Regional Spotlight: Brooklyn Rider

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
August 25, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. — How many classical string quartets get themselves invited to jam at jazz festivals?

The answer is not many.

But New York-based Brooklyn Rider is one such group.

They play with ease on both the concert stage or at hang-outs like Joe's Pub in New York. Bucking tradition, their fresh and unexpected approach to the classics re-energizes the string quartet repertoire. At the same time, Brooklyn Rider commissions new music, performs with unusual world music groups and writes music of their own. Though the term 'cross-over' might apply, the synthesis makes for a new kind of hybrid that gives us pause considering the way we pigeon-hole musical genres in the first place.

Brooklyn Rider has deep Minnesota connections. Violist Nicholas Cords grew up in White Bear Lake. Brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen - violin and cello - spent summers at their grandmother's cabin near Stillwater. Violinist Johnny Gandelsman is building his Minnesota connection counting this year as his fifth playing in the Stillwater Music Festival going on right now.

Brooklyn Rider joins Performance Today host Fred Child in the MPR booth at the Minnesota State Fair this Sunday morning. And they'll co-host Regional Spotlight this Thursday at 3:15 on Classical Minnesota Public Radio with MPR's Alison Young.

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