The Brothers Balliett

Streams Thursdays at 3 pm and Sundays at 8 pm on Q2 Music

Brad Balliett and Doug Balliett — identical twin composers and performers from Massachusetts — have been performing together and collaborating for nearly thirty years. As bassoonist and double bassist (respectively) they perform as a duo and with groups all around New York, including the new music ensembles Deviant Septet, Metropolis Ensemble, Argento, Signal, and Alarm Will Sound, with chamber ensembles The Declassified and Ensemble ACJW, with symphonies such as Handel & Haydn and the Hartford Symphony, and a host of other diverse ensembles.

Dedicated rappers, the brothers, along with Elliot Cole, make up The Oracle Hysterical and create pioneering hip-hoperas, rap cantatas, poperas, and so forth. Performances of these works have taken them around the world. 

The Balliett brothers are fiercely competitive and work tirelessly to one-up each other. This drive creates a self-fueling passion to write the best work, listen to the best music, and learn as much as possible. They are thrilled to be joining Q2 Music's roster of personalities.

The Brothers Balliett have a ten-point Manifesto which will guide this show:

1. We are the Brothers Balliett.

2. We believe that the best music is the music that excites the best curiosity, excitement, passion and conversation.

3. We believe in music that bears repeated listening and offers something new with each visitation.

4. We believe that stretching the ear is a way to stretch the mind.

5. We believe in the continually ceaseless creativity of composers everywhere.

6. We believe that music must reflect the time in which it was written, and that all eras deserve representation.

7. We believe that great nations should strive to attract and support great artists.

8. We believe in absolute artistic freedom, unfettered by trend or dogma.

9. We believe that the power of ideas, creativity, and personality can shape a city's character.

10. We believe in the groove.

Produced by

Happy President's Day – oh, and Valentine's as well

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ah, the sweet mid-February – a time when love blooms, greeting card companies experience a windfall, and congress is in full swing. Today at 3 pm, join the Brothers Balliett for presidential homages from Jennifer Higdon, Nico Muhly and Milton Babbitt as well an opera selection about a great first lady.

Comment

The Beatles Interventions

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Leonard Bernstein once wrote that the songs of the Beatles could easily stand next to the best songs of Schumann and Schubert. The Brothers Balliett listen Beatles covers and homages from Frederic Rzewski, John Cage and Alarm Will Sound.

Comment

Jazz Interventions

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Classical composer have long incorporated elements from the world of jazz – it's been going on since Ravel and Stravinsky, with perennial additions from composers like Mark-Anthony Turnage and Michael Daugherty. This week, the Brothers Balliett listen to jazzy takes on Faure, Stravinksky and Rachmaninov.

Comment

The Brothers Balliett Talk to Harold Meltzer

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This week, the Brothers Balliett are  joined in the studio by composer, Rome Prize-winner and  Guggenheim Fellow Harold Meltzer. Listen Thursday at 3 pm.

Comments [1]

Just Because It's Tonal Doesn't Mean It's Bad

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Listeners, there will come a time when you meet a composer or new music enthusiast with a little bit of attitude – an attitude that suggests that the spiky, abrasive, modernist language that we all know and love is the only true lingua franca of new music, and that those who write tonal music do so naively, without considering the weight of history that tonal music carries. (Consider Alex Temple's recent discussion of this topic on New Music Box)

Comments [2]

The Harpsichord Show

Thursday, January 09, 2014

This week, the Brothers Balliett take a listen to one an oft-misunderstood instrument: the harpischord. Listen at 3 pm for performances by 17th century composer Froberger, songstress Joanna Newsome and Czeck composer Viktor Kalabis.

Comment

The Brothers Balliett Best of 2013 Rundown

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Today at 3 pm, The Brothers Balliett take a look at some of their favorite releases from 2013, including music from Bang on a Can, International Contemporary Ensemble's Rebekah Heller, David Fulmer and more.

Comment

Music for Staring at the Fire

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Special for the holiday season, this week The Brothers Balliett offer music designed to accompany the obligatory fire-staring that is so much a part of this time of year. This music is designed to help you zone in, zone out, forget the world and focus on the fire.

Comments [1]

The Brothers Balliett Talk to Charles Wuorinen

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Charles Wuorinen befriended Edgard Varèse and Igor Stravinky in his youth and has collaborated with the likes of Salman Rushdie and Annie Proulx. Today at 3 pm he joins the Brothers Balliett for an interview and listening session.

Comment

The Monochromatic Show

Thursday, December 12, 2013

If there's one thing that the Brothers Balliett have learned from Rothko, it's that monochromaticism, in art OR music, is not necessarily a bad or boring thing. This week we explore ensembles built entirely of one sound color. Listen Thursday at 3 pm.

Comment

Mostly Imaginary Landscapes

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Does an aural representation of geography exist, or does "landscape" take on a new meaning when applied to music? Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett explore landscape music by John Cage, Harrison Birtwistle and Brian Fernyhough.

Comments [1]

A Thanksgiving Cross-Culture Show

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving isn't just about tryptophan-induced comas – it's also about cultures meeting and deep grooves. This week, in a special Thanksgiving edition, the Brothers Balliett honor that early American meeting of cultures with three pieces that exemplify cross-cultural connections.

Comment

The Brothers Balliett Talk to Alex Mincek

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett talk to composer and Guggenheim recipient Alex Mincek, who's collaborated with Yarn/Wire, JACK Quartet and Wet Ink among others.

Comment

New Music: The Next Generation

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This week, the Brothers gaze into the universe of contemporary music's rising stars. Listen at 3 pm for music by Stuart Breczinski, Carson Cooman, Jacob Gotlib and Lansing McLoskey.

Comment

Bizarre Instruments

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Last January, the Brothers Balliett presented the Grown-Person's Guide, examining the orchestra one section at a time. By popular request, this week, they add more recent and usual instruments to their rundown. Featuring the ondes martenot, barrel organ and a music box ensemble. Listen today at 3 pm.

Comment

The Brothers Balliett Spooktacular

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This Halloween, the Brothers Balliett serve up a cauldron of bone-chilling works by living (un-dead) composers. Listen at 3 pm for hair-raising Ondes Martinot features by Etienne Rolin and Lindsay Cooper alongside uneasy music by John Harbison and Robert Moran.

Comment

Young New York Ensembles and the Brothers that Love Them

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This week the Brothers Balliett celebrate Q2 Music's Fall Pledge Drive with a cross section of the hottest young New York ensembles, from Goya-inspired works to collaborations among the most prominent New York composers. Listen today at 3 pm.

Comment

The Brothers Balliett Talk to Ray Lustig

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This week, the Brothers are joined in the studio by composer Ray Lustig, a composer who is in constant dialogue with the past while also drawing on concepts of modern disease and internet latency. Listen today at 3 pm.

Comment

The Brothers Balliett Talk to Gene Pritsker

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Whether you're looking for an orchestra made entirely of samples, broken-down Bach, or full-scale hip-hopera, Gene Pritsker is your man. He's orchestrated the Cloud Atlas film and had his music premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic. The Brothers sit down to talk shop with Pritsker Thursday at 3 pm.

Comment

Hit Me in the Bass Clef

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Today at 3 pm, The Brothers Balliett delve into the deep end and listen to some of the most exciting music being written today for those stalwarts of the subterranean: the cello and double bass.

Comment