Contemporary Music Ensemble
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Contemporary Music Ensemble Personnel
Institute for New Music Coordinator
Benjamin J. Penwell
Jessie Cox, Quantify
Ruud Roelofsen, Memento Mori
Memento Mori (2020)
Memento Mori translates to “remember that you (have to) die”. In Memento Mori I attempted to turn my reflections on death, decay, fear, and pain into music. All materials in the work are based on sounds and feelings created by my/the body such as breathing, heartbeats, the sound of blood rushing through veins, sounds created in the abdomen, and aching. The fact that I was becoming the same age as the age my late mother was when she passed away, and the reflection on the anxiety created by that fact, was my main reason for writing Memento Mori in 2020.
Alex Temple, The Man Who Hated Everything
The Man Who Hated Everything (2015)
For flute, sax, trombone, piano, electric guitar, vibraphone, drum set, two violins, cello, and voice
In The Man Who Hated Everything, I pay tribute to Frank Zappa, particularly his early work with the Mothers of Invention. Some passages evoke his musical style explicitly, some allude to music that he loved (doo-wop, mid-century modernism), some have the performers improvise in response to verbal prompts, and some draw inspiration from other genre-bendy bands (Mr. Bungle, Henry Cow), or from musical iconography associated with Los Angeles (sleazy neo-noir jazz, 1960s filmstrips). At the end, the tribute becomes more of a critique — partially because that’s what Zappa himself would have done, and partially because I couldn’t bring myself to pay totally uncritical homage to someone who, for all his musical brilliance, could be pretty sexist and misanthropic.
MM, INDIANA UNIVERSITY
Associate Director, Institute for New Music. Ben Bolter made his orchestral conducting debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at age 25, with the Washington Post praising his performance: “Bolter spotlighted the showiest aspects...and made it look easy.” As part of Chicago's acclaimed Ear Taxi Festival, his world premiere of Drew Baker's NOX was named Chicago's Best Classical Music Performance of 2016 by the Third Coast Review. John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune remarked: "[Drew Baker's] NOX made an altogether striking close to an absorbing, eclectic program, quite the best of the Ear Taxi events..." Bolter has also served as an assistant conductor with the Indianapolis Symphony and has been a frequent guest at the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Bolter is a regular conductor and collaborator with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). He has also worked with contemporary groups and soloists including Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Third Coast Percussion, Spektral Quartet, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Square Peg Round Hole, Claire Chase, and Tony Arnold. In fall 2018, he led the Grossman Ensemble in their inaugural performance as part of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at University of Chicago and gave world premieres by composers Shulamit Ran, Sam Pluta, Tonia Ko, and David Rakowski. He has also given premieres by acclaimed composers Marcos Balter, Anthony Cheung, Drew Baker, Matthew Peterson, and Clint Needham among others and has worked closely with composers such as Steve Reich, John Luther Adams, David Lang, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ashley Fure, Hans Thomalla ,and Andrew Norman.
Bolter has also been recognized for his work with youth orchestras. For six years, he served as Music Director of the Conservatory Orchestras at the Merit School of Music, where his Philharmonic Orchestra was regularly featured live on WFMT and in Chicago Symphony Center. He is also the former Artistic Director of The People’s Music School Youth Orchestras and former Music Director of the New England Conservatory Youth Festival Orchestra. Additionally, he has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's annual Chicago Youth in Music Festival, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Oakland Youth Orchestras, and the 2014 MMEA Senior District Orchestra Festival in Boston.
Bolter holds a Bachelor of Music in oboe performance from the New England Conservatory. He received a Master of Music in orchestral conducting from Indiana University, where he also served as adjunct faculty for four years. In addition to his work as a conductor, he is also an active keyboardist and songwriter and has performed in original and cover bands throughout the Midwest.
