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Experience four brand-new works from Turtle Island Quartet! Since its inception in 1985, the group has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings, as the quartet’s signature style has fused jazz, American roots, and new, innovative string techniques. Winners of the 2006 and 2008 Grammys® for Best Classical Crossover Album, Turtle Island has merged the classical quartet instrumentation with contemporary American musical styles. And now, they embark on a new adventure!

In the past three years, the group—resident composer, artistic director, and violinist David Balakrishnan with violinist Gabriel Terracciano, violist Benjamin von Gutzeit, and cellist Naseem Alatrash—has transitioned from an ensemble that primarily features a variety of arranged works to one that commissions and creates original music. A major statement in this realm, Island Prayers is an ambitious, multi-composer extravaganza, co-commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Meany Performing Arts Center, The Music Hall (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), Savannah Music Hall, and Emory University. The project features works written by the quartet’s founder Balakrishnan; six-time Grammy®-winner and double Oscar® nominee Terence Blanchard; MacArthur Genius fellow, singer, and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens; and New Music USA composer-in-residence and Joyce Award winner Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate.

This group of crossover musicians will bring you an unforgettable evening of new music!


Turtle Island Quartet

David Balakrishnan, resident composer, artistic director, and violinist

Gabriel Terracciano, violinist

Benjamin von Gutzeit, violist

Naseem Alatrash, cellist


David Balakrishnan, “Little Mouse Jumps”

Rhiannon Giddens, “Pompey Ran Away” * (AZ Premiere)

Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, “Little Loksi’” * (AZ Premiere)

David Balakrishnan, “Island Prayers” * (AZ Premiere)


David Balakrishnan, “Groove in the Louvre”

David Balakrishnan, “Darkness Dreaming”

Terence Blanchard, “Turtle Trajectory” * (AZ Premiere)

David Balakrishnan, “The Second Wave”

*Co-commissioned by: 

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Meany Center for the Performing Arts

The Music Hall Portsmouth

Savannah Music Festival

Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts – Emory University


Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts | Virginia G. Piper Theater
7380 E 2nd St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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