Turtle Island Quartet Honors Legacy of Charlie Parker
Aiken, SC (02/04/2019) — The Turtle Island Quartet will celebrate the impact of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker in their upcoming program Bird's Eye View, which is part of the USC Aiken Cultural Series, in the Etherredge Center, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15-$40 and can be purchased online at etherredge.usca.edu or by calling 803-641-3305.
Iconic Charlie Parker classics such as "KoKo," "A Night In Tunisia," and "Dewey Square" are juxtaposed with original responses by Quartet members and intertwined with other pieces from the bebop era and beyond such as Sonny Rollins' "Airegin," "Miles Ahead" by Gil Evans/Miles Davis, and "Subconscious-Lee" by Lee Konitz.
"For more than thirty years, Turtle Island Quartet has reinvented the role of the modern string quartet through its Grammy-winning albums and arrangements," said Michael St. John, Etherredge Center box office manager.
Providing cross-genre cantus firmus for Bird's Eye View is TIQ founder and violinist David Balakrishnan's four-movement work "Aeroelasticity: Harmonies of Impermanence," the result of a 2014 Chamber Music America commissioning grant. "Aeroelasticity" is dedicated to and inspired by Balakrishan's father, Dr. A.V. Balakrishnan, professor of engineering at UCLA. "Aeroelasticity" was the subject matter and title of Dr. Balakrishnan's last book, and though his son did not inherit his love of numbers, the younger Balakrishnan still finds parallels below the surface between his work and his father'.
"[My father's] book intends to make meaningful and useable sense out of the incredibly complex patterns that continually changing air currents create when they interact. I see that as mirroring my own lifelong pursuit of composing stylistically integrated music drawing from apparently disparate musical genres and dialects, sifting for universal congruities buried beneath the cultural overlay."
As in most of Balakrishnan's compositions, such as his 2016 Grammy nominated composition "Confetti Man" from the previous TIQ recording of the same name, "Aeroelasticity" incorporates musical elements from all over the globe, from bluegrass to classical Indian music.
Since its inception in 1985, the Turtle Island Quartet, has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 GRAMMY® Awards for Best Classical Crossover category, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles, and by devising a performance practice that honors both, the state of the art has inevitably been redefined. Cellist nonpareil Yo-Yo Ma has proclaimed TIQ to be "a unified voice that truly breaks new ground - authentic and passionate - a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today."
The Quartet's birth was the result of violinist David Balakrishnan's brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while writing his master's thesis at Antioch University West. The journey has taken Turtle Island through forays into folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, new age, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India …a repertoire consisting of hundreds of ingenious arrangements and originals.
It has included more than a dozen recordings on labels such as Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc, soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio credits such as the Today Show, All Things Considered, Prairie Home Companion, and Morning Edition, feature articles in People and Newsweek magazines, and collaborations with famed artists such as clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, guitar legends Leo Kottke and the Assad brothers, The Manhattan Transfer, pianists Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut and Ramsey Lewis, singers Tierney Sutton and Nellie McKay, the Ying Quartet and the Parsons and Luna Negra Dance Companies.
Another unique element of Turtle Island is their revival of venerable improvisational and compositional chamber traditions that have not been explored by string players for nearly 200 years. At the time of Haydn's apocryphal creation of the string quartet form, musicians were more akin to today's saxophonists and keyboard masters of the jazz and pop world, i.e., improvisers, composers, and arrangers.
Each Turtle Island member is accomplished in these areas of expertise. As Turtle Island members continue to refine their skills through the development of repertory by some of today's cutting edge composers, through performances and recordings with major symphonic ensembles, and through a determined educational commitment, the Turtle Island Quartet stakes its claim as the quintessential 'New World' string quartet of the 21st century