Dean's Lecture and Concert Series
This concert will be $15 for the public, free for the St. John's Community - There are only 100 available seats for public admission. Tickets are only available at the door, cash or check. We are unable to accept credit cards for ticket purchases. Doors open at 7pm.
The Brooklyn Rider Almanac
Over a century ago, the cross-disciplinary relationship between the German composer Arnold Schoenberg and Russian-born artist Wassily Kandinsky greatly affected each of their creative psyches. The string quartet played a supporting role in their first encounter, and we look to their symbiotic friendship as a springboard for The Brooklyn Rider Almanac, a commissioning project and the title of our latest album.
Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet, the composer’s first full dip into the opaque waters of atonality, was a musical lightning rod that sharply divided audiences and critics alike. Following the riotous premiere in Vienna in 1908, the work received its Munich debut some three years later. In the audience for that performance sat Kandinsky. Transformed by Schoenberg’s music, Kandinsky’s style took a further step towards abstraction with his landmark painting, Impression III, a visual synthesis of that very concert. A friendship ensued between these visionaries and Schoenberg soon became associated with of a group of artists surrounding Kandinsky known as Der Blaue Rieter (our very namesake). This group published Der Blaue Almanach in 1912; a highly eclectic collection of artwork, essays and music which served as an artistic testament to their era while also offering a vision for the future.
The unquenchable drive for artistic exploration and open embrace of the collective spirit displayed by Der Blaue Reiter are similarly hallmarks of today’s artistic zeitgeist, and The Brooklyn Rider Almanac attempts to honor the present. Using music as our project’s touchstone, we asked a select group of composers to create short works for us inspired by a creative muse from relatively recent memory. Not only did the composers readily accept the challenge, but the varied sources of inspiration—from David Byrne to Keith Haring to William Faulkner—were consistently a surprise and a delight to us.
Additionally, this project afforded us the opportunity to seek fresh perspectives on string quartet writing. On the surface, these composers come mostly from the other side of the classical fence; the worlds of jazz, rock, and folk. But more significantly, they represent some of our favorite musical thinkers and we were deeply confident they would have much to offer our medium. Our newly assembled cadre is inclusive of old friends and certain ‘musical crushes’—those we have long wished to approach, but lacked proper courage or circumstance. Recalling the eclecticism of Der Blaue Reiter Almanach, we have embraced the varied results and feel that our boundaries have been expanded in the process.
We are reminded at every turn of this project that music is a deeply immersive art form, something that cannot be understood divorced from its broader cultural context. By magnifying the creative force of inspiration, we hope that you will endeavor (as we do) to hear the music as only the tip of an iceberg. —Brooklyn Rider
For additional information, please contact Thomas McBee at 505-984-6139 .