Biography

DAVID BALAKRISHNAN – Violine
graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in music composition and violin, and earned a Masters Degree in music composition at Antioch University West. His initial eight year tenure as co-founder of the Turtle Island String Quartet included several recordings for the Windham Hill Jazz label, a movie soundtrack, collaborations with groups like the Modern Jazz Quartet and the Manhattan Transfer, feature articles in People and Newsweek magazines, and concert, TV, radio appearances all over the world. In 1989 Balakrishnan received a Grammy nomination for his arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia” from the TISQ’s first recording. He has been awarded numerous composing grants, including a composer fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and commissions from the Readers Digest / Lila Wallace and Meet The Composer foundations. His seven movement string orchestra piece “Spider Dreams” has been performed many times, including the TISQ’s live recording with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi. His most recent orchestral composition, “Concertino For Jazz Violin And Orchestra: Little Mouse Jumps,” was commissioned by conductor / violinist Marin Alsop and premiered by the Eugene Symphony Orchestra and Alsop in September of 1995. David’s latest composition, a four movement work for mandolin quartet and violin, was premiered last December at New York’s Merkin Hall by the Modern Mandolin Quartet and the composer / violinist. In addition to his newly resumed duties as a member of the TISQ, David plans to continue to compose and arrange for various ensembles and to run the annual jazz string seminar at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Chamber Music America.

DANNY SEIDENBERG – Viola

a Juilliard School graduate, and a member of the Turtle Island String Quartet since January ’93, made his solo viola debut at age 16 with the Pittsburgh Symphony as part of their Young People’s Concert series. He has performed as principal violist for the Joffrey Ballet, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Solisti New York, Dance Theater of Harlem, Soviet Emigre Orchestra, Julliard Chamber Orchestra, New York Virtuosi, New York Symphonic Ensemble, the Next Wave Festival, Masterwork Chorale, and the Orchestra da Camera. During his tenure in New York as an established recording and performing artist he also played regularly with the American Ballet Theater, New York City Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, American Composers’ Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Radio City Music Hall, New York City Ballet, and various Broadway shows. He has toured, performed and recorded with Steve Reich and Musicians, the Village People, Liza Minelli, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Richie Havens, Led Zepelin, and has recorded with his own progressive rock group “Spy” for CBS Records, improvisational jazz-fusion with “Szobel” for Arista Records, and various chamber music recordings for Essay Records. Mr. Seidenberg performs extensively as a violinist as well, and as an early instrument specialist with groups including the Grande Bande, the Eighteenth Century Ensemble, Classical Bande, Opera Antica, and Aston Magna. He lives part time in Los Angeles, working in the film and recording industry.

MARK SUMMER – Cello

has led a musical doublelife, improvising pop and jazz on piano, guitar, and drums from an early age while studying classical cello. After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music, he worked with the Winnipeg Symphony for three seasons before leaving to form his own groups, playing original music which was broadcast on Canadian national radio. Moving to San Francisco in 1985, Mark continued his study of jazz while performing with the Chamber Symphony of San Francisco, the Oakland Symphony, and others. As a co-founder of TISQ, he has developed a unique and kaleidoscopic style which incorporates virtuoso jazz soloing, distinctive bass lines, and extended percussive techniques adapted from the guitar, gaining him recognition by critics as today’s premier jazz cellist. He has been the subject of feature articles in Strings magazine and Bass Player magazine, and his effervescent presence on stage prompted People magazine to remark, “he whacks at his cello like a blissed-out rock drummer.” Mark’s composition, Julie-o, a piece for solo cello which appears on the TISQ album Metropolis, is a favorite of cellists around the world. In addition to composing and performing with TISQ, Mark has recorded with Will Ackerman, performed with Toni Childs and currently plays in the San Francisco ensemble Trio con Brio.

EVAN PRICE – Violine

has accomplished much in his scant 24 years. He has performed with some of the most outstanding masters of their respective violin genres: Stephane Grappelli, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Vassar Clements, Johnny Frigo, Johnny Gimble, Buddy Spicher, Alasdair Fraser, and Mark O’Connor as well as pop icons Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Roberta Flack and Patti Austin. He has been the U.S. Scottish Fiddling Champion, Kentucky State Fiddle Champion (no small accomplishment in the birthplace of bluegrass), twice Canadian Junior Fiddle Champion and a record five-time Canadian Novelty Fiddling Champion. He has studied violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he worked with Linda Cerone, and at Berklee College, studying with noted jazz violinist / educator Matt Glaser. Glaser says of his former student, “Evan is a fabulously gifted violinist–he can play beautifully in any of a number of styles. He is undeniably one of the most melodic and inventive jazz violinists that I know.” It was Glaser who referred Evan to Turtle Island during a recent search for talented string players. Evan is currently on the faculty at Wellesley College Music Department and teaches jazz violin and folk fiddling privately.

Discography

* Turtle Island String Quartet “Retrospective” Windham Hill
* By the Fireside

* Who Do We Think We Are ?

