Tuesday evening Spoleto Festival USA's Music in Time series host John Kennedy was brief in his introduction of the music-straddling string quartet Brooklyn Rider.
The Simons Center Recital Hall at the College of Charleston was full of excited patrons who seemed ready for whatever the Riders were going to throw at them. One critic has dubbed them the rock band string quartet.
Their first offering was "Achille's Heel" by one of the quartet's violinists, Colin Jacobsen. It is the kind of music that appeals to both young pop music listeners and classical music lovers.
The Riders have an interest in Western music culture as well as Eastern music which shows up in their varied programming. Dressing down and their fusion programming approach has gained them widespread support.
Their programs' uniqueness and their chosen venues (bars, for example, as well as concert halls) attract the younger set.
Their dazzling virtuosity captivates the older generations devoted to the classics.
For example, the Riders closed with a stunning performance of Claude Debussy's early "String Quartet in G Minor," a bit out there interpretatively, but still retaining its mesmerizing, floating otherworldly air.
Phillip Glass's 1989 "String Quartet No. 4," was dedicated to a contemporary visual artist named Brian Buczak who died in 1988 from AIDS-related complications
Glass' work is dark and subdued and seems to make time stand still. The Riders communicated the essence of this slow-turning music.
As an encore, they performed " La muerte Chiquita" by Cafe Tacuba (as arranged by Oswaldo Golijov) a work with Latin-American roots.
It was a preview of Thursday night's program scheduled for 9 p.m. Highly recommended,