Visiting Artists

Visiting Artist Series
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)

Apr 7|Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall|8:00 PM|free


International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
“America’s foremost new-music group” – Alex Ross
“bracing, illuminating, reassuring” – Financial Times
“the new gold standard for new music” – The New Yorker
“extraordinary” – The New York Times

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), described by The New York Times as “one of the most accomplished and adventurous groups in new music,” is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. With a modular makeup of 35 leading instrumentalists, performing in forces ranging from solos to large ensembles, ICE functions as performer, presenter, and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement. ICE redefines concert music as it brings together new work and new listeners in the 21st century.

Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered over 500 compositions––the majority of these new works by emerging composers––in venues spanning from alternative spaces to concert halls around the world. The ensemble has received the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award for its contributions to the field, the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, and was most recently named Musical America Worldwide’s Ensemble of the Year in 2013. From 2008 to 2013 ICE was Ensemble-in-Residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE musicians serve as Artists-in-Residence at the Mostly Mozart Festival of Lincoln Center, curating and performing chamber music programs that juxtapose new and old music. In 2014 ICE began a partnership with the Illinois Humanities Council, the Hideout in Chicago, and the Abrons Art Center in New York to support the OpenICE initiative.

ICE has released acclaimed albums on the Nonesuch, Kairos, Bridge, Naxos, Tzadik, New Focus, New Amsterdam and Mode labels. Recent and upcoming highlights include headline performances at the Lincoln Center Festival (New York), Aspekte (Austria), Acht Brücken Music for Cologne (Germany), Festival de Música de Morelia (Mexico), Teatro Amazonas (Brazil), and performances with the Nagoya Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony. ICE has worked closely with conductors Ludovic Morlot, Matthias Pintscher, John Adams and Susanna Mälkki.  Since 2012, conductor and percussion soloist Steven Schick has served as ICE’s Artist-in-Residence.  Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE.

In 2011, with lead support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ICE created the ICElab program to place teams of ICE musicians in close collaboration with emerging composers to develop works that push the boundaries of musical exploration. ICElab projects have been featured in more than one hundred performances from 2011 to 2014, and are documented online through ICE’s blog, and DigitICE, its online library of performance videos. In 2014, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation renewed its leadership support to launch the OpenICE initiative, which brings the full scope of ICE’s programming and educational activities for free to broader audiences around the world.

In 2015, ICE launched its EntICE education initiative. EntICE brings together leading composers with youth ensembles in new works to be performed side-by-side with ICE. ICE musicians will take young people — and their schools, families and communities — through the entire collaborative process of bringing premiere pieces to life.  As an “enticing” first taste of new music, students have the privilege of being essential to the works’ creation. Inaugural EntICE partners include Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), People’s Music School Youth Orchestra (Chicago), Ojai Music Festival, and Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival. ICE’s other workshops include The Listening Room, in which graphic score composition stimulates ideas about creating and interpreting music; sessions of structured group improvisation; and community concerts that introduce schools to the personalities of ICE and the instruments that comprise the ensemble.