Bay Chamber Concerts will present the Turtle Island Quartet, which has earned rave reviews for its jazzy take on traditional chamber music and its classical take on traditional jazz, and its acclaimed The Music of Jimi Hendrix concert Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House, 6 Central St.

Led by founding violinist David Balakrishnan, a Hendrix fan since his teen years, Turtle Island Quartet has taken Hendrix’s cue in the course of its 25-year career by reexamining and reconstructing conventional genres of music and seeking new permutations of style, technique and composition. This ongoing mission of exploration and innovation was most recently exemplified in the quartet’s “A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane,” which won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album.

Turtle Island latest recording, “Have You Ever Been…?”, pushes the edge of its stylistic comfort zone a step further with an exploration of the music of Hendrix coupled with a cross-genre twist on Balakrishnan’s “Tree Of Life.”

Since its inception in 1985, the Turtle Island Quartet has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. It fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles, and revives the venerable improvisational and compositional chamber traditions that have not been explored by string players for nearly 200 years. At the time of Haydn’s apocryphal creation of the string quartet form, musicians were more akin to today’s saxophonists and keyboard masters of the jazz and pop world, i.e., improvisers, composers and arrangers. Each Turtle Island Quartet member is accomplished in these areas of expertise as well as having extensive conservatory training as instrumentalists.

Most tickets are $30. Prime seating is $40, and tickets for those younger than 18 are just $8. Discounts are available of up to 30 percent for subscribers and groups of eight or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Bay Chamber Concerts at 236-2823, toll free at (888) 707-2770, or online at

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or