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

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.

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The Flute. You Know You Love It.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

There's one instrument that you love in secret, behind closed doors, and when you hear the silvery high notes at an orchestra concert, a veritable thrill of delight massages your soul. This week the Brothers Balliett explore everyone's favorite woodwind instrument: the flute.

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American Quintettery

Thursday, September 19, 2013

For some American composers, the string quartet just isn't going to cut it. This week the Brothers Balliett listen to quintets by two Americans: bassist, composer and MacArthur fellow Edgar Meyer and Pulitzer-prize winner John Harbison.

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Back to School with the Brothers Balliett

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday at 3 pm, The Brothers Balliett toast the return of the "season of learning" with a show that focuses on music by current composition students from around the country.

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Five Takes on the Voice

Thursday, September 05, 2013

In the last fifty-or-so years, composers have explored an exceptionally wide range of expression in music for solo voice. Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett feature vocal music by Milton Babbitt, Harrison Birtwistle and Philip Glass.

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Pop Stars Gone Wild

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What happens when pop stars go wild? Sometimes they destroy hotel rooms. Sometimes they buy islands. Sometimes they write classical music. This week's episode of The Brothers Balliett takes a look at some remarkable members of the pop world writing more "serious" music.

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Strung-Out Sonatas from Yehudi Wyner and Lera Auerbach

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What do composers Yehudi Wyner, Michel Merlet and Russian-born composer Lera Auerbach all have in common? They've all contributed new examples to the ever-expanding repertoire of music for a solo string instrument with piano—a genre called, for simplicity's sake, the "Sonata."

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Summer Symphony Series #4

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer is quickly coming to a close. To commemorate the changing of the seasons, the Brothers serve up a final installment of their four-part Summer Symphony Series with music of Aaron Jay Kernis and Charles Wuorinen. Listen today at 3 pm.

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Summer Symphony Series #3

Thursday, August 08, 2013

For the third installment of their 4-part Summer Symphony Series, the Brothers Balliett feature orchestral music of German composer Hans Werner Henze and American composer Milton Babbitt. Listen today at 3 pm.

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Summer Symphony Series #2

Thursday, August 01, 2013

It's that magical time of year when musicians around the world gather in mountains and forests, at beaches and the coastline, to play music en masse. This week, the Brothers Balliett continue their Summer Symphony Series with symphonic music by Tobias Picker and David Del Tredici.

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Summer Symphony Series Number 1

Thursday, July 25, 2013

For the Brothers Balliett, summer conjures a time when it is ok to just sit back, relax, and enjoy some great orchestral music. Today at 3 pm, hear the kick-off their four-part Summer Symphony series, beginning with the symphonic sounds of Isang Yung and Leif Segerstam.

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Special Ks

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Does your last name have to start with "K" to write awesome new music? No, but apparently it helps! This show pays homage to the eleventh letter of the alphabet and the remarkable composers who are filed under this symbol. Listen today at 3 pm.

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The Brothers' Bastille Day Special

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hot on the heels of their America the Dissonant show, the Brothers move to la France to explore the wealth of the nation's great new music. Celebrate Bastille Day a few days early with music from Tristan Murail, Pascal Dusapin and Henri Dutilleux. Today at 3 pm.

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America the Dissonant

Thursday, July 04, 2013

America's the birthplace of plenty of musical styles, from jazz to hip-hop to minimalism, and today American music is as varied as its human landscape. Let's celebrate the Fourth with some home-grown American tunes. Fire up that B-B-Q.

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Recent Acquistions to the Brothers Balliett Library

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One of the best things about hosting a new-music radio show is the implied permission to blow a lot of one's own money on tons of new CDs. This week's show is built entirely from new additions to our ever-growing library, and includes music by Harbison, Wuorinen and Haladyna.

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State of the String Quartet

Thursday, June 20, 2013

One of the best things about hosting a new-music radio show is the implied permission to blow a lot of one's own money on tons of new CDs. This week's show is built entirely from new additions to our ever-growing library, and includes music by Harbison, Wuorinen and Haladyna.

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The Brothers Balliett Talk to Eric Nathan

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This week the Brothers kick off a new series that invites composers to play and discuss their own music, and help to curate the rest of the show. The inaugural guest in this new series is 2013 Rome Prize-winner and Chelsea Music Festival composer-in-residence Eric Nathan.

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Krazy Koncertos

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Two samples from America and two from Europe are on the roster this week as The Brothers Balliett investigate that most wily of musical forms—the chamber concerto. Featuring music of Charles Wuorinen, Brian Ferneyhough, Ezra Sims and Beat Furrer. Listen at 3 pm.

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Early Music...Again??

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The sonic possibilities of historic instruments are indeed immeasurable. Today's composers have recently realized this—and with this realization came an entire orchestra of new sound colors. Today's Brothers Balliett episode tackles early instruments in modern music and the art of the new-music remix.

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State of the Woodwind Quintet

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How does a composer approach writing a piece for five instruments that are so different in sound production that creating a perfectly blended sound is almost an impossible task? This week focuses on that most unusual among the standard chamber groups: the woodwind quintet.

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