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Turtle Island Quartet

Island Prayers — World Premiere

Oct 06

Performance Dates

  • Fri Oct 06 2023 7:30 PM


Meany Hall – Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater

World Premiere! Since its inception over three decades ago, the Turtle Island Quartet has honored the lineage of musical traditions performed in North America, both past and present. Most recently, they have forged a new direction as an original music ensemble with Island Prayers, an ambitious, multi-composer piece. This evening-length work celebrates the range of influences within the rich cultural spectrum of the continent known as “Turtle Island.” The new music by award-winning composers Terence Blanchard, Rhiannon Giddens, Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate and David Balakrishnan brings a unique combination of jazz, American roots, Indigenous and folkloric styles to its premiere at Meany Center. Co-commissioned by Meany Center.

Presented in partnership with Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center



Grammy-award winner Terence Blanchard is a genre-defining trumpeter and composer with a large range of work. Blanchard is known for film scores with Spike Lee, Regina King, George Lucas and Kasi Lemmons; operas performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National, Chicago Lyric and Opera Theater of Saint Louis; and jazz projects with legends like Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey and Wayne Shorter.

MacArthur Genius Fellow, singer and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens draws her influence from her deep knowledge of western classical music and from studying foundational traditions such as the Griot of Mali to inform her raw execution of bluegrass and other American roots music from Tidewater and Appalachia. Giddens is the current artistic director of the Silk Road Ensemble and her opera, Omar, was awarded the 2023 Pulitzer Prize.

New Music USA Composer-in-Residence and Joyce Award winner Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate has written for the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, ETHEL, National Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, and many others. Impichchaachaaha is also a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation whose stomp dances implore the shaking of turtle shells among many traditions involving the turtle & Turtle Island.

Grammy-award winning Turtle Island Quartet founder and violinist David Balakrishnan’s eclectic compositions and arrangements have defined an entire genre of chamber music.

This unique, jazzy four piece continues to entertain with its distinctive brand of tight, impressive bow-etry in motion. 

The ENCORE+ digital program for this performance is available to READ ONLINE

Chamber Music Series generously underwritten by Cecilia Paul & Harry Reinert and Eric & Margaret Rothchild​

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