitals.”

Brooklyn Rider’s partnership with 16-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck dates back to Fleck’s 2013 album The Impostor, which features the quartet on his composition Night Flight Over Water. They also appear on the banjoist’s 2017 album Juno Concerto, performing his Griff and a movement from Quintet for Banjo and Strings, which he wrote in 1984 with virtuoso bassist Edgar Meyer. The group toured with Fleck in January to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, and Montana, and they return to the “banjo quintet” configuration in June to play at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, where they first joined forces for a memorable show in 2014.
In October, Brooklyn Rider released Spontaneous Symbols on quartet violinist Johnny Gandelsman’s In a Circle Records label, the group’s first quartet-only album since 2014’s Brooklyn Rider Almanac. Everything on the album was written for the quartet, by composers Tyondai BraxtonColin JacobsenEvan ZiporynPaula Matthusen, and Kyle Sanna. As Nicholas Cords put it, the project “shows us once again at the core of our artistic mission as a string quartet; bringing new works to life.” In December they released a recording of Philip Glass’s String Quartets Nos. 6 and 7 and Saxophone Quartet, as arranged by and for Brooklyn Rider, on the Orange Mountain Music label, something of a companion to the group’s recording of the composer’s first five string quartets. Besides the central states tour with Fleck, they performed with him and gave a solo show earlier this month at Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival – praised by Oxford American Magazine as “One of the most quietly earth-shattering, subtly luminous festivals the world over.” The season also featured performances in Dublin and at London’s Barbican with Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, and a reunion with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, the quartet’s partner for the 2016 release So Many Things on Naïve Classique, for concerts in Sweden and Germany. Two more performances with von Otter, the first joined by eclectic pop icon Rufus Wainwright, who also composed the final track on So Many Things, are upcoming this summer at the Verbier Festival.
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