Best Classical Crossover Album GRAMMY Award Winner
Now available in multichannel SACD as well as the CD recording!
The Turtle Island Quartet makes its premiere recording on Telarc with the release of 4+Four. The album, which is a collaborative project with the Ying Quartet, is a diverse mix of classical and jazz by two of today's most acclaimed ensembles. The initial idea for the project was spawned several years ago at a board meeting of Chamber Music America, where David Balakrishnan of TIQ and Phillip Ying of the Ying Quartet happened to be sitting next to one another. Deep into an intense group discussion on expanding the definition of chamber music, Balakrishnan and Ying began a side conversation of their own.
"Instead of so much talk," says Ying in the liner notes, "why not get our two quartets playing together to explore what all this means for the past, present and future of the string quartet?" The two groups later convened at a hotel bar in Lawrence, Kansas—hardly an auspicious meeting place. "But if you happened to be walking by on any afternoon during a certain week in November 2002," says Ying, "you would have seen tables and chairs all pushed aside and heard the sound of two string quartets hard at work, deeply immersed in creating a brand new repertoire."
One of the many strengths of the project is the genesis of substantial new repertoire specifically composed or arranged for the two quartets. Co-commissioned by the Lied Center of the University of Kansas, the Porter Center of Brevard College, and Minnesota State University at Moorhead for Mara's Garden of False Delights by TIQ violinist David Balakrishnan, the collaboration also includes an original octet by TIQ violinist Evan Price, as well as brand new arrangements of La Creation du Monde by Darius Milhaud, Julie-O for cello duo by TIQ cellist Mark Summer, Because by John Lennon, and Yearnin' by Oliver Nelson. Following the premiere in Lawrence, Kansas, the two quartets toured extensively together across the United States, from Alaska to New York.
Telarc came into the picture when producer Thom Moore met David Balakrishnan of TIQ at the 2003 Grammy Awards. "Not unlike the conversation that happened between David and Phillip Ying, we struck up a conversation about what makes a recording project great and worthy to produce," says Moore. "David began telling me about an idea he had for a project that meshed the traditional classical string quartet with that of jazz, groove, and improvisation. He immediately had my attention and my curiosity piqued. The result of that conversation is a recording invented by musicians who are willing to go far beyond the boundaries of tradition and expectation, to explore what is possible." The recording took place April 1-3, 2004, at the Sosnoff Auditorium at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College in New York.
For the past twenty years, the Turtle Island Quartet has been at the vanguard of musical innovation and eclecticism. Blending a comprehensive understanding of the classical string tradition with a virtuosic assimilation of 20th century American styles, TIQ continues to redefine the string quartet for the 21st century. The quartet has developed a unique and internationally acclaimed musical voice, drawing on the diverse influences of folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, new age, rock, hip-hop and world music (specifically from Latin America and India) and grafting them to their deep and solid European classical roots.
The Ying Quartet is known throughout the world for its artistry and outstanding performance and communications skills in settings that range from Carnegie Hall to small farm towns. The quartet came together in 1994 in the small rural community of Jesup, Iowa, with a two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Ying Quartet is committed to a repertoire that ranges from the works of Haydn and Mozart to commissioning two new quartets each year in their LifeMusic series. The quartet also enjoys a notable reputation for teaching as the faculty quartet-in-residence at the Eastman School in Rochester, NY.