Mads Tolling, internationally renowned violinist, violist, and composer, is a member of the Grammy Award-Winning Turtle Island Quartet. As violist with the quartet, 2003-2007 and now as 1st violinist, 2007-present, he maintains an active touring and recording schedule as well as composing and giving master classes. As a soloist, he regularly tours as jazz violinist with the acclaimed bassist Stanley Clarke and his touring band. In 2006 as part of Turtle Island Quartet Mads won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover album, "4+Four". For 2008 Mads is once again nominated for a Grammy with Turtle Island, this time for "A Love Supreme The Legacy of John Coltrane". Tolling has received Denmark's Sankt Annae's Award for Musical Excellence as well as grants from Queen Margaret, the Sonning Foundation and the Berklee Elvin Jones Award. He has performed with Paquito d'Rivera, Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Stefon Harris, The Assad Brothers and Leo Kottke.
In 2007 Mads Tolling started his own trio and immediately recorded the album "Speed of Light". The following year the trio expanded to a quartet. In it are some of the top Bay Area musicians, including Mike Abraham, guitar, George Ban-Weiss, bass and Eric Garland, drums. Mads Tolling Quartet plays all over the San Francisco Bay Area including Yoshi's and Yerba Buena Gardens and will tour nationally and internationally in 2009.
Mads grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark and moved to the U.S. at the age of 20 to pursue jazz studies. He studied under violinist Matt Glaser, and he graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2003. While still attending Berklee, the renowned jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty recommended Mads to join Stanley Clarke's band. Since then, he has performed more than 100 concerts with Clarke worldwide, including the Newport Jazz Festival and the Hollywood Bowl.
Besides his activities as a performer, Tolling is an accomplished composer. He recently released his debut album as a leader entitled "Speed of Light" featuring mainly Tolling's original compositions in addition to well known pieces such as Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" and Miles Davis "Blue in Green". Of his three prior recordings of original material, one features the well-known pianist JoAnne Brackeen. He has recorded with vibraphonist Dave Samuels and appears on RMB singer Teena Marie's recording "La Dona". He has additionally contributed numerous arrangements and compositions to Turtle Island Quartet's repertoire.
Mads has been a thriving force in the educational aspects of jazz and improvisation. He has been active as a Yamaha clinician and has been involved in workshops, coachings and master classes throughout Canada and the U.S. He was recently invited as a performer and clinician to the 34th International Viola Congress in Montreal, Canada. Mads was also featured on NPR's Performance Today on Christmas Eve, where he on solo viola performed his version of the carol, "Beautiful Savior".
In his spare time Tolling enjoys golfing, tennis and hiking. In 1999, together with his father, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.