Mads has been a part of Turtle Island Quartet since 2003 first as violist and since 2008 as violinist. During Mads’ participation in Turtle Island Quartet, the ensemble won two Grammy Awards in the Classical Crossover Category in 2006 and 2008.
“My time with Turtle Island Quartet has been invaluable in many ways.” Mads says. “I have learned a tremendous amount about how limitless the possibilities are as a string player with the right sense of creativity and willingness to integrate styles. Turtle Island Quartet has been around for over 25 successful years. The reason for this longevity is for starters a great idea, but to sustain this idea, it has been the quartet’s ability to renew itself by engaging great players and coming up with concepts and arrangements that go beyond what has thus far been possible in a string quartet. I feel proud of my time in the quartet, and I will take my nine years in the group with me going forward.”
“However, there comes a point, where it is time to move on. I have during the past six years been working with my own quartet. We have released two albums to date, and my exit of Turtle Island Quartet coincides with the release of a brand new album by Mads Tolling Quartet, entitled “Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty – Live at Yoshi’s.”
My inspiration to do the album comes from my personal connection with Jean-Luc Ponty, since he was the one who recommended me to bassist Stanley Clarke ten years ago. The album is our best to date. I feel my quartet embody the kind of sound and vision that will keep pushing the musical envelope in the 21st century. What excites me is that not only is every member a virtuoso on his instrument, everyone in the group is comfortable in just about any style out there. This means that the writing and performance practice takes equal focus and preparation in order to get them just right, which is a challenge I truly cherish. I am proud of what we have done thus far, and in some ways I feel we are just getting started. With the possibility of scheduling national and international tours after my exit from Turtle Island Quartet, this will be a high priority going forward. Some shows already in the books are Yoshi’s, San Francisco (CD release May 21), Monterey Jazz Festival (Sept. 21) and SF Jazz Festival (Aug. 9).”
Mads is a Yamaha artist and uses the SV-250 electric violin, giving master classes and workshops around the United States and Canada. Since 2010 Mads has been on faculty at Berkeley’s Jazzschool Institute mainly focusing on spreading the knowledge of jazz and groove oriented styles to string players of all ages.