In this high flying program, the two-time GRAMMY® winning Turtle Island Quartet, pays homage to the incandescent visionary brilliance of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.
The genius of his improvisations almost single handedly catapulted jazz from pop style into art music, indelibly altering the musical landscape of America.
Iconic Charlie Parker classics such as Ornithology, KoKo and Dewey Square are juxtaposed with original responses by quartet members, and intertwined with other thematic pieces from the bebop era and beyond such as Sonny Rollins' Airegin, Bird Calls by Charlie Mingus and Too High by Stevie Wonder. GRAMMY®-nominated composer David Balakrishnan contributes his newly commissioned work, Aeroelasticity: Harmonies Of Impermanence.
Turtle Island draws its primary focus and musical identity from the individual creative voices of the ensemble who are at home in folk, pop and jazz. It continues to recalibrate the foundational parameters of the traditional string quartet form, in a sense coming from the other direction.
About Turtle Island Quartet
Its name derived from creation mythology found in Native American Folklore, the Turtle Island Quartet, since its inception in 1985, 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, and by devising a performance practice that honors both, the state of the art has inevitably been redefined. Cellist nonpareil Yo-Yo Ma has proclaimed TIQ to be “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”
The Quartet’s birth was the result of violinist David Balakrishnan’s brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while writing his master’s thesis at Antioch University West. 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 over a dozen recordings on labels such as Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc, soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio credits such as the Today Show, All Things Considered, Prairie Home Companion, and Morning Edition, feature articles in People and Newsweek magazines, 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, singers Tierney Sutton and Nellie McKay, 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.
As Turtle Island members continue to refine their skills through the development of repertory by some of today’s cutting edge composers, through performances and recordings with major symphonic ensembles, and through a determined educational commitment, the Turtle Island Quartet stakes its claim as the quintessential ‘New World’ string quartet of the 21st century.
What the Critics Say ... “…it [Turtle Island Quartet] plays with energy and inventiveness…” ~ The New York Times “…a sterling example of first-rate jazz music-making…” ~ Los Angeles Times “…intellectually engaging, technically dazzling and emotionally rich…” ~ The Birmingham News “Excellent precision and musicality” ~ The Washington Post “ Seventeen years and still the champs” ~ Strings Magazine “Astonishing virtuosos” ~ Nashville Scene “Razor-sharp execution” ~ Lincoln Journal Star “Stands tradition on its civilized ear.” ~ People Magazine “An unqualified musical triumph.” ~ The San Francisco Bay Guardian “The niche they fit into best might be labeled ‘Wow!’” ~ St. Louis Post-Dispatch “This unique, jazzy four-piece continues to entertain with its distinctive brand of tight, impressive bow-etry in motion.” ~ Billboard Magazine “Impeccable precision in its pitch and coordination” ~ The New York Times “This group has set a standard beyond the reach of its few contemporaries…In the multifarious idiom they have all but invented, Turtle Island remains the ne plus ultra.” ~ The Los Angeles Times “…zest, imagination and brilliant technique…” ~ The San Francisco Examiner “The strings sing, not like angels, but like they’ve been around. The improvisations…hang tough, solidly built, and take no back talk from anybody.” ~ The Seattle Post-Intelligence “…ripe and irrepressible…” ~ People Weekly
“Irreverent, classy and smart…” ~ Albuquerque Journal 6/16
“Turtle Island Quartet Stands Alone.” ~ headline, The Los Angeles Times
“…amazing power and finesse.” ~ The Oregonian
“…exhilarating and genuinely original.” ~ Sun-Sentinel, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
“…this group plays on-your-feet music.” ~ St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“…superb musicianship in every phase…” ~ Seattle Post Intelligencer