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For context’s sake, it might be wise to do a little research before attending a performance by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. The outer borough–based musicians derive their name in part from Der Blaue Reiter, a claque of German artists and Russian émigrés who were hanging out in Munich at the turn of the 20th century. In 1911, Wassily Kandinsky, August Macke, and their pals published Der Blaue Reiter Almanach, a collection of art, music, and essays from the likes of Pablo Picasso and Alban Berg. Brooklyn Rider’s “Almanac” tour misses the centenary celebration by two years, but it does include some buzzworthy commissions from a range of artists. The quartet debuted a full slate of new works earlier this month at Dartmouth College, the project’s commissioner. Almanac “entries” that the quartet will perform tonight include “Dig the Say,” by jazz piano poster boy Vijay Iyer, and “tralala” by indie-rock violinist Christina Courtin. But because Brooklyn Rider is all about putting German classics in a new context, they’ll also perform Mendelssohn’s “Quartet No. 1.”
Brooklyn Rider performs at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I Street NW. $30. (202) 785-9727. wpas.org.