Brooklyn Rider Joins Mercury Classics

February 15, 2013

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.” — The New York Times

Brooklyn Rider is recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.” — NPR


February 14, 2013 (New York, NY) — Brooklyn Rider, the American string quartet lauded for its electrifying performances and progressive vision, has joined Universal Music’s Mercury Classics label in an exclusive partnership. The first album – A Walking Fire, to be released April 30, 2013 – reflects the artistic independence and enterprising mix of classic quartet literature and new works that has earned the foursome of violinist Johnny Gandelsman, violinist Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords and cellist Eric Jacobsen such wide acclaim. A Walking Fire features a seminal work by Béla Bartók alongside new works by contemporary Russian-American composer Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin and Brooklyn Rider’s own Colin Jacobsen.

Following the Mercury Classics philosophy, this partnership aims to support Brooklyn Rider in gaining an ever-expanding worldwide audience, while allowing their artistic work to remain uncompromised and their autonomy untouched. All releases will be co-branded with In a Circle, the imprint started by Brooklyn Rider violinist Johnny Gandelsman in 2008.

Dr. Alexander Buhr, managing director of Mercury Classics, says: “Brooklyn Rider are creative spirits in the truest sense. With dedication and artistic integrity, they have championed the grand string quartet tradition and have reinvented it as a powerful, imaginative experience for our time. We are very excited to welcome them to Mercury Classics.”

Brooklyn Rider violist Nicholas Cords says: “As inherent musicians, we believe that getting underneath the surface of a musical tradition other than the one we inherit can be life-changing. All of the works on A Walking Fire are unique products of this kind of encounter and we are thrilled to take our listeners along for the ride. The sense of embarking on a shared journey also seems a fitting way to celebrate an exciting new partnership with Mercury Classics.”

A Walking Fire resonates with a spirit of wide-eyed exploration and passionate creation. The album includes Brooklyn Rider’s signature interpretation of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 2, a work the Hungarian composer and musical explorer wrote during the years of World War I. Ranging from the jaunty and playful to the lyrical and funereal, Ljova’s Culai channels the sound and spirit of Nicolae Neacsu, nicknamed “Culai,” the late violinist-vocalist of the famed Gypsy ensemble Taraf de Haïdouks. Colin Jacobsen’s Three Miniatures for String Quartet is an irresistibly lyrical musical fantasy stemming from the composer’s appreciation of the close connection between music, poetry and the visual arts in Persian culture – an appreciation gleaned from Jacobsen’s friendship with Persian master musician Kayhan Kalhor.

According to Brookyn Rider, A Walking Fire “takes us on a guided expedition to three legendary musical centers. With stops in the Romanian village of Clejani, World War One era Budapest, and the fragrant gardens of Esfahan, A Walking Fire celebrates the transformative nature of travel and its potential to act as a creative catalyst.”

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