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Pagosa Springs News Summaries
Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Turtle Island Quartet Coming to Concert Hall
Indiana Reed | 4/23/12
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Called “a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today” by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Turtle Island Quartet will perform at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, Wednesday, May 9, 7:30pm.

The “Turtles” will be joined by Mike Marshall, one of the world’s most accomplished and versatile string instrumentalists.

Its name derived from Native American Folklore, the Turtle Island Quartet has been cited as a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings, and called the quintessential American string quartet of the 21st century. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy for Best Classical Crossover, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet aesthetic with contemporary American musical styles. The repertoire consists of hundreds of ingenious arrangements and originals.
turtle island quartet
Turtle Island Quartet was the brainchild of violinist and composer David Balakrishnan who developed the quartet’s vision while writing his master’s thesis at Antioch University West. Balakrishnan joined with Mark Summer (cello), Mads Tolling (violin), and Jeremy Kittel (viola), and theirs has been a journey 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.

On April 17, 2012, however, Tolling and Kittel announced their departure from the group to pursue solo careers. Balakrishnan and Summer have thus welcomed violinist Mateusz Smoczynski and violist Benjamin von Gutzeit to the quartet.

Noted Balakrishnan in a press statement, “It’s a big challenge to go through membership change in Turtle Island. The premise of the group requires strong players with professional level ability in both jazz and classical music traditions...  Smoczynski has been burning up the surprisingly powerful Polish jazz scene with his fierce evocative jazz stylings, (and) von Gutzeit is that rare bird, highly-prized and sought after by us Turtles, a true jazz violist.”

The quartet is joined at the Community Concert Hall by master of the mandolin, guitar and violin Mike Marshall. With playing said to be as imaginative and adventurous as it is technically thrilling, Marshall possesses a gift literally revered as a combination of skill and instinct rare in the world of American vernacular instrumentalists.

Marshall cut his teeth on traditional American music, though his interest in many musicals styles eventually led him to the San Francisco Bay area at age 19 to join the original David Grisman Quintet in 1978. This band toured and recorded with the legendary jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli, Mark O’Connor and guitarist Tony Rice and helped set a new standard for American string band music. Since then, Marshall has continued pushing the boundaries of acoustic music.
Describing the Turtle Island Quartet with Mike Marshall, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, “It must have been like this when Beethoven was taking Vienna by storm – the exhilaration of seeing the future of classical music unfold before your eyes and ears.”

Tickets for the Turtle Island Quartet with Mike Marshall, ($30/$40) are available on-line at www.durangoconcerts.com or by calling 970.247.7657, or at the Ticket Office in Downtown Durango at 7th St. and Main Ave. All sales final.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, opening at 6:30 p.m.

The Community Concert Hall is a not-for-profit, multi-use performance venue located on the campus of Fort Lewis College. Its ability to bring a diverse spectrum of shows to Southwest Colorado is made possible through a partnership with the college, a state-supported, independent institution of higher education, and through financial and in-kind contributions from generous members of the community.
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