Turtle Island Quartet plays Jimi Hendrix at the Colonial

Turtle Island String Quartet photographed by Jay Blakesberg


Guitar and controlled feedback master Jimi Hendrix reinterpreted for a string quartet? Hearing is believing. We are in for a real adventure in creativity as classical/jazz fusion trendsetters, the Turtle Island Quartet celebrates the music of Hendrix with their dynamic Have You Ever Been…? program on Friday, February 17th at 8 pm at The Colonial Theatre. This innovative classical quartet defies musical definition by reaching across musical genres and creating a sound never heard before. Just take a listen to this reinterpretation of “House Burning Down”. Hendrix created a blues style that was unique, and shines through here.

Through their exploration of jazz, classical, American vernacular and world music styles, the Turtle Island Quartet has taken its audiences on a journey through many musical genres, eras, and places—the American landscape, Latin America, Europe and India to name a few. Now, the two time Grammy® winning quartet is tackling works by legendary guitarist, songwriter and performer Jimi Hendrix as well as other compositions reflective of and inspired by Hendrix’s music including Turtle Island Quartet founder David Balakrishnan’s new composition “Tree of Life.”

At the peak of his creative powers in the late 1960s, Jimi Hendrix redefined the potential of not only the guitar but the entire genre of rock. Armed with an unprecedented combination of technical skills and compositional insight, he drew a blueprint that continues to challenge guitarists in particular and musicians of all stripes more than four decades later.

“A unified voice that truly breaks new ground—authentic and passionate—a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.” – Yo Yo Ma

Turtle Island Quartet’s ongoing mission of exploration and innovation was most recently exemplified in their Grammy® winning 2007 recording, A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane, in which the quartet reinterprets the music of one of the most pivotal figures in the history of jazz by injecting it with their own signature rhythmic innovations and multicultural influences.

Three years later, Turtle Island Quartet—whose current lineup includes Balakrishnan along with co-founder cellist Mark Summer, violinist Mads Tolling and newcomer violist Jeremy Kittel—pushed the edge of their stylistic comfort zone a step further with their latest recording, Have You Ever Been…?, an exploration of the music of Hendrix coupled with Balakrishnan’s Tree Of Life.

Turtle Island Quartet plays Jimi Hendrix

Andy Summers, heir to the Hendrix legacy

Guitarist Andy Summers, one of the many high-profile heirs to the Hendrix legacy through his work with the Police and beyond, and author of the liner notes to Have You Ever Been…? calls the album “…A stellar recording and achievement.

Even the album cover recreates bygone Woodstock days.

“Translating the music of Jimi Hendrix’s visceral electric guitar music into the vernacular of the classical string quartet seems like an improbable idea,” Andy Summers goes on to say, “Yet on this remarkable recording, the Turtle Island Quartet…has once again hit what at first might seem a difficult target. A salute to the quartet for giving us a vigorous and scintillating reworking of the music of Jimi Hendrix.”

Turtle Island Quartet combines superb musical prowess with perceptive ingenuity to merge the instruments of one ear with the music of another. Whether lovers of classical or devoted to Hendrix, this Turtle Island concert will unleash some pretty spellbinding music that will cross the generations, and the ages.

Ticket Information

Tickets to Turtle Island Quartet are $20-$45 and may be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street or by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at www.TheColonialTheatre.org. The Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 10am–5pm, Saturdays 10am–2pm or on any performance day from 10am until intermission.

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