Mads Tolling, internationally renowned violinist and composer, is a two-time Grammy Award-Winner. As a former nine-year member of both Turtle Island Quartet and bassist Stanley Clarke’s band, Mads has spent most his professional life touring internationally. Since 2007 Mads has lead his own group, Mads Tolling Quartet. “The Playmaker” released in the fall of 2009, features Stanley Clarke and jazz greats Russell Ferrante & Stefon Harris. A brand new MTQ album: “Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty – Live at Yoshi’s” was released in May 2012. Mads has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, and his recordings have received rave reviews in Downbeat Magazine, Strings Magazine, Washington Post & San Francisco Chronicle. He has performed with Chick Corea, Ramsey Lewis, Kenny Barron & Paquito D’Rivera.
For nine years in Turtle Island Quartet, Mads spent most of his professional life on the road or in the recording studio. In ‘06 and ‘08 as part of Turtle Island Quartet Mads won two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover album with 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.
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 on guitar, George Ban-Weiss on bass and Eric Garland on drums.
Mads Tolling Quartet has performed all over the U.S including Yoshi’s San Francisco & Oakland, Herbst Theatre, Russian River Jazz Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens, Grass Valley Performance Arts, Blues Alley in Washington DC and Monterey Jazz Festival. MTQ will tour nationally and internationally in ’13-’14.
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, 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.”
Besides his activities as a performer, Mads Tolling is an accomplished composer. In addition to his original writing on his two most recent albums, Mads arranged one of his compositions for saxophonist Joe Lovano and string orchestra. Of his three prior recordings of original material, one features the legendary pianist JoAnne Brackeen. Mads has recorded with vibraphonist Dave Samuels, appears on RMB 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. The Performance took place at the Paramount Theatre in February 2015. Among the 2300 people in attendance, most leaped out of their chair to show their appreciation at the end. The 25 minute, 3-movement work received many accolades from music director, musicians and music critics alike.
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. 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, golfing and hiking. In 1999, together with his father, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
“A wonderful new voice on the violin – – – very refreshing!”
Learn more about Mads at madstolling.com