GLEN ELLYN, Ill. – Turtle Island Quartet brings “Birth of the Cool” tour featuring new arrangements of cool jazz standards that blur the line between classical and jazz to the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) and Club MAC, Friday, Feb. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. For the popular Club MAC performances, MAC’s Playhouse Theatre is transformed into an intimate cabaret setting with café tables, a full bar and great artists. These performances are sponsored in part by WFMT 98.7 FM.
In addition to performing their versions of classics by Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Lenny Tristano and others, the quartet will premiere a brand-new work by founder and violinist David Balakrishnan. Called “Rebirth of the Holy Fool,” this work takes cool jazz as a starting point but borrows extensively from bluegrass, classical, jazz and Indian music – a work typical of the Turtle Island Quartet’s style, yet still utterly surprising and unexpected. Selections from the Turtle Island Quartet’s latest album, the Grammy Award-nominated “Confetti Man,” will round out the program.
Turtle Island Quartet includes the quartet’s founder and resident composer David Balakrishnan (violin) along with Alex Hargreaves (violin), Malcom Parson (cello) and Benjamin von Gutzeit (viola). For three decades, Turtle Island Quartet has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover Album, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has called the quartet “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”
A unique aspect of Turtle Island is their revival of venerable improvisational and compositional chamber traditions that have not been explored by string players for nearly 200 years. At the time of Haydn’s creation of the string quartet form, musicians were improvisers, composers, and arrangers much like today’s saxophonists and keyboard masters of the jazz and pop world. Each Turtle Island member is accomplished in these areas of expertise as well as having extensive conservatory training.
The idea for Turtle Island Quartet grew out of Balakrishnan’s brainstorming while completing his master’s degree program at Antioch University West. The journey has since taken Turtle Island through forays into folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, new age, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India; and into collaborations with famed artists clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, guitar legends Leo Kottke and the Assad brothers; The Manhattan Transfer, pianists Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut and Ramsey Lewis; singers Tierney Sutton and Nellie McKay; the Ying Quartet; and the Parsons and Luna Negra Dance Companies.
Turtle Island Quartet has been heard on the Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc labels. TV and radio credits include “The Today Show,” NPR’s “All Things Considered, “A Prairie Home Companion” and Morning Edition. They have also been featured in articles in People and Newsweek magazines.
Turtle Island Quartet comes to Club MAC in the Playhouse Theatre of the McAninch Arts Center at 425 Fawell Blvd. in Glen Ellyn, Ill. with two performances, Friday, Feb. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 27 at
8 p.m. Theater Seating tickets are $45. For tickets or more information, call 630.942.4000 or visit AtTheMAC.org.
About the MAC
McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.
The mission of the MACis to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression,
establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visit AtTheMAC.org, facebook.com/AtTheMAC or twitter.com/AtTheMAC.
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The MAC’s 2015-2016 Season is made possible in part with support by Arts Midwest, BMO Harris, The DuPage Foundation, Hilton of Lisle/Naperville, WDCB 90.9 FM and the College of DuPage Foundation.
Programs at the MAC are partially supported through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.