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Musical World

Brooklyn Rider

  • String Quartet


Brooklyn Rider: Bringing music to new audience and venues is an essential part of the quartet's creative mission. Brooklyn Rider often appears under the umbrella of outside initiatives begun by all four members of the group. In 2003 violinist Johnny Gandelsman created In A Circle, a series of performance events in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn that explore connections between music and the visual arts. In A Circle Records was created by Johnny in 2008 with the release of Brooklyn Rider's eclectic debut recording entitled Passport.

Brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen are co-founders of The Knights, a chamber orchestra based in New York that recently opened the 2009 Dresden Musikfestspiele and released two albums with Sony Classical. The quartet also founded the Stillwater Music Festival (MN) in 2006 as a place where they unveil new repertoire and unusual collaborations. As educators, the quartet has been in residency at Williams College, MacPhail Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College, Texas A&M University, and Denison University.

The dynamic musical profile of Brooklyn Rider has been featured on WNYC's Soundcheck and Minnesota Public Radio’s, Performance Today, and their recordings have been played across North America on radio programs that range in focus from classical to world to jazz to pop to new music. Much of Brooklyn Rider's desire to extend the borders of conventional string quartet programming has been through their longstanding participation in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. As individual members of the ensemble, they have performed throughout the world, recorded three albums for Sony Classical, and have reached audiences through a series of educational initiatives, family concerts and media broadcasts.

Members of Brooklyn Rider have taken part in a series of museum residencies initiated by the Silk Road Project that have taken them to the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum Reitberg in Zurich, the American Museum of Natural History and the Nara National Museum in Japan. They have also participated extensively in ongoing Silk Road Ensemble residencies at Harvard University and the Rhode Island School of Design. The quartet's name is inspired in part by the cross disciplinary vision of Der Blau Reiter (The Blue Rider); a pre World War I Munich-based artistic collective comprised of Vassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Arnold Schoenberg and Alexander Scriabin, to name a few.

In this spirit, Brooklyn Rider has created an online art gallery showcasing the work of friends of the quartet in which the proceeds are used to support new commission projects. The quartet also draws inspiration from the exploding array of cultures and artistic energy found in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, a place they also call home.