Jessie Cox is a critical theorist, composer, drummer and educator currently in pursuit of his Doctorate Degree at Columbia University. Growing up in Switzerland, and also having roots in Trinidad and Tobago, he is currently residing in NYC. He has written over 100 works for various musical ensembles including electroacoustic works, solo works, chamber- and orchestral works, works for jazz ensembles and choirs; including commissions and performances by LA Phil, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Ensemble Modern, Long Beach Opera, Wavefield Ensemble, Heidi Duckler Dance, JACK Quartet, Steve Schick, Claire Chase, String Noise Duo, ICE Ensemble, Gregory Oakes, Rebekah Heller, Vasko Dukovski, Either/Or, Fonema Consort, Cory Smythe, Kyle Motl, Clara Warnaar, Ryan Muncy, Katinka Kleijn, Promenade Sauvage, Janet Underhill, Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, Pink Noise Ensemble, etc.
As a performer he has played in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the USA; with musicians from all over the world including Benny Rietveld, Roman Filiu, John King, Claire Day, Steve Cardenas, Ras Moshe, William Roper, Josh Sinton, Ben Stapp, Sandy Ewen, Lisanne Tremblay, James Ilgenfritz, Julian Shore, Mark Wade, Maher Beauroy, Eric Wubbels, Miyama McQueens-Tokita, Marc Hannaford, Brian Krock, Weston Olencki, Lester St Louis, Sam Yulsman, Barbara LaFitte, Lucy Clifford, Tomas Sauter, Cehryl, etc.
He has been studying composition with George Lewis, Georg Friedrich Haas, Richard Carrick, Annie Gosfield, Seth Cluett, Derek Hurst, Marti Epstein, Alfred Schweizer and Drums with Neal Smith, Tony “Thunder” Smith. Jessie has participated in the Accra Jazz Festival, the Martinique Jazz Festival, Langnau Jazz Festival, The Stone Series (NYC), La Phil’s Noon to Midnight Festival (Walt Disney Hall), New World Symphony’s Inside the Music (New World Center), Philharmonie Essen Festival NOW!, NUNC3 and NUNC4 at Northwestern University, New Music Gathering, Opera Omaha’s One Festival, Bang on a Can Music Series (Noguchi Museum), Italian Academy’s Summer Festival, National Sawdust Digital Discovery Festival, Roulette Interpretation Series, OpenICE Library Festival at Lincoln Center, Composers Now Festival, Issue Project Room, Frequency Series at Constellation (Chicago), Mis-En-Place Bushwick Curator Series, String Noise Sounds Series in NYC (Co-Curator), Polyfold, Rhythm and Thought Festival, and won the Leroy Southers Award (2015), Bill Maloof Award (2017). He has been aired on NPR, WBGO, WDR 3, HR2, SWR 2, Martinique 1, Visasat 1, TSF Jazz, WFMU, Fip Radio, ViaATV, France Ô, etc.
Jessie’s music can be heard on Aztec Music’s Declic Jazz Label, Gold Bolus Recordings and Infrequent Seams, as well as others.
He and projects where Jessie has been a part of have received grants and sponsoring from: the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Alliance Francaise, Levedo Stiftung, Lyra Stiftung, Fritz-Gerber Stiftung, Berklee College of Music, Columbia University, Zeta Violins, etc.
Jessie Cox graduated summa cum laude from the Berklee College of Music on scholarship in 2017, with a degree in composition.
Jessie Cox’s musical career began when he was only three years old. He took rhythm and solfège training at the music school of his hometown Biel/Bienne in Switzerland. At the age of six years his interest in percussion instruments started showing and he began taking Djembe lessons. This was also the time when he first started composing his own music.
When he was twelve years old he started playing the Drumset in different cover bands and he started taking lessons with the internationally acclaimed Latin-music artist Carlos Kort.
Ruud Roelofsen (*16-11-1985, Rhenen NL) is a composer currently based in Chicago (USA). He is attending Northwestern University for a PhD in composition. Prior to this he studied classical percussion in the conservatories of Arnhem (NL), Brussels (B), and Münster (D).
