posted November 1, 2010

GPS to Feature Grammy-Winning Turtle Island Quartet on Nov. 12

The Hope College Great Performance Series will feature the multi-Grammy winning Turtle Island Quartet on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

"This group has set a standard beyond the reach of its few contemporaries," said "The Los Angeles Times." "In the multifarious idiom they have all but invented, TurtleIsland remains the ne plus ultra."

Turtle Island derived its name from Native American creation lore when it began in 1985.  The quartet appeared on the Great Performance Series lineup in 1992 and now returns as the group celebrates its 25th anniversary as an ensemble.

Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover category, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles. Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma has proclaimed Turtle Island 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 most recent release is "Have You Ever Been...," based on Jimi Hendrix's work, and it is already garnering praise like that heard for the group's Grammy-award winning recordings.

The past 25 years have 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 arrangements and originals. The ensemble has more than 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" and "Morning Edition"; feature articles in "People" and "Newsweek" magazines; and collaborations with famed artists such as clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, vibraphonist Stefon Harris and the Parsons Dance Company.

Another unique element of Turtle Island is the quartet's 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 apocryphal creation of the string quartet form, musicians were more akin to today's saxophonists and keyboard masters of the jazz and pop world, i.e., improvisers, composers, and arrangers. Each TurtleIsland member is accomplished in these areas of expertise as well as having extensive conservatory training.

Original members are David Balakrishnan and Mark Summer. Violinist Balakrishman founded the quartet based on his post-graduate cross-genre compositional explorations. Summer established himself as arguably the finest cross-over cellist of the modern age. They are joined by Danish jazz violinist Mads Tolling and violist Jeremy Kittel, who holds the title of U.S. National Scottish fiddle champion.

Individual tickets for the performance are $18 for regular admission, $13 for senior citizens, and $6 for children 18 and under, and are available at the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse.  The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and may be called at (616) 395-7890.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.  Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.

Additional information about the Turtle Island Quartet may be obtained online by visiting www.hope.edu/gps.