It’s unusual to hear the name Balakrishnan in relation to jazz music rather than software development, but David Balakrishnan, violinist and founder of the Turtle Island Quartet has been at the vanguard of innovative music for over 20 years.
TIQ has been blending the classical string tradition with many styles and inspirations, including folk, bluegrass, swing, funk, R & B, rock, hi-hop and world music from Latin America and India. The group was nominated twice for the Grammy and this year they bagged it for best classical crossover album with the Ying Quartet, 4 + Four.
Balakrishnan, who studied music at University of California, Los Angeles, and then did his masters degree in music composition at Antioch University West, is a world-class violinist and composer.
He has received several grants, including one from Meet The Composer foundation, which awarded him its prestigious “Music Alive” extended residency with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, which will result in six orchestral works composed over a three-year period. The NCO also commissioned his most recent composition, Darkness Dreaming: Indian Gypsy Jazz Music for Two Guitars, Violin and Orchestra.
“We are so excited and thrilled to receive the Grammy, to represent the community of alternative string players looking to go beyond the limits of only one style in a category that is often regarded for pop is a big honor,” he said. “We feel that we are part of a movement of redefining what classical music is by integrating jazz, American folk, rock and roll and blues with a 200-year-old art form.”