Johnson County Community College
Press Release

College Information and Publications
Julie Haas, associate vice president, marketing communications, ext. 3120
Diane Carroll, writer/editor/media relations, ext. 3425
Tyler Cundith, sports information director, ext. 3122

String quartet covers Jimi Hendrix


String quartet covers Jimi Hendrix

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Turtle Island Quartet, which fuses classical music with contemporary jazz, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 9, in the Carlsen Center’s Polsky Theatre.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased through the college box office at 913-469-4445 or online at

For their program, Turtle Island will focus on the music of two pioneering giants from different musical worlds, John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix. Have You Ever Been … features works from both artists, as well as other compositions reflective of and inspired by Coltrane and Hendrix. The program also will include selected movements from Turtle Island Quartet founder David Balakrishnan’s composition Tree of Life.

Since the quartet's inception in 1985, it has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. It won the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover.

"This unique, jazzy four-piece continues to entertain with its distinctive brand of tight, impressive bow-etry in motion," Billboard Magazine has stated.

The members are Balakrishnan, violin and baritone violin, Mark Summer, cello; Mateusz Smoczynski, violin, and Benjamin von Gutzeit, viola.

The quartet's birth was the result of Balakrishnan's explorations and compositional vision while completing his master's degree program. The journey has taken Turtle Island through forays into folk bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk rhythm and blues and even rock and hip hop. The ensemble has a repertoire consisting of hundreds of ingenious arrangements and originals.

Turtle Island has phenomenal international appeal, particularly in Europe where chamber music remains a vital facet of life.