Brooklyn Rider

String Quartet

Johnny Gandelsman
Colin Jacobsen
Nicholas Cords
Michael Nicolas
Go to Biography


"They are four classical musicians performing with the energy of young rock stars jamming on their guitars, a Beethoven-goes-indie foray into making classical music accessible but also celebrating why it was good in the first place."
Hailed as "the future of chamber music" (Strings), the String Quartet Brooklyn Rider presents eclectic repertoire and gripping performances that continue to draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike. NPR credits Brooklyn Rider with "recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble."

Last season Brooklyn Rider presented the project "Healing Modes", which takes a holistic view of Beethoven's Op. 132 combined with five commissioned works by Reena Esmail Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts and the two Pulitzer Prize winners Caroline Shaw and Du Yun. They explore the theme of healing from a variety of historical and cultural perspectives - a topic that could not have been more relevant within the events of 2020. In March 2020 the New Yorker praised the concept of the recording as convincing and the playing of the four as persuasive.
„So the journey goes, from Beethoven to the modern day and back again; a choice that could well have been disastrous were it not for the masterful curation and impeccable execution of each work by Brooklyn Rider.”Sydney Morning Herald, April 2021
In 2019 two albums - featuring instrumentalists who are at the forefront of their respective genre: jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman ("Sun On Sand") and Irish fiddle master Martin Hayes ("The Butterfly") - were released.
„The Butterfly […] finds itself woven into a stringed experiment of almost Schoenberg proportions, replete with muted dissonance and foreboding that one would never have dreamed could characterise this most delicate and sociable of tunes. And yet it works: boldly, gloriously even.”The Irish Times, August 2019
In fall 2018, Brooklyn Rider released "Dreamers" on Sony Music Masterworks with celebrated Mexican jazz vocalist Magos Herrera. The recording includes gems of the Ibero-American songbook as well as pieces written to texts by Octavio Paz, Rubén Darío, and Federico García Lorca — all reimagined by arrangers including Jaques Morelenbaum, Gonzalo Grau, Diego Schissi, Guillermo Klein and Brooklyn Rider’s own Colin Jacobsen.

In 2017/ 2018, Brooklyn Rider released "Spontaneous Symbols". The album featured new quartet music by Tyondai Braxton, Evan Ziporyn, Paula Matthusen, Kyle Sanna, and Brooklyn Rider violinist Colin Jacobsen. Works from that recording were also featured in live performance for "Some of a Thousand Words", the ensemble’s recent collaboration with choreographer Brian Brooks and former New York City Ballet prima ballerina Wendy Whelan. An intimate series of duets and solos in which the quartet’s live onstage music is a dynamic and central creative component, "Some of a Thousand Words" was featured at the 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, before two U.S. tours, including a week-long run at New York City’s Joyce Theater.

In 2016 Brooklyn Rider released an album entitled "so many things" on Naïve Records with Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, comprising music by Colin Jacobsen, Caroline Shaw, John Adams, Nico Muhly, Björk, Sting, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello, among others. The group toured material from the album and more with von Otter in the U.S. and Europe, including stops at Carnegie Hall and the Opernhaus Zürich.

Additionally, Brooklyn Rider performed Philip Glass’s String Quartet #7, furthering a relationship with the iconic American composer which began with 2011’s much-praised "Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass" and will continue with the upcoming album release of Glass’s recent quartets on the composer’s Orange Mountain Music label.

In 2015, the group celebrated its tenth anniversary with the groundbreaking multi-disciplinary project "Brooklyn Rider Almanac", for which it recorded and toured 15 specially commissioned works, each inspired by a different artistic muse. Other recording projects include the quartet’s eclectic debut recording in 2008, "Passport", followed by "Dominant Curve" in 2010, "Seven Steps" in 2012, and "A Walking Fire" in 2013. In 2016, they released "The Fiction Issue" with singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, with the title track a Kahane composition that was premiered in 2012 at Carnegie Hall by Kahane, Brooklyn Rider and Shara Worden. A long-standing relationship between Brooklyn Rider and Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor resulted in the much-praised 2008 recording, Silent City.

This season sees a continuation of the quartet's collaboration with Anne Sofie von Otter. A project with two masters of the Lied genre: Franz Schubert and Rufus Wainwright. Their European concert tours will take the ensemble to Amsterdam, the Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid, the Tonhalle Zurich, and the Royal Library in Copenhagen, among others. In addition, their first Australian tour is scheduled with concerts in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth.

