A Conversation with Ensemble Recherche (Freiburg), Castle of our Skins (Boston) and ICE (NY)
What does the process of diversifying new music repertoire look like in practice? Representatives from Ensemble Recherche (Freiburg), Castle of our Skins (Boston) and International Contemporary Ensemble (NY) give insight into their work and specific initiatives they have introduced to expand their repertoire.
Photo: Emily Peragine
George E. Lewis
is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, where he serves as Area Chair in Composition and Faculty in Historical Musicology. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin, Lewis’s other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship (2002), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015) and a Doris Duke Artist Award (2019) among many others. Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisative forms is documented on more than 150 recordings. His book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008) received the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society’s Music in American Culture Award. Lewis has been artistic director of International Contemporary Ensemble since April 2022.
Photo: Robert Torres Photography
is co-founder, Artistic/Executive Director and violist of Castle of our Skins, a Boston-based concert and educational series devoted to celebrating Black Artistry through music. Described as a “charismatic and captivating performer,” Ashleigh has recorded with Switzerland's Ensemble Proton and Germany's Ensemble Modern; performed with Grammy-award winning BMOP and Grammy-nominated A Far Cry string ensemble; and appeared at the prestigious BBC Proms Festival with the Chineke! Orchestra. She is a 2015 St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award recipient, a 2019 Brother Thomas Fellow, a nominee for the 2020 "Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities,” and named one of WBUR’s “ARTery 25”, twenty-five millennials of color impacting Boston’s arts and culture scene. She has shared the stage as a guest panelist at the Sphinx Connect Conference and Chamber Music America Conference discussing topics of diversity in classical music, and is an Instructor of Teaching Artistry at the Longy School of Music at Bard College.
Photo: Kevin Grady
has written a wide range of music encompassing symphonic work and opera. He is the composer of Winnie, The Opera based on the life of Winnie Mandela and Harmonia Ubuntu premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra on their historic tour of Africa. According to The New York Times his “delicately made music - airy, spacious, terribly complex but never convoluted - has a lot to teach the Western wizards of metric modulation and layered rhythms about grace and balance.” He graduated with a PhD (Music Composition) from Rhodes University and was appointed to fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University (2019-20) and the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University (2021-22). Ndodana-Breen served as curator of Ensemble Recherche's project "A Postcolonial Recherche."
(c) ensemble recherche
Clemens K. Thomas,
born in Karlsruhe in 1992, studied composition with Prof. Johannes Schöllhorn and Prof. Cornelius Schwehr, as well as harpsichord with Prof. Dr. Robert Hill at the Musikhochschule Freiburg. Clemens' portfolio includes vocal and music-theatrical pieces, as well as site-specific compositions for concerts in a mine or on a bus, and installation works. Clemens' works have been performed by ensembles such as ensemble recherche, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, and Schola Heidelberg. He is a winner of the protonwerk 10 of the ensemble proton bern and a finalist of the Prix Annelie de Man Composer's Competition 2020 Amsterdam. Clemens critically engages with contemporary culture and thinks about future forms of collaboration, art-making and education. He has been Artistic Manager of ensemble recherche since summer 2019.