Brooklyn Rider’s New Project "The Brooklyn Rider Almanac" is out now with U.S. Tour

09.30.14
Brooklyn Rider
21C Media Group

Brooklyn Rider’s Season Offers New Project Brooklyn Rider Almanac, with U.S. Tour, CD and Crowd-Funded Multimedia, Plus Premieres and Béla Fleck Tour

Brooklyn Rider celebrates its tenth anniversary with an ambitious and groundbreaking season. The group continues its revolutionary multi-dimensional project Brooklyn Rider Almanac, which takes several different forms, including a new CD which was released on September 30. Beyond the recording, the Almanac is also a live event that will span the season, as Brooklyn Rider tours music from the CD and other specially-commissioned material throughout the U.S. Additionally, an array of performances, presentations, films and other multimedia forms created for the Almanac with and by artists from various disciplines will be released. Among a number of U.S. tour dates that feature Almanac repertoire, Brooklyn Rider will give world premieres of new works from the project at UC Santa Barbara (Jan 22) and Washington Performing Arts Society (March 21), as well as the New York premiere of Chalk and Soot, a dance-theater collaboration with music by the quartet’s own violinist Colin Jacobsen (Oct 9-11). The quartet also joins celebrated banjo player Béla Fleck on tour, starting off at Caramoor (Sep 19) and then in Iowa, Indiana and Michigan (Nov 13-15). And as part of a residency at the University of North Carolina, Brooklyn Rider performs the world premiere of a new piece by John Luther Adams, in addition to a program of works from the Almanac (March 25-28).

Brooklyn Rider Almanac, the CD of which was released September 30 on Mercury Classics, demonstrates the vision, originality and dynamism that led Strings magazine to describe the group as “the future of chamber music.” Rather than the traditional concept of an album that is released and then toured, the Almanac is an ongoing creative project that includes recordings, live performances and artistic multimedia collaborations. The composers of the newly-commissioned works come from a variety of genres ranging from jazz to indie-rock. Each takes a different artist as inspiration – in the broadest sense of that word – whether it be a writer, composer, dancer or rock musician. For example, Bill Frisell was inspired by John Steinbeck, Christina Courtin by Igor Stravinsky, Vijay Iyer by James Brown, and Ethan Iverson by Mark Morris. Brooklyn Rider has always had this cross-disciplinary mission in mind; indeed, its name references Der Blaue Reiter, a pre-World War I Munich-based artistic collective, as the quartet explains: “The unquenchable drive for artistic exploration and open embrace of the collective spirit displayed by Der Blaue Reiter are similarly hallmarks of today’s artistic zeitgeist, and the Brooklyn Rider Almanac attempts to honor the present.”

The quartet certainly honors the present in its methods for sharing its vision. In parallel with the CD and the tour, it is working with artists from outside the music world, showcasing the results through YouTube, social media and the Brooklyn Rider website. The artists are as wide-ranging as the composers, from animation artist Becky James and dancer Lil Buck to visual artist Kevork Mourad and English professor Heidi Kim. The works they produce will include videos, animation, choreography, photo essays, articles and interviews. Brooklyn Rider crowd-funded almost $60,000 toward this element of the project, an indicator of the strength of the support it has from its fans, as well as the interest of the wider cultural world in this sort of innovation.

The live aspect of the Brooklyn Rider Almanac takes the group on tour around the U.S., performing several world premieres along the way. On January 22 the quartet visits UC Santa Barbara, performing the live world premiere of an Almanac work by Glenn Kotche, from the alt-rock band Wilco. On March 21 in Washington DC is another world premiere, of a work by Tyondai Braxton, presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society. Other tour dates include the University of South Carolina on September 26; Minneapolis on January 18 with Greg Saunier, drummer for the indie rock band Deerhoof; and Chapel Hill on March 28. The group also plays in Tallahassee, Penn State University, Louisville, Dallas and Northampton (April 7-May 2) and will visit Detroit, New York, and Boston.

