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Turtle Island Quartet

Its name derived from creation mythology found in Native American Folklore, the Turtle Island Quartet, since its inception in 1985, has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and most recently, the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles, and by devising a performance practice that honors both, the state of the art has inevitably been redefined. Cellist nonpareil Yo-Yo Ma has proclaimed TIQ to be “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”

The Quartet’s birth was the result of violinist David Balakrishnan’s brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while completing his master’s degree program at Antioch University West. The journey has 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…a repertoire consisting of hundreds of ingenious arrangements and originals. It has included over a dozen recordings on labels such as Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc, soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio credits such as the Today Show, All Things Considered, Prairie Home Companion, and Morning Edition, feature articles in People and Newsweek magazines, and collaborations with famed artists such as clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, guitar legends such as Leo Kottke and the Assad brothers, The Manhattan Transfer, pianists Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron and Ramsey Lewis, the Ying Quartet and the Parsons Dance Company.

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“A standard beyond the reach of its few contemporaries... In the multifarious idiom they have all but invented, Turtle Island remains the ne plus ultra.” —Los Angeles Times

“....zest, imagination and brilliant technique...” —San Francisco Examiner

“It must have been like this when Beethoven was taking Vienna by storm...” the exhilaration of see the future of classical music unfold before your eyes and ears.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The strings sing, not like angels, but like they’ve been around. The improvisations...hang tough, solidly built, and take no back talk from anybody.” —The Seattle Post-Intelligence

“...intellectually engaging, technically dazzling and emotionally rich...” —The Birmingham News

“Impeccable precision in its pitch and coordination...ebullient!” -New York Times

“It’s group string jazz at its finest, not only brilliantly conceived but brilliantly played as well, by master-musicians having a wonderful time with their own wit and humor and imagination. —Sacramento Bee

“At some other time, in some other venue, I may have heard a better live performance

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Albums

Confetti Man

Azica Records
2014

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Have You Ever...

Telarc Records
2010

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A Love Supreme: The...

Telarc Records
2007

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