Mads Tolling

Mads Tolling's Biography

Mads Tolling, internationally renowned violinist and composer, is a two-time Grammy Award Winner. As a former, nine-year member of both the Turtle Island Quartet and bassist Stanley Clarke's band, Mads has spent most his professional life touring internationally. Since 2007, Mads has led his own group, the Mads Tolling Quartet. The Playmaker, released in the fall of 2009, features Stanley Clarke and jazz greats Russell Ferrante and Stefon Harris. Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty - Live at Yoshi's was released in May 2012. Mads has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition and California Report, and his recordings have received rave reviews in DownBeat Magazine, Strings Magazine, Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle. He has performed with Chick Corea, Ramsey Lewis, Kenny Barron and Paquito D'Rivera.

In 2006 and 2008, as part of Turtle Island Quartet, Mads won two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover Album for the recordings 4+Four and A Love Supreme - The Legacy of John Coltrane.

Mads has received Denmark's Sankt Annae's Award for Musical Excellence as well as grants from Queen Margaret, Sonning Foundation and the Berklee Elvin Jones Award.

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 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, Mads has performed more than one hundred concerts with Clarke worldwide, including the Newport Jazz Festival and the Hollywood Bowl, and appears on Clarke's album Toys of Men.

In 2007, Mads started his own trio and immediately recorded the album Speed of Light. The following year, the trio expanded to a quartet. Mads Tolling Quartet (MTQ) has performed all over the U.S., including Yoshi's San Francisco and Oakland, Herbst Theatre, Russian River Jazz Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens, Grass Valley Performance Arts, Blues Alley in Washington DC and Monterey Jazz Festival.

Besides his activities as a performer, Mads is an accomplished composer. He has written for and recorded with JoAnne Brackeen, Joe Lovano and Dave Samuels. Mads appears on R&B singer Teena Marie's recording La Dona, and on jazz vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway's At Last. He has additionally contributed numerous arrangements and compositions to Turtle Island Quartet's repertoire. In 2014, Mads was commissioned by Music Director Michael Morgan to write a Violin Concerto for Oakland East Bay Symphony.

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, coaching and master classes throughout Canada and the U.S. 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.

In his spare time, Mads enjoys tennis, swimming and hiking. In 1999, with his father, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Mads Tolling's Gear
Mads Tolling

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