Turtle Island String Quartet concert at Cornell features Gershwin to Zappa

MOUNT VERNON — Known for fusing the classical quartet sound with contemporary music such as jazz, rock ’n’ roll, and R&B, Turtle Island String Quartet brings its Grammy-winning sound to Cornell College on Nov. 6.

The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in King Chapel, is the second in Cornell’s Music Mondays series. Tickets are available at the door for $10 (adults) and $5 (students).

Turtle Island’s Cornell program, “Outside the Lines,” will include arrangements of pieces by Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Dave Brubeck, Pat Metheny, Thelonius Monk, J.S. Bach, Chick Corea, Antonio Vivaldi, Maurice Ravel and Frank Zappa.

The group won a 2006 Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album for its collaboration with the Ying Quartet, “4 + Four,” a mix of classical and jazz. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma proclaimed Turtle Island to be “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”

Taking its name from creation mythology found in Native American folklore, Turtle Island String Quartet’s inception in 1985 was the result of violinist David Balakrishnan’s brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while writing a master’s thesis at Antioch University West. The quartet has dabbled in folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India. Besides recordings for numerous labels, Turtle Island’s music is heard on soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio programs such as “The Today Show,” “All Things Considered” and “Prairie Home Companion,” and in collaborations with artists including clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, The Manhattan Transfer, pianists Billy Taylor and Kenny Barron and the Parsons Dance Company.

The remaining concerts in the Music Mondays series, now in its ninth year, are Mozart Piano Quartet on Feb. 19 and Auryn Quartet on March 12.