About Brooklyn Rider
New York string quartet Brooklyn Rider are known for their accessible but genre- and boundary-challenging repertoire. In addition to recording works by the likes of Beethoven, as on 2012's Seven Steps, and Philip Glass, as on 2017's Philip Glass: String Quartets Nos. 6 & 7, they also draw focus on emerging composers and contribute their own original compositions. The ensemble's many collaborations include recordings by artists spanning Béla Fleck, Suzanne Vega, Kojiro Umezaki, and Gabriel Kahane.
Co-founded in 2005 by brothers Colin Jacobsen (violin) and Eric Jacobsen (cello), who were also among the founding members of chamber orchestra the Knights, Brooklyn Rider's original lineup also included violinist Johnny Gandelsman and violist Nicholas Cords. The quartet soon founded the Stillwater Music Festival (2006-2015) with an eye to premiering new works. Brooklyn Rider made their recording debut via Gandelsman's In a Circle label with 2008's Passport, which included a set of Armenian folk songs by Komitas. Later that year, they issued The Silent City with Iranian composer and kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor. They could be heard on Suzanne Vega's Close-Up Series beginning in 2010, the same year Claude Debussy, John Cage, and their own Colin Jacobsen were among the composers represented on Dominant Curve. The year 2011 saw the release of Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass as well as the group's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center debuts.
Consisting of their own piece Seven Steps, a work by the Nighty Nite's Christopher Tignor, and Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Seven Steps arrived in 2012 on In a Circle. The following year, Mercury Classics released The Impostor, banjo compositions by Béla Fleck with the Nashville Symphony and Brooklyn Rider. Also from Mercury, 2013's A Walking Fire offered the music of Colin Jacobsen, Ljova Zhurbin, and Béla Bartók. In 2014, The Brooklyn Rider Almanac comprised commissioned string quartets from jazz, rock, and folk artists such as Bill Frisell, Aiofe O'Donovan, Deerhoof's Greg Saunier, and Wilco's Glenn Kotche. The quartet then collaborated with indie singer/songwriter/composer Gabriel Kahane on early 2016's The Fiction Issue, a set of art songs that also featured My Brightest Diamond and the poetry of Matthew Zapruder. By the time of the album's release, Eric Jacobsen had parted ways with Brooklyn Rider to focus on conducting, and was replaced by cellist Michael Nicolas.
Arriving later in 2016, So Many Things partnered Brooklyn Rider with opera star Anne Sofie von Otter on a live set of songs by songwriters including John Adams, Björk, and Rufus Wainwright. It was released by Naïve. Spontaneous Symbols followed on In a Circle in 2017 and concentrated on contemporaries Tyondai Braxton, Paula Matthusen, Kyle Sanna, and Evan Ziporyn. The following year, they paired with vocalist Magos Herrera for Dreamers. More collaborations arrived in 2019, including The Butterfly with Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and Sun on Sand with saxophonist Joshua Redman and composer Patrick Zimmerli. ~ Marcy Donelson