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

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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Outright Blinged-Out New Music from The Brothers

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What is the blingiest thing going on in new music? This week, The Brothers take an opportunity to look at some of the most glittering, exciting, unusual, and outright blinged-out music on the market. Listen Thursday at 3 pm.

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The Electric Guitar Show

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The electric guitar: symbol of rebellion, youth, and danger or legitimate color to be used in serious composition? Perhaps it's both. The Brothers Balliett takes a critical look at the myriad uses of this hundred-year-old instrument.

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Paging Dr. Feldman, Dr. Morton Feldman

Thursday, May 02, 2013

On the fence about American composer Morton Feldman? Let the Brothers Balliett make you a fan with this week's episode featuring quintessential Feldman works. Listen today at 3 pm.

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The Young and the Restless

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New York City has always been a haven for ensembles dedicated to new music, but the scene seems to have exploded recently. This week's program shows off a handful of great new music ensembles, demonstrating an unceasing and thriving New York scene.

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Imaginary Beasts and the Composers Who Love Them

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What is it about imaginary animals that captures the human imagination? Borges imagined many monsters, as did Lewis Carroll, Maurice Sendak, and other literary luminaries. This week the Brothers Balliett wonder, how do imaginary animals impact today's music?

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Bizarre Instruments

Thursday, April 11, 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.

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The Big Bad Madrigal Throwdown

Thursday, April 04, 2013

What does the word "madrigal" bring to mind for you? Close harmony on charming texts? Italian chromaticism? This week, the Brothers Balliett listen to a handful of living composers offering their own unique stamp on this ancient form.

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A Kaleidoscopic Array of Colorful Curiosities

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Whether you have full blown synesthesia, or you've just always thought that D Major sounds kind of blue, humans have associated color with music for ages. This week, the Brothers Balliett serve up colorful music from Dalbavie, Torke and Thompson.

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The "Out of Tune" Hour

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What happens when composers abandon the traditional equal division of the octave into twelve parts? This week the Brothers explore some music that might be considered 'out of tune' by equal-tempered standards, but are in fact performed according to rigorous sonic ideas.

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Lerdahlpalooza

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fred Lerdahl writes music that is thumping, harmonically interesting, and full of groove, and to listen to his music is to understand his process. The Brothers Balliett have been fans of Lerdahl's work for some time now, and this week they pay homage to the composer with a one-hour festival.

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Where's Gesualdo?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

It's become almost a cliche to hear a wiseacre remark about a particularly pungent Carlo Gesualdo madrigal: 'That's crazier than most new music you hear these days, and it's over 400 years old!' Today at 3 pm, the Brothers trace his influence on 20th and 21st Century music, from Stravinsky to Sciarrino.

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Night of the Living Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if a major symphony orchestra took a page from the Q2 Music handbook? Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett offer a program devised to follow traditional symphony concert format.

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Old Avocados, New Guacamole

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Since the 1970s, the number of performances on original or 'period' instruments has exploded, giving audiences the chance to hear everything from Binchois to Berlioz on the instruments for which they were written. This week, the Brothers sample old sounds in new music.

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Post-Classical Jazz for Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 14, 2013

We live in a post-classical world. Every day genre boundaries are pushed, invaded, blurred or otherwise violated. With that in mind, the Brothers Balliett take a multi-angled look at the overlap between new music and jazz.

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Beethoven's 10th Symphony

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Yes, you heard correctly. The Brothers Balliett share a musical oddity — a performing version of Beethoven's 10th symphony in Eb major, completed (compiled?) from sketches by Dr. Barry Cooper. Only a truly audacious musician would dare attempt this task, and the results are well worth a listen.

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Rituals, Memorials and Auras

Thursday, January 31, 2013

This week, the Brothers Balliett investigate three interconnected orchestral works, all centered around the idea of a memorial or homage. Music of Harrison Birtwistle, Magnus Lindberg and Witold Lutoslawski. Listen today at 3 pm.

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The Grown Person's Guide to the Orchestra: Piano, Harp & Percussion

Thursday, January 24, 2013

All good things must come to an end, and so this week, the Brothers Balliett close the month-long series The Grown Person's Guide to the Orchestra with a deep dive into the worlds of piano, harp and percussion.

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