Drawing from thirty-five years of performances and recordings, An Evening with Turtle Island Quartet includes a wide range of original music written and performed by artistic director, resident composer and violinist David Balakrishnan with violinist Gabriel Terracciano, violist Benjamin von Gutzeit and cellist Naseem Alatrash. The program will include Balakrishnan’s GRAMMY®-nominated “Confetti Man” and his recent composition “The Second Wave,” with occasional additions of the latest works by Terence Blanchard, Edgar Meyer, Wayne Shorter and others. This latest program is the first of many that will celebrate this unique quartet and the brain child of Balakrishnan, focusing on both music written for the quartet and music written in the last decade by great pioneers in jazz & American roots music.
Early in his career, Balakrishnan developed his compositional approach based on the principle of multi-stylistic integration applied to bowed string instruments while studying at Antioch University West. This established the signature artistic bedrock for TIQ as it was being formed, and that since has earned Balakrishnan two GRAMMY® nominations in the arranging category, and one in the instrumental composition category.
In addition to these accolades, his original work “Spider Dreams” (1992) has been widely performed and recorded throughout the world, most notably a live recording by Turtle Island with the Detroit Symphony conducted by Neeme Järvi. A 2002 commission awarded by a consortium of presenters headed by the Lied Center of Kansas City resulted in a string octet entitled “Mara’s Garden Of False Delights.” This was a central contribution to 4+Four, the recording that won Turtle Island its first GRAMMY® award. Again commissioned by the Lied Center in 2008, Balakrishnan composed a full-length work involving theatre, dance, poetry, video and TIQ with the KU wind ensemble that is an artistic response to the socio/political issues concerning the various theories of evolution, both scientific and cultural, entitled “The Tree Of Life.”
Many legendary string players are alumni of Turtle Island Quartet, having pushed the limits of the group, including Jeremy Kittel, Mark Summer, Darol Anger, Mads Tolling, Evan Price and Tracy Silverman.
About Founder and Resident Composer David Balakrishnan: Balakrishnan began his career making appearances with the David Grisman Quartet and jazz violin legend Stephane Grappelli. In addition to his GRAMMY®-awards & nominations for the quartet, he is the recipient of numerous grants, from private sources such as conductor Marin Alsop, who commissioned his piece for violin and orchestra, “Little Mouse Jumps,” as well as organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, League of American Orchestras and Meet The Composer. In 2005 he received a MTC/ASOL “Music Alive” residency with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra (largest orchestral composing grant of the year) for which he composed six works. The NCO also commissioned Balakrishnan’s composition “Darkness Dreaming,” which premiered in April 2004 with guitarists Sharon Isbin and John Jorgenson. In 2015 he received Chamber Music America’s prestigious Classical Commissioning Program grant, supporting a full-length work commemorating the quartet’s 30th anniversary season. In addition to focusing on writing original music for Turtle Island, Balakrishnan will be helping support the creation of new orchestral programming that will tour through Fox Performances in future seasons.