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

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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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 today at 3 pm for spacey, monster-driven music.


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. Listen today at 3 pm.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.