* A Night In Tunisia, A Week In Detroit ( with Detroit Symphony / Neeme Jarvi )

* Homage ( with Dr. Billy Taylor )

* Caito Marcondes ( Music of Brazil )

* Spider Dreams ( Bigband, Jazz String Orchestra )

* On The Town

* Metropolis

* SkyLife

* Turtle Island String Quartet ( debut recording )

* A Shock To The System ( Film score with Michael Caine )

* Winter Soltice II,III,IV,V

* Laments and Dances ( with Newman & Oltman )

Reviews

…sobald die Instrumente angeschlossen sind geht die Post ab. Die vier amerikanischen “Schildkröten” führten im Mozarteum vor, was beim Kronos Quartett zur Esoterik zu verkommen droht; vitales Musizieren … schlichtweg eine Klasse für sich.
“SALZBURGER NACHRICHTEN”
Vier Vollblutmusiker, technisch brilliant und motiviert bis in die Fingerspitzen, aber alle gewohnten Vorstellungen über den Haufen werfend … eine Sternstunde eigener Art.
“RHEIN-NECKAR-ZEITUNG”

Das Turtle Island String Quartet ist kein einfaches Streichensemble, sondern eines der besten Cross-Over-Quartette.
“NEUE GRAZER ZEITUNG”

Die Spielfreude riß das Publikum mit … eine Oase für Musikliebhaber.
“RHEINISCHE POST”

Die Musik des Quartetts ist unnachahmlich, denn sie bricht aus den herkömmlichen Strukturen und Kategorien aus.
“WESER KURIER”

No Mozart, no Haydn – maybe a little Bach … musikalisch absolut souverän und witzig dargeboten.
“WESTDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG”

Das Vergnügen eines beschwingten, musikalischen Abends, der von höchster Virtuosität geprägt war.
“FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU”

Ausgeklügelte Arrangements, effektvolle Jam-Sessions, Free Jazz und Fusion Phasen kreieren sie zu einem aufregend swingenden Streichquartett-Sound … eindeutig eine Avantgarde Gruppe. Eine der gelungensten Veranstaltungen der Ludwigsburger Schloßfestspiele.
“LUDWIGSBURGER ZEITUNG”

“while the respected Kronos Quartet visits … the frontiers of jazz, bluegrass, world music and even Jimi Hendrix, Turtle Island dwells in them, and stands tradition on its civilized ear.”
“PEOPLE MAGAZINE”

“a unified voice that truly breaks new ground … authentic and passionate … a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”
“YO-YO MA”

“this unique, jazzy four-piece continues to entertain with its distinctive brand of tight, impressive bow-etry in motion.”
“BILLBOARD MAGAZINE”

“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.”
“LEONARD FEATHER, LOS ANGELES TIMES”

“a real honest-to-goodness string quartet with beautiful shoes”
“GARRISON KEILLOR”

Specials

PERFORMANCES:
1997 / 98 gibt es jede Menge Konzerte … u.a. Berlin, Wien, Zürich, Frankfurt, Rheingau-Festival, Mosel-Festwochen, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Mozart-Fest Würzburg, Düsseldorfer Altstadtherbst, Münchner-Klavier-Sommer, Zelt Musik Freiburg, sowie eine Live-CD-Produktion des NDR in Hamburg …
WITH ORCHESTRAS:
1998/99 “Beethoven on Turtle Island” Orchesterkonzerte u.a. RSO Frankfurt/ Carl St. Clair (26.03.98), Oakland Symphony, Minnesota Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, für 1998 / 99 mit dem Rundfunk-Orchester des BR (23.07.98) sowie Voranfragen der Stuttgarter und Berliner Philharmoniker …

Im März 98 wird das Quartett im Mozarteum Salzburg einen Meisterkurs für Streicher (neue Bogen- Rhythmus- und Improvisationstechniken) geben, der in ein Workshopkonzert mündet. Das TISQ und die Studenten werden dann die Suite für Streichensemble “Spider Dreams” (7 Sätze, ca. 35 Min.) aufführen.
TV APPEARANCES:
* “Aspekte”/ ZDF 27.06.97 und “Kulturzeit” von 3sat wurde das TISQ 1997 vorgestellt.
* das ZDF hat das TISQ-Konzert beim Rheingau Musik Festival aufgezeichnet.
* das Bayerische Fernsehen hat das TISQ-Konzert mit dem Rundfunk Orchester des BR beim Münchner Klaviersommer aufgezeichnet.

MUSIK

CCNIMBLER presents — Chick COREA ** Paquito D´RIVERA ** Dee Dee BRIDGEWATER a tribute to Billy Holiday ** IMANI the outstanding Afro-American Wind Quintet ** TANGO FIRST CENTURY a delightful combination of exciting music & dance ** Aniello DESIDERIO performing John McLaughlins Guitar Concerto “Europa-Thieves & Poets” ** Quartet Furioso “Vivaldi & Piazzolla ** Alvaro PIERRI “The fine Art of Guitar playing” ** CLARINET SUMMIT Sabine MEYER meets Paquito D´RIVERA ** Tracy SILVERMAN ” the greatest living exponent of the electric violin – BBC” ** The legendary Terry RILEY etc.