Turtle Island Quartet, a string quartet fusing the classical music tradition with contemporary American styles, will open the 31st year of the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts Series at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11, at Hesston Mennonite Church.
Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album, Turtle Island has led the way in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings since 1985.
“Turtle Island Quartet was really the first string quartet to achieve artistic and commercial success merging traditional string instrumentation with jazz, improvisational styles and contemporary compositional techniques,” said Matthew Schloneger, HBPA director. “They’re still the best in the world at what they do, and they put on a superbly energetic and entertaining live concert.”
The quartet’s repertoire includes folk, bluegrass, swing, bebop, funk, R&B, new age, rock and hip-hop as well as music of Latin America and India. They have more than a dozen recordings with well-known music labels, collaborations with famed artists, composers and symphonic ensembles, soundtracks for major motion pictures, television and radio credits including “The Today Show,” “All Things Considered,” “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Morning Edition” and feature articles in “People” and “Newsweek” magazines.
In addition to their own original work, Turtle Island’s HBPA concert will focus on the music of Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane.
Members, David Balakrishnan on violin, Mark Summer on cello, Mateusz Smoczynki on violin and Benjamin von Gutzeit on viola, are known worldwide for their revival of improvisational and compositional chamber traditions that have not been explored by string players for about 200 years – a unique trait explored in modern music by saxophonists and keyboard masters of the jazz and pop worlds. Their innovative approach to chamber music has moved them from being termed “alternative” at one time to now firmly inhabiting mainstream expectations.
World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma described the quartet as “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”
Single tickets for Turtle Island Quartet are available for $20 or $25. Season tickets for all five concerts in the series are also available from $75 to $85 for adults. Discounts are available for students and senior citizens for both single and season tickets.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 620-327-8158 (Hesston College) or 316-284-5205 (Bethel College) or visit the HBPA website.
HBPA is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency which believes a great nation deserves great Art, Excel Industries and Hustler Turf Equipment (Hesston), the cities of Hesston and North Newton and area patrons.