NOW Ensemble is a dynamic group of performers and composers dedicated to making new chamber music for the 21st century. With a unique instrumentation of flute, clarinet, electric guitar, double bass, and piano, the ensemble brings a fresh sound and a new perspective to the classical tradition, infused with the musical influences that reflect the diverse backgrounds of its members. Increasingly focusing on work that fearlessly crosses boundaries of musical genre and artistic media, NOW Ensemble’s recent collaborators include home-made electronics guru Dan Deacon and multimedia opera producers Beth Morrison and Missy Mazzoli.
Combing talks, a film, and music, the concert marks the return to Williams of three Williams graduates whose collaboration has been instrumental in the creation of the group. Co-founder of NOW ENSEMBLE, Judd Greenstein '01 is also the composer for the film screened at the conclusion of the concert, Plan of the City. The director of the the film is fellow alumnus, Joshua Frankel '02, who will give a talk about his work. Also featured on this concert is Williams composer Andrea Mazzariello '00.
One of NOW Ensemble’s main goals has been to create a musical paradigm in which continuous collaboration between composers and the performers is taken as a given. This philosophy has been put into practice in residencies at numerous institutions, including Yale, Princeton, University of Virginia, and the New College of Florida. NOW Ensemble's performances have been featured on NPR's “All Things Considered” and on live on WNYC, and its sophomore album “Awake” charted at #1 in Amazon's Classical Chamber Music Charts. NOW's collaboration with film maker Joshua Frankel, Plan of the City was praised in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and New Yorker critic Alex Ross's blog, where it was hailed as "gorgeous." Since 2004, NOW has worked with over 60 of today's most exciting composers, including Nico Muhly, Timothy Andres, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, Kathryn Alexander, Jason Treuting, and Sean Friar. NOW has performed this new repertoire at such venues as Miller Theater, Merkin Hall, the Bang on a Can Marathon, The Kitchen NYC, The Stone, the Carlsbad Festival, the Festival International Chihuahua, the Look and Listen Festival, The Music Gallery Toronto, Sarasota's New Music New College, the Southern Exposure Series, Pittsburgh's Music on the Edge, Cal Arts, MIT, and Julliard.
"The vibrant sound of NOW Ensemble... does something more than offer composers an alternative to the ubiquitous 'Pierrot ensembles plus singer or percussion.' It breathes the air of this planet: the musical air of indie rock, rap, jazz, pop, and minimalism variously synthesized by classically-trained composers and instrumentalists. Three of NOW's founding members are composers, and a community of 35 like-minded others have responded to the opportunities NOW embodies: to defy specialization, reject alienation, and inspire deft musicians to convey a sense of private amusement that enlivens the music they perform." - Jeffrey Edelstein, International Concert Review, March 4, 2009
Poster by HVB Design