Grammy-winning quartet plays two Tri-State-area venues

March 02, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - What do you get when you cross the classical form of a string quartet with musical influences such as jazz, bluegrass, folk and rock 'n' roll? An award-winning, genre-bending group known as Turtle Island String Quartet.

The quartet will perform Sunday, March 5, at Chambersburg Area Senior High School and Thursday, March 9, at Shepherd University's Frank Center Theater, offering a concert that samples varied musical styles, says group cellist Mark Summer. Concertgoers can expect to hear jazz music a la Miles Davis and Charles Mingus as well as touches of the group's Indian, folk and rock influences.

"Chambersburg is one of those programs where we get to play whatever we want," Summer says. The group has several repertoires to draw from and, with all of that material, "we have the freedom to come up with a different set list every night," he says.

Turtle Island comes to Pennsylvania and West Virginia fresh from the group's first Grammy Award win. The group won the 2006 Grammy for best classical crossover album for "4 + Four," recorded with the traditional string quartet, Ying Quartet.


"We are very, very excited about the Grammy win," Summer says. "It's something that we've thought about for many years."

The Grammy for best classical crossover album is an award that was first presented in 1999. The award has gone to musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

While Turtle Island falls into the classical genre of string quartet chamber music, the group's music is not considered classical, Summer says. The group is best described as performing contemporary music "with a groove," he says.

"I feel like we're always working against type," Summer says.

In the 21 years that Turtle Island has been making music, the music industry has changed greatly, Summer adds.

"The chamber music world is evolving in that this is becoming the new classical music," he says. The lines between classical music and other genres are getting "a little more blurred, and I think that's very exciting."

Andrew Sussman, executive director of the Cumberland Valley School of Music, experienced the group live eight years ago during a workshop sponsored by the school.

"They just have incredible charisma on stage," he says. "They really are fun to watch as well as listen to."

If you go ...

WHAT: Turtle Island String Quartet performance

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, March 5

WHERE: Chambersburg Area Senior High School auditorium; 511 S. Sixth St., Chambersburg, Pa.

COST: $15; $8 for students in kindergarten through 12th grade; free for Cumberland Valley School of Music students and faculty.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 north to Exit 14 in Pennsylvania. Turn right off exit onto Pa. 316. Turn right onto South Coldbrook Avenue and then left onto Bender Avenue. Turn right onto South Sixth Street.

MORE: Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the Cumberland Valley School of Music at 1-717-261-1220. Tickets also will be available at the door.

WHAT: Turtle Island String Quartet performance

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9

WHERE: Frank Center Theater, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W.Va.

COST: $15; $10 for senior citizens, Shepherd University faculty and staff; $5 for ages 18 and younger; free for Shepherd University students.

DIRECTIONS: From Hagerstown, take Md. 65 south to Sharpsburg. Turn right onto Md. 34 and cross the Potomac River. Continue on W.Va. 480 and turn right on Md. 45. Go about one-quarter mile and turn right onto West Campus Drive.

MORE: Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 1-304-876-5555 or going to Advance reservations are strongly encouraged. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

The Herald-Mail Articles