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Notes from the Brooklyn Rider Almanac

// Mar 24,2015


For string quartet Brooklyn Rider’s latest project, they asked a select group of composers to create short works for them “inspired by a creative muse from a relatively recent memory.”

The composers they reached out to came from genres far and wide; the worlds of jazz, rock, and folk, but each had a fresh perspective on string quartet writing.

Below, we’ve laid out our favorite statements from the composers featured on the March 28th program:

“Maintenance Music is inspired by [Mierle Laderman Ukeles’] belief in the power of naming day-to-day acts of maintenance as art.”
Maintenance Music (2012)
Dana Lyn (b.1874) – American multi-instrumentalist
inspired by Mierle Laderman Ukeles

“Most Australians are strongly influenced by the land we live in. In particular those who have experienced the extraordinary beauty and intensity of the inland deserts, the great distances, the heat, the micro beauty, the sudden glimpse of richness in blossom…”
Simpson’s Gap (2012)
Padma Newsome (b.1961)
Australian mult-instrumentalist
inspired by Albert Namatjira

“If I were giving out gold statues to the composers whose music sounds the most like the anarchic and nonsensical poetry that nonetheless make some kind of sense in some kind of previously unspoken but now clearly spoken and entirely charming language after which my music is modeled then Christian Wolff had better rent a tux and get his acceptance speech ready.”
Quartet, Parts One & Two (2012)
Greg Saunier (b.1969)
American drummer & producer (Deerhoof)
inspired by Christian Wolff

“When I was asked by Brooklyn Rider to choose an artist who had inspired me, James Brown instantly came to mind. His groove-based music features complex polyphony, expressive virtuosity, and a ritual-like intensity.”
Dig The Say (2012)
Vijay Iyer (b.1971)
American jazz pianist & writer
inspired by James Brown

“When I was music director for the Mark Morris Dance Group, two of the dancers were Maile Okamura and Amber Merkins, otherwise known as the future wives of the Brooklyn Rider violin section. So ?Morris Dance? is a humorous tribute to all three: Mark, Maile, and Amber.”
Morris Dance (2012)
Ethan Iverson (b.1973)
American jazz pianist & writer (The Bad Plus)
inspired by Mark Morris

“I had recently read East of Eden. Naturally, he was on my mind and the environment was stirring
my imagination.”
John Steinbeck – August 12 (2012)
Bill Frisell (b.1951)
American jazz guitarist
inspired by John Steinbeck