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Turtle Island Quartet to Play at Academy Event
elisabeth strayer 11 editor-in-chief volume 85
September 12, 2009

Lauded by the New York Times for its “impeccable precision in…pitch and coordination” and by the Los Angeles Times as “a sterling example of first-rate jazz music-making,” the Turtle Island Quartet, with special guest Mike Marshall, will perform in mid-November at an Academy Event.
Winner of Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover Album in both 2006 and 2008, the quartet has produced over a dozen albums since their founding in 1985.violin-banner
With violinists David Balakrishnan and Mads Tolling, violist Jeremy Kittel, and cellist Mark Summer, the string quartet, a classically-trained group that improvises in blues, jazz, and world-music styles, describes itself as “a connecting point for the rich diversity of American music.”
The Turtle Island Quartet has a series of programs that feature special guests with whom they perform. Mr. Marshall, an acoustic musician who will be playing mandolin and mandocello for this concert, will join the quartet for this program.
During their November 16-17 stay, the Turtle Island Quartet will interact with the community through master classes. These master classes will provide opportunities for groups of student musicians to work with the visiting professionals, focusing on such values as technique and ensemble work.
In addition, Mr. Summer said that the group “often teach[es] young string players how to play the blues in about an hour.”
Mr. Summer added, “It’s really gratifying to watch players improvise for the first time on instruments that are so often associated with perfecting written-out music,” because “the art of improvisation…is the
basis of Turtle Island’s repertoire.”
Academic Dean and music teacher Peter Warsaw looks forward to seeing “our string players…inspired and coached by world-class performers.” The quartet may even appear in a few classes including Theory and Composition, Chorus, Madrigals, Chamber Music, and Wind Ensemble.
While the group will be focusing in the music department, the entire community will be able to enjoy the Academy Event concert on the evening of Monday, November 16.

Mr. Warsaw said, “I am also excited…for our larger audience…[to] see and hear what’s possible with string instruments.”