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

Guerilla Composer Portrait: Barbara Harbach

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Brothers Balliett are diving into the work of Barbara Harbach this week, a prolific composer who runs her own publishing company. We'll hear a range of music from Ms. Harbach during this guerilla portrait airing Thursday at 3 pm.

Comments [2]

Why Do Composers Always Use Low Woodwinds to Represent Monsters?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Stop looking for monsters under the bed—look no further than the low woodwind section. Join the Brothers Balliet today at 3 pm as they explore why composers always seem to depend on the bass clarinets, bassoons, and others to embody the ferocious. 

Comment

The Paul Celan Variety Hour

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett explore music built on the poetry of Romanian-born composer Paul Celan – leader of a harsh and often tragic life – courtesy of Michael Nyman and Harrison Birtwistle.

Comment

The Brothers Balliett Talk to Richard Carrick

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Not only is NYC-based Richard Carrick a stellar composer, he's also a conductor, pianist, guitarist and new music ensemble leader that is quickly defining a new kind of kapellmeister role in the new-music scene. He joins the Brothers Balliett Thursday at 3 pm.

Comment

The Graffiti Show

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Writing music over top of other music is nothing new. Today at 3 pm the Brothers Balliett explore some of the most exciting and contemporary examples of musical graffiti writers, from Max Richter to Uri Caine and Wolfgang Rihm.

Comment

What Kind of Bedtime Story Would Helmut Lachenmann Tell?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

We don't often think of hyper-modernist composers Helmut Lachenmann and Luciano Berio as storytellers, but when they create a piece that sets a scene, they both go all the way (in completely different ways). Join the Brothers Balliett Today at 3 pm.

Comments [1]

Orchestration: Composition's Good-Looking Cousin

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Orchestration is the successful good-looking cousin of composition. Beneath its slick veneer lies a vital component to the expression of a musical idea. Today at 3 pm, join the Brothers Balliett for sparkling orchestrations by Takemitsu, Abrahamsen and Parkins.

Comment

A Scoop of Schubert

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's no secret the the Brothers Balliett love the music of Franz Schubert, whether it's tearing through the Trout Quintet or sobbing through Die Schoene Muellerin. Today at 3 pm, they take a look at Schubert's impact on today's music through works by Nick Didkovsky, Bruno Mantovani and Hans Zender.

Comment

Could This Be the Grooviest Large Ensemble Piece of the Past Twenty Years?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What happens when a master composer spends over ten years on a piece of music, constantly reworking the motives, finding new and ever-more-fascinating transformations and contexts in which to work his ever-changing material? Join The Brothers Balliett Thursday at 3 for a listen to Wolfgang Rihm's mammoth Jagden und Formen.

Comment

The Hyperion Show

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Myths have inspired works in all media for millenia; some might even say that the expression mythology was the BIRTH of the arts. Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett take a listen to two stunningly different musical adaptations of the myth of the Greek deity Hyperion.

Comments [1]

The Double Concerto Show

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett take a look at that oh-so-unselfish form, the double concerto – music for two soloists and orchestra. Featuring music of Peter Maxwell Davies and Philip Glass.

Comments [1]

The Improv Show

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Does contemporary music need to be exquisitely written out with Ferneyhough levels of expressive detail? Do scores need to reflect every nuance, every slight bending of time, every possible elaboration of the melody? Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett consider a group of composers for whom improvisation is essential to the execution of their artistic vision

Comment

What's in a Name?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Although self-professed symphonies, concertos, and suites are far from disappearing (new examples are created each year), many composers are feeling an impulse to give their pieces an utterly unique name. This week the Brothers Balliett look at four composers that lean towards the unique and imaginative side when titling their work.

Comments [1]

The Brothers Balliett Book of Preludes Vol. 1

Thursday, March 06, 2014

What is a prelude? There are many conceptions and definitions floating around out there, but the Brothers Balliett define it as a short instrumental work that explores one musical concept or idea. This week's show curates a brand new book of preludes in the tradition of Debussy and Scriabin.

Comments [2]

Those Italians Just Keep Getting Higher

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Did you ever notice just how high Italian composers write? From Puccini to Scelsi to Berio and everywhere in between, the Italians seem to love the highest range on each instrument, and as Oliver Knussen as pointed out, each generation seems to push the limits a little bit higher.

Comment

Michael Nyman is Awesome

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why is Michael Nyman so awesome? Is it because he writes whatever he wants, unfettered by trend or dogma? Is it because he chooses beautiful harmonies, but is always searching for that new chord? Or is it just that his music is so damn groovy? Whatever it is it all adds up to be just to the tastes of the Brothers Balliett.

Comments [1]

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 wrote that the songs of the Beatles could easily stand next to those of Schumann and Schubert. The Brothers Balliett spend an hour with new-music Beatles homages.

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]