Brooklyn Rider’s season also includes the New York premiere of Chalk and Soot, a dance theater piece with music by violinist Colin Jacobsen and choreography by John Heginbotham, over three nights at Baryshnikov Arts Center (Oct 9-11), as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. The world premiere was given in July 2014 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. In typically eclectic style, the piece is based on Sounds, a book of poetry by the painter Wassily Kandinsky. Janine Parker of the Boston Globe compared it with Kandinsky’s work saying, “They have matched its palette with fine ears and eyes, maintaining a keen balance on a line between whimsy and melancholy. The piece is smart, wicked, and fun, and extremely generous of heart, even at its goofiest.”

In the fall the group joins Béla Fleck, the similarly visionary Grammy Award-winning banjo player, whose playing spans bluegrass, jazz, folk and classical. Together they perform material from Fleck’s 2013 Mercury Classics/DG album The Impostor, on which the group appeared, as well as their own works and Fleck’s arrangements for banjo and string quartet. The artists have worked together several times already, and Michael Huebner of the Huntsville Times wrote of their collaboration: “This unlikely pairing has assembled a program that defies musical genres, expands the language of the string quartet and turns the banjo into a classical partner. Both Fleck and Brooklyn Rider are accustomed to smashing stereotypes, and now they are meeting on mutual ground.” The mutual ground this season is the three-day, multi-genre Caramoor Fall Festival, where Fleck and the quartet perform on September 19. Later in the year they regroup to tour Des Moines, West Lafayette and Kalamazoo (Nov 13-15), and round off their journey at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where they are also joined by bassist Christian McBride (Nov 22).

Equally devoted to relationships within the classical music community, this season Brooklyn Rider teams up with Pulitzer Prize-winner John Luther Adams, who has created a new work for the group. The world premiere will be presented in Chapel Hill in March, as part of the quartet’s multi-year residency at the University of North Carolina.


Brooklyn Rider: 2014-15 season

Sep 19
Katonah, NY
Caramoor Festival
With Béla Fleck
 
Sep 26
Columbia, SC
University of South Carolina
Southern Exposure New Music Series
Brooklyn Rider Almanac
 
Oct 9, 10, 11
New York, NY
Baryshnikov Arts Center
Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival
Colin Jacobsen: Chalk and Soot (New York premiere)
John Heginbotham, choreographer
With Dance Heginbotham and Carla Kihlstedt

Oct 19
Greenvale, NY
Long Island University
 
Nov 13
Des Moines, IA
Civic Music Association of Des Moines
With Béla Fleck
 
Nov 14
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University Dept of Convocations
With Béla Fleck

Nov 15
Kalamazoo, MI
Fontana Chamber Arts
With Béla Fleck
 
Nov 22
Newark, NJ
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
All Strings Attached
With Béla Fleck and Christian McBride

Jan 18
Minneapolis, MN
Schubert Club
With Greg Saunier of Deerhoof

Jan 22
Santa Barbara, CA
University of California, Santa Barbara
Hahn Hall
Brooklyn Rider Almanac
Includes world premiere by Wilco’s Glenn Kotche
 
March 21
Washington, DC
Washington Performing Arts
Brooklyn Rider Almanac
Includes world premiere by Tyondai Braxton
 
March 25, 26
Chapel Hill, NC
Carolina Performances
John Luther Adams world premiere
 
March 28
Chapel Hill, NC
Carolina Performances
Brooklyn Rider Almanac
Bill Frisell: John Steinbeck
Ethan Iverson: Morris Dance
Vijay Iyer: Dig The Stay
Dana Lyn: Maintenance Music
Padma Newsome: Gaps and Gorges
Greg Saunier : Quartet, Parts One & Two
 
April 7, 8
Tallahassee, FL
Opening Nights
Tallahassee Music Week: Pop Up concerts throughout Tallahassee
 
April 14
State College, PA
Penn State University
 
April 16
Louisville, KY
Clifton Center Theater
 
April 26
Dallas, TX
Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation
 
May 2
Northampton, MA
Music in Deerfield