2021 / 2022
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.
Contacts: Linda Uschinski (Head), Matthias Hermann



2022 / 2023
The 4 Elements
The concept draws a parallel between the four classical elements common to all ancient cultures – earth, air, fire, water – considered the foundation of the physical world, and the musical ecosystem of the string quartet, with its four unique elements.
Brooklyn Rider has dedicated a programme to the four: four works symbolic of earth, air, fire and water, composed in the 20th century of accelerated and unprecedented planetary change.
In contrast, Brooklyn Rider presents four works commissioned by them that reflect current realities and serve as a musical call to action.
Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110
& co-commissioned work by Akshaya Avril Tucker
Osvaldo Golijov: Tenebrae
& co-commissioned work by Conrad Tao
Ruth Crawford Seeger: Suite of American Folk Songs (arr. Colin Jacobsen)
& co-commissioned work by Dan Trueman
Henri Dutilleux: String Quartet “Ainsi la nuit”
& co-commissioned work by Andreia Pinto Correia
2021 / 2022


The Butterfly

Maghera Mountain
O'Neill's March
Jenny's Welcome Home to Charlie
The Butterfly
Bob and Bernie
Ship in Full Sail
Drunken Sailor
Port Na bPúcaí
An Rogaire Dubh
P.Joe's Reel
Hole in the Hedge


De Manhã
Volver a los 17
Milonga Gris
La Aurora de Nueva York
Eu Vim Da Bahía
Coração Vagabundo
Tú y Yo
La Llorona
Luz de Luna

Magos Herrera - Voice

Philip Glass: String Quartets Nos. 6 and 7
Philip Glass
Saxophone Quartet (1995) - Arranged By Brooklyn Rider
String Quartet No. 6 (2013)
String Quartet No. 7 (2014)

So Many Things

Kate Bush: Pi
John Adams: Am I In Your Light?
Caroline Shaw: Cant Voi l'Aube
Colin Jacobsen: For Sixty Cents
Björk: Cover Me
Nicol Muhly: So Many Things
Anders Hillborg: Kväll
Björk: Hunter
Brad Mehldau: Love Sublime
Elvis Costello: Speak Darkly, My Angel
Gordon Sumner, Robert Mathes: Practical Arrangement
Rufus Wainwright: Les Feux d'Artifice t'Appellent

Anne Sofie von Otter - Mezzo-soprano

The Fiction Issue

Gabriel Kahane, Matthew Zapruder:
The Fiction Issue
Bradbury Studies
Come On All You Ghosts

Magdeburg Music, 2016

The Brooklyn Rider Almanac

Necessary Henry
Maintenance Music
Simpson's Gap
The Haring Escape
Show Me
Dig The Say
Quartet, Parts One & Two
Morris Dance
Five-Legged Cat
Ping Pong Fumble Thaw
John Steinbeck

A Walking Fire
The Game
The Muse
The Song (For Romica Puceanu)
Love Potion, Expired

Béla Bartók
String Quartet No. 2, Sz. 67
Allegro Molto Capriccioso

Colin Jacobsen
Three Miniatures For String Quartet
Majnum's Moonshine
The Flowers Of Esfahan
A Walking Fire

Seven Steps
Brooklyn Rider
Seven Steps
Together Into This Unknowable Night

Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 14 In C-sharp minor, Op. 131
I. Adagio Ma Non Troppo E Molto Espressivo
II. Allegro Molto Vivace
III. Allegro Moderato
IV. Andante Ma Non Troppo E Molto Cantabile - Andante Moderato E Lusinghiero - Adagio - Allegretto - Adagio Ma Non Troppo E Semplice
V. Presto
VI. Adagio Quasi Un Poco Andante
VII. Allegro

Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Suite from "Bent" for String Quartet
String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima)
(1957: Award Montage; November 25 - Ichigaya; Grandmother And Kimitake; 1962: Body Building; Blood Oath; Mishima / Closing)
String Quartet No. 1
String Quartet No. 4 (Buczak)
String Quartet No. 2 (Company)
String Quartet No. 5

Dominant Curve
Colin Jacobsen
Achille's Heel (2009)
Lydia's Reflection
Second Bounce
Shur Landing

Shakuhachi – Kojiro Umezaki
(Cycles) What Falls Must Rise (2009)

Claude Debussy
String Quartet In G minor, Op. 10
I. Animé Et Très Décidé
II. Assez Vif Bien Rytmé
III. Andantino Doucement Expressif
IV. Très Modéré - Très Mouvementé Et Avec Passion

Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky
....Al Niente (2009)

John Cage
In A Landscape (1948)

Silent City

Ascending Bird
Silent City
Beloved, Do Not Let Me Be Discouraged


Vagharshabadi Dance
Harvest Song
It's Cloudy
Festive Song
The Partridge
La Muerte Chiquita


Brooklyn Rider - Philip Glass Quartet Satz
Brooklyn Rider - Live at Fraser


Linda Uschinski (Head)
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 717
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713
Matthias Hermann
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 716
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713