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Rite of Spring brings New York-based band to play at UNC

Brooklyn Rider
Brooklyn Rider

When it designed a year of performance around Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” Carolina Performing Arts knew it wanted to include the work’s modern torchbearers.

The genre-bending string quartet Brooklyn Rider fit the bill.

The band, returning tonight to Chapel Hill for the fifth time, will perform at Memorial Hall with a concert entitled “Make it New” as part of CPA’s “Rite of Spring” series.

The group’s violist, Nicholas Cords, said the group is excited to perform in a series that fits well with its own musical philosophy.

CPA’s “The Rite of Spring at 100” focuses on artists and pieces influenced by Stravinsky’s famous ballet score and the modernization of art throughout the last century.

“That model of ‘Make it New’ really affects us on the cellular level as a string quartet,” Cords said.

Joe Florence, CPA’s marketing and communications manager, said Brooklyn Rider was one of the first groups CPA considered when planning the season, due to the group’s approach to classical music that mirrors the modernizing influence of “The Rite of Spring.”

“We don’t want to recreate ‘The Rite of Spring’ 30 times, but what we want to do is evoke that feeling that people saw in 1913,” Florence said.

Florence said Brooklyn Rider creates a balance between the old and the new.

“I’m amazed at the passion they bring to more traditional classical music,” Florence said. “It’s almost like going to a rock concert. Their stage presence is amazing.”

Marnie Karmelita, CPA’s director of artist relations, said she is excited for the group’s return.

“They’re starting in the first half of the concert with four quartets by Stravinsky and (Bela) Bartok, then juxtaposing that with new work that they were commissioned for by John Zorn,” Karmelita said.

“In the second half of the program, they morph into more collaborative work. It’s really interesting to see young artists doing that.”

In addition to the world premieres of three different pieces performed by Brooklyn Rider, the concert will also showcase a variety of other performers, including guest musicians Gabriel Kahane and Shara Worden and dancers from New York’s Dance Heginbotham.

“We thought having a dance collaboration in this concert would be really apropos,” Cords said. “Stravinsky is so important in the history of dance in this century.”

Florence said between the classical and more modern aspects of the concert, the show promises to be an entertaining night with mass appeal.

“They’re kind of like rock stars in the indie world,” Florence said.

“We obviously want both classical music patrons and potential new audience members, and Brooklyn Rider helps bring these folks into the present.”

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