Blurring the boundaries of classical music has proven fruitful for the New York-based string quartet Brooklyn Rider. After being the only classical ensemble invited to play at National Public Radio’s showcase at the South by Southwest Festival in March, during its extensive North American tour, Brooklyn Rider’s new recording, Dominant Curve (issued by In a Circle Records) debuted last week at number 15 on Billboard’s Classical Chart. The group continues to garner praise for its ability to incorporate new ideas and styles into the traditional classical repertoire. According to New York Times music critic Steve Smith:
“Brooklyn Rider stands out for its consistent refinement, globe-spanning stylistic range, do-it-yourself gumption, and integration of standard repertory works into the mix.”
Brooklyn Rider’s artistic vision has won considerable attention from public radio. This exposure originated in 2005, when its violinist, Colin Jacobsen, was selected as a Young Artist-in-Residence on the nationally syndicated program Performance Today. The group’s first solo CD, Passport, was named one of NPR Music’s “Best Classical CDs of 2008.” Fred Child credited Brooklyn Rider with “re-creating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.” Last November, the quartet was invited to perform around host Bob Boilen’s desk as part of NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert” series, podcast on npr.org. In February, a track from Brooklyn Rider’s collaboration album Silent City was presented on “All Songs Considered,” and its new CD, Dominant Curve, was featured on “All Things Considered” in April. The album subsequently debuted on Billboard’s Classical Chart, and rose to number three on Amazon Classical and number twelve on iTunes Classical.
Hailed as a vital and dynamic ensemble, Brooklyn Rider is dedicated to both in-depth interpretations of existing quartet repertoire and to the creation of new works. The Brooklyn-based quartet is known for its illuminating, raw, and edgy performances of adventurous, genre-defying repertoire. Its musicians have traveled the world as members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and gathered influences and inspiration from around the world. They have explored creative collaborations with Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and Persian kemancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor; the latter resulted in the critically acclaimed 2008 World Village/Harmonia Mundi release Silent City.
Dominant Curve, a new self-produced recording from Brooklyn Rider marks the group’s second release on the In a Circle label and its third release overall. Dominant Curve charts a new direction for the ensemble. The album celebrates the pioneering vision of Claude Debussy and his ongoing influence on music today. Centered on a fresh and vivid interpretation of the composer’s great String Quartet in G minor, Dominant Curve also includes four works of similar disposition created for Brooklyn Rider within the past year.