Ruud participated in master classes in composition with Dmitri Kourliandski, Carola Bauckholt, Hanna Hartman, Tristan Murail, Mark André, Hèctor Parra, Bryn Harrison, Martin Schüttler, Bernard Cavanna, Ted Hearne, and Martijn Padding.
As a composer he has worked with Het Vers Ensemble (NL), the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (RUS), Orkest de Ereprijs (NL), Gyre Ensemble (CH), Flubax Trio (LT), Ensemble Polygon (CH), Ensemble Soundinitiative (Fr), Parallel Asteroid (D), Ensemble Spaziomusica (It), FRAMES percussion (Esp), aTonal Hits (USA), Platypus Ensemble (At), 20° dans le noir (Fr), Kroiser Ensemble (Ukr), Bart de Vrees (NL), Miriam Overlach (DE), Wilbert Bulsink (NL), Dario Calderone (It), a.o.
His music has been performed in such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht, NL), Musica Viva Festival Lissabon (Pt), Sirga Festival (Flix, Esp), Ferienkurse für neue Musik (Darmstadt, D), MIXTUR Barcelona (Esp), Young Composers Meeting (Apeldoorn, NL), MUSICAPOI (Cagliari, It), Kiev Contemporary Music Days (Ukr), Florida International Toy Piano Festiavl (USA), and the IX International Composers Academy in Tschaikovsky City (RUS).
In 2012 he received the "Ingeborg Köberle" award as a highly promising student and for his exceptional performance skill in the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. In 2013 he was selected for the "Young Composers Meeting" in Apeldoorn. In 2013 he was a finalist for the famous Luigi Russolo Award. In 2015 he attended Matrix15 at SWR Experimentalstudio in Freiburg (D). In 2005 Ruud won the composition project of the Dutch Ensemble "Orkest de Ereprijs" and in 2011 he was a semifinalist in the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition. In 2013 he took part in the International Ensemble Modern Academy in the Klangspuren Festival led by Ensemble Modern Frankfurt (D).
A sound can evoke a time, a place, a cultural moment, or a worldview. As someone who loves both the Western classical tradition and the world of pop culture, Alex Temple (b. 1983) has always felt uncomfortable with stylistic hierarchies and the idea of a pure musical language. She prefers to look for points of connection between things that aren’t supposed to belong together, distorting and combining iconic sounds to create new meanings — often in service of surreal, cryptic, or fantastical narratives. She’s particularly interested in reclaiming socially disapproved-of (“cheesy”) sounds, playing with the boundary between funny and frightening, investigating lost memories and secret histories, and telling queer and trans stories.
Alex’s work has been performed by a variety of soloists and ensembles, including Mellissa Hughes, Julia Holter, Isabel Leonard, Mabel Kwan, Amanda Gookin, wild Up, Spektral Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed her own works for voice and electronics in venues such as Roulette, Exapno, Galapagos Art Space, Gallery Cabaret, Constellation, and Experimental Sound Studio. As the keyboardist for the chamber-rock group The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles, she performed at the South by Southwest Festival and Chicago’s Green Mill Cocktail Lounge; with a·pe·ri·od·ic, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of indeterminate music in the tradition of John Cage, she made sounds using her voice, synthesizers and household objects.
Alex got her BA from Yale University in 2005, where she studied with Kathryn Alexander and Matthew Suttor, and released two albums of electronic music on a microlabel that she ran out of her dorm room. In 2007 she completed her MA at University of Michigan, where she studied with Erik Santos and visiting professors Michael Colgrass, Tania León and Betsy Jolas, as well as collaborating with a troupe of dancers and playing in an indie bossa-nova band. After she left Ann Arbor, she spent two years working as the program manager for the New York Youth Symphony’s Making Score program for young composers. In 2017, she completed a DMA at Northwestern University, where she studied with Hans Thomalla and Jay Alan Yim, and taught aural skills, theory, composition for non-majors, and private composition lessons. In recently years she has taught at Luna Lab and National Sawdust’s BluePrint Fellowship, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at Arizona State University.
Contemporary Music Ensemble with tenor Pablo Laucerica