String Quartet Brooklyn Rider & Female Vocalist Magos Herrera Play Argyros

Photo courtesy: Brooklyn Rider


The string quartet Brooklyn Rider, along with female jazz vocalist Magos Herrera and percussionist Mathias Kunzli, will make their Ketchum debut with a performance at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum on Friday, January 27, at 7:30 p.m. Known for pushing the boundaries of classical music and making it more accessible (their performance has been compared to that of rock stars jamming on guitars), Brooklyn Rider often collaborates with different vocalists to create new projects and sounds. For this performance, attendees will hear music from the collaborative project and album Dreamers, an idea originating with Latin American jazz singer and Mexican-born songstress Herrera, for a journey through the Latin American songbook.

Comprised of violinists Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen, viola player Nicholas Cords, and cellist Michael Nicolas, Brooklyn Rider is a string quartet at its core, representing “an idea that the string quartet is a medium with deep historical roots and endless possibility for invention,” says cellist Nicolas. Whether you consider yourself a fan of classical music or not, Brooklyn Rider’s sound appeals to many, with rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike over the years. “Our audience is any music lover with a curious spirit,” says Nicolas. “Whether it be an old masterwork from the past or a brand-new piece by an emerging composer, we approach all our work as a blank canvas, searching for meaning and expression that can reverberate for anyone who is looking to be moved.”

In addition to a lengthy discography from the course of the band’s 15-plus-year career, Brooklyn Rider has had career highs that include playing at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, being nominated for several Grammys (including the 2023 awards), and being the only classical performers to be invited to play at the SXSW festival.

A major component of Brooklyn Rider’s evolving, eclectic sound is collaborating with new artists, particularly vocalists. “The artists we collaborate with have that same boundary-blurring ethos, all of us rooted in our respective traditions, yet using it as a starting point to create something new,” said the Brooklyn Rider’s. Whether due to a collaborator, a specific performance, or a theme for an album, the band has reinvented itself many times, finding inspiration from Beethoven to American roots music to Persian classical, and illuminating those works while bringing their own take to this malleable genre.

Throughout their career, Brooklyn Rider has collaborated with vocalists such as Aoife O’Donovan, Rhiannon Giddens, Suzanne Vega, Anne Sofie von Otter, Christina Courtin, and notably tenor Nicholas Phan, with whom their collaborative album is currently nominated for a Grammy.

The band’s collaboration with renowned jazz singer Herrera started in 2018 when she approached them with the idea that would become Dreamers. The resulting album explores the artistry of Latin American poets and songwriters like Violeta Parra, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Gilberto Gil, who used their craft and their essential role in society as dreamers as a political act during times shaped by repressive regimes that prevailed in much of Latin America and Spain in the 20th century. For the album, Brooklyn Rider, along with Herrera and Kunzli, reinterpreted classics from Mexican, Cuban, Peruvian, Chilean, Brazilian, Argentinian, and Spanish artists. Nicolas says Friday’s performance will feature “poets and songwriters from the Ibero-American diaspora during times of great political upheaval and repression, whose voices nevertheless came through to express the triumphant power of art and beauty even in the darkest of times, a testament to the strength and spirit of their fellow citizens.” The Dreamers album was nominated for a Grammy for best arrangement and voted one of 2018’s best classical albums by NPR Music as well as The Boston Globe.

Tickets to Brooklyn Rider’s performance can be purchased through the Argyros website and range from $25–$65.