Brooklyn Rider & Magos Herrera
In society, poets and songwriters play the essential role of dreamers, opening up avenues of hope for others. Despite the oppressive regimes which prevailed throughout much of Latin America and Spain in the twentieth century, what persevered from the dreamers was an unending love for beauty and humanity. Mexican-born songstress Magos Herrera and the omnivorous string quartet Brooklyn Rider join forces for an unforgettable musical journey, reinterpreting classics of the era from Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, and celebrating such luminaries as Octavio Paz, Federico García Lorca, and Rubén Darío.
Magos Herrera is regarded as one of the most expressive, beautiful voices and most active vocalists in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene. She is best known for her eloquent vocal improvisation and bold style that elegantly blends and surpasses language boundaries.
2023 GRAMMY Nominees for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album:
“Stranger — Works For Tenor” by Nico Muhly, with Nicholas Phan, soloist, and Eric Jacobson; Brooklyn Rider & The Knights; and Reginald Mobley
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Michael Nicolas, cello
Brooklyn Rider has carved a singular space in the world of string quartets over their fifteen-year history. Defining the string quartet as a medium with deep historic roots and endless possibility for invention, they find equal inspiration in musical languages ranging from late Beethoven to Persian classical music to American roots music to the endlessly varied voices of living composers.
Brooklyn Rider recently premiered a major new work by the great Argentinian composer and close friend Osvaldo Golijov. The quartet also embarked on two new collaborative projects, one is with Israeli mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital, and the other a brand new phase of work with Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, exploring themes of love and death through the music of Franz Schubert and Rufus Wainwright. They launched a major new commissioning venture for the 2022–23 season called The Four Elements, an exploration of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire) as metaphor for both the complex inner world of the string quartet and the current health of planet Earth.
Prior to the global pandemic, the 2019–20 season saw a veritable explosion of new projects and releases. Shared at the height of the US lockdown, the GRAMMY-nominated recording Healing Modes presented Beethoven’s towering Opus 132—the composer’s late testament on healing and the restorative power of new creation—interwoven with five new commissions powerfully exploring topics as wide-ranging as the US–Mexico border conflict, the Syrian refugee crisis, the mental health epidemic, and physical wellbeing. The composers include Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts, Caroline Shaw, and Du Yun.
In fall 2018, Brooklyn Rider released Dreamers on Sony Music Masterworks with Mexican jazz vocalist Magos Herrera. Celebrating the power of beauty as a political act, Dreamers amplifies the visionary artistry of Violeta Parra, Federico Garcia Lorca, Gilberto Gil, Joao Gilberto, Octavio Paz, and others, all who dared to dream under repressive regimes. Dreamers topped numerous charts and garnered a GRAMMY nomination for best arrangement (Gonzalo Grau’s “Niña”). Touring widely to support the album, they appeared at venues ranging from New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center to Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Brooklyn Rider have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the music of the iconic American composer Philip Glass, which began with 2011’s much-praised recording Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass and continued with two subsequent installments of Glass’s works for string quartet, all released on the composer’s label Orange Mountain Music.
Numerous other collaborations have helped give rise to NPR Music’s observation that Brooklyn Rider is “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.” These include an album entitled So Many Things with Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, comprising music by Colin Jacobsen, Caroline Shaw, John Adams, Nico Muhly, Björk, Sting, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello, among others. Some Of A Thousand Words, an evening-length program with choreographer Brian Brooks and former New York City Ballet prima ballerina Wendy Whelan, was an intimate series of duets and solos in which the quartet’s live onstage music is a dynamic and central creative component. A collaboration with Dance Heginbotham with music written by Colin Jacobsen resulted in Chalk and Soot, an evening-length work presented by Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival in 2014. Brooklyn Rider has also frequently teamed up with banjoist Béla Fleck, with whom they appeared on two different albums, 2017’s Juno Concerto and 2013’s The Impostor. And in one of their longest-standing musical friendships to date, Brooklyn Rider and Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor released the highly praised recording Silent City in 2008, still touring the project to this day.
Born in Mexico City, Magos Herrera is a dazzling jazz singer-songwriter, producer, and educator. She is best known for her eloquent vocal improvisation and singular bold style, which embraces elements of contemporary jazz with Ibero-American melodies and rhythms singing in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, in a style that elegantly blends and surpasses language boundaries.
Herrera has recorded nine albums including joint collaborations with producer Javier Limón in addition to participating as a guest artist of several recordings and albums. An accomplished artist, she has performed in leading international cultural venues such as Lincoln Center in NYC, Kennedy Center in DC, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Union Chapel in London, Duc des Lombardes in Paris, Kamani Auditorium in Delhi, and Palau de la Musica in Valencia, and has been part of the lineup of some of the most memorable jazz festivals around the world including Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and Festival Internacional Cervantino, to mention a few.
Throughout her career, Magos has garnered important awards and recognitions, including a GRAMMY short-list nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for her album Distancia (2009), and is the only female artist to have received the Berklee College of Music’s Master of Latin Music Award. She is well known for championing women’s causes, has served as spokesperson for UN Women, and contributed to important campaigns including UNITE to end violence against women and He For She, as a promoter of gender equality. Magos produces and hosts a weekly radio program from New York for Mexico’s Public Radio.
Magos is a recipient of the Omecíhuatl Medal, an award granted by the Women’s Institute of the government of Mexico City, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the empowerment of women through the arts and culture, and has been included as one of the most creative Mexicans in the world by Forbes Mexico. She is a 2020 recipient of Chamber Music Americas New Jazz Works Award, a 2021 South Arts Jazz Road Creative Residencies and Cafe Royal grants, and currently serves as a Cultural Diplomatic Advisor for the Mexican Government.
Dreams (arr. Diego Schissi)
Niña (arr. Gonzalo Grau)
Volver a los 17 (arr. Diego Schissi)
De manha (arr. Kawues Morelembaum)
Tu y yo (arr. Guillermo Klein)
La Llorona (arr. Gonzalo Grau)
Coracao em desalinho (arr. Gonzalo Grau)
La Aurora de Nueva York (arr. Gonzalo Grau)
Undiu (arr. Colin Jacobsen)
La maza (arr. Gonzalo Grau)
Milonga gris (arr. Diego Schissi)
Balderrama (arr. Colin Jacobsen)
Eu vim da Bahia (arr. Jaqués Morelembaum)
Subject to change
“Herrera is stretching the very notion of jazz singing, pushing past the diva pleasantries into a sound that’s bold, thrilling and effortlessly global.” – NPR
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