“They are four classical musicians performing with the energy of young rock stars jamming on their guitars, a Beethoven-goes-indie foray into making classical music accessible but also celebrating why it was good in the first place.”
“The dazzling fingers-in-every-pie versatility that Brooklyn Rider exhibits is one of the wonders of contemporary music.”
Los Angeles Times
“For the past few years, Brooklyn Rider have pushed the envelope pretty much as far as a string quartet can go, and in the process have raised the bar for other groups: they transcend any preconception about what serious composed music is all about.”
“These guys are like motocross daredevils who never screw up a stunt.”
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Michael Nicolas, cello
Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), the veteran string quartet Brooklyn Rider presents eclectic repertoire and gripping performances that continue to draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike. NPR credits Brooklyn Rider with “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.”
In fall 2018, Brooklyn Rider released Dreamers on Sony Music Masterworks with celebrated Mexican jazz vocalist Magos Herrera. The recording includes gems of the Ibero-American songbook as well as pieces written to texts by Octavio Paz, Rubén Darío, and Federico García Lorca — all reimagined by arrangers including Jaques Morelenbaum, Gonzalo Grau, Diego Schissi, Guillermo Klein and Brooklyn Rider’s own Colin Jacobsen. The tour to support the album began at New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Brooklyn Rider also recently debuted their Healing Modes project which presents Beethoven’s Opus 132 in its entirety alongside five compact new commissions which explore the subject of healing from a wide range of historical and cultural perspectives. Composers include Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts and recent Pulitzer Prize winners Caroline Shaw and Du Yun.
To start the 2017-18 season, Brooklyn Rider released Spontaneous Symbols on Johnny Gandelsman’s In a Circle Records label. The album featured new quartet music by Tyondai Braxton, Evan Ziporyn, Paula Matthusen, Kyle Sanna, and Brooklyn Rider violinist Colin Jacobsen. Works from that recording were also featured in live performance for Some of a Thousand Words, the ensemble’s recent collaboration with choreographer Brian Brooks and former New York City Ballet prima ballerina Wendy Whelan. An intimate series of duets and solos in which the quartet’s live onstage music is a dynamic and central creative component, Some of a Thousand Words was featured at the 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, before two U.S. tours, including a week-long run at New York City’s Joyce Theater. They also teamed up with banjoist Béla Fleck — with whom they appeared on two different albums, 2017’s Juno Concerto and 2013’s The Impostor — for concerts in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado and Montana. Other recent highlights include partnering with two instrumentalists who are at the forefront of their respective genres, jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman and Irish fiddle master Martin Hayes. The tours with Redman and Hayes were the product of multi-season collaborations that will continue and include new recordings with both artists. Balancing these collaborations was a full schedule of quartet performances across the U.S., as well as in the U.K., Sweden, and Germany.
During the 2016-17 season, Brooklyn Rider released an album entitled so many things on Naïve Records with Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, comprising music by Colin Jacobsen, Caroline Shaw, John Adams, Nico Muhly, Björk, Sting, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello, among others. The group toured material from the album and more with von Otter in the U.S. and Europe, including stops at Carnegie Hall and the Opernhaus Zürich. Additionally, Brooklyn Rider performed Philip Glass’s String Quartet #7, furthering a relationship with the iconic American composer which began with 2011’s much-praised Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass and will continue with the upcoming album release of Glass’s recent quartets on the composer’s Orange Mountain Music label.
In 2015, the group celebrated its tenth anniversary with the groundbreaking multi-disciplinary project Brooklyn Rider Almanac, for which it recorded and toured 15 specially commissioned works, each inspired by a different artistic muse. Other recording projects include the quartet’s eclectic debut recording in 2008, Passport, followed by Dominant Curve in 2010, Seven Steps in 2012, and A Walking Fire in 2013. In 2016, they released The Fiction Issue with singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, with the title track a Kahane composition that was premiered in 2012 at Carnegie Hall by Kahane, Brooklyn Rider and Shara Worden. A long-standing relationship between Brooklyn Rider and Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor resulted in the much-praised 2008 recording, Silent City.