March 1, 2010

Brooklyn Rider quartet at Evergreen Museum

Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum & Library continues its 2009–2010 Music at Evergreen concert series on Saturday, March 6, with a performance by the adventurous, genre-blending string quartet Brooklyn Rider. It takes place at 3 p.m. in the intimate, one-of-a-kind setting of the museum’s 80-seat Bakst Theatre.

Described by critics as “hip in a geeky, Brooklyn way (suspenders, facial hair)” and “classically trained to within an inch of their lives,” the young musicians who make up Brooklyn Rider have been credited by NPR’s Performance Today host Fred Child with “re-creating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.”

These four veterans of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble offer a diverse and provocative program, including a suite of modal pieces titled Achille’s Heel by Brooklyn Rider’s own Colin Jacobsen; Philip Glass’ expansive String Quartet No. 5; an arrangement of John Cage’s beautifully meditative and seminal work, In a Landscape, created for Brooklyn Rider by New York–based composer Justin Messina; and a fresh and vivid interpretation of Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10.

Following the concert, a tea reception will be held in the museum’s Far East Room, where audience members will have the opportunity to meet with the musicians and purchase signed CDs of their new self-produced recording, Dominant Curve (In a Circle Records), which features the Debussy String Quartet and an alternate version of Messina’s arrangement of In a Landscape for string quartet and electronics. The recording, due out in stores and online April 6, is the group’s third release, following its critically acclaimed 2008 albums, Passport (In a Circle Records) and Silent City, with Persian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor (World Village/Harmonia Mundi).

Brooklyn Rider (Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen, violin; Nicholas Cords, viola; Eric Jacobsen, cello) based its name on the “exploding array of cultures and artistic energy” of its New York borough and the cross-disciplinary vision of the pre-WWI Munich-based artistic collective Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). The group’s repertoire is as likely to explore Haydn and Debussy as the music of our time. The musicians have worked with numerous composers such as Lisa Bielawa and Philip Glass, and their affinity for global music has resulted in collaborations with everyone from Kalhor, the Persian kamancheh virtuoso, to Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes. Whether performing at Joe’s Pub in New York, the Todai-ji Temple in Nara, Japan, or the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Brooklyn Rider invites its audiences into an unforgettable shared experience.

Tickets are $20 general public, $15 members and $10 students with valid ID, and include admission to the museum (open by guided tour only, offered hourly on the hour from noon to 3 p.m.) and the post-concert reception. Seating is limited; advance tickets are available by going to www.missiontix .com, calling 410-516-0341 or visiting the Evergreen Museum Shop.

The 2009–2010 Music at Evergreen concert series is made possible by the Evergreen House Foundation. The third and final concert of the series, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, will feature a special flamenco program by the New York–based multidisciplinary ensemble SEGUE.