NEWSPEAK is an eight-piece amplified ensemble working under the direction of composer David T. Little and clarinetist Eileen Mack. Named after the thought-limiting language in George Orwell’s 1984, Newspeak explores the grey area where art and politics mix, seeking to reconsider, redefine, and ultimately reclaim the notion of socially engaged music. Called “potent” (Alex Ross), “fierce” (Time Out NY) and “innovative” (New York Magazine), Newspeak also confronts the boundaries between the classical and the rock traditions by embedding elements of a rock band into a classical new music ensemble, with playing “so concentrated and focused that it could melt through steel” (Sequenza 21).
Utterly committed to the music of its time, Newspeak has commissioned, work-shopped, and premiered work by some of the most exciting members of the new generation, including Oscar Bettison, Darcy James Argue, Corey Dargel, Ted Hearne, Caleb Burhans, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, and David T. Little, as well as established masters like Frederic Rzewski and Paul Lansky. They have held multiple residencies at Princeton University, been featured on the MATA Festival, shared bills with The Fiery Furnaces as part of Wordless Music, and performed as part of John Zorn’s Full Force festival.
The octet released its debut album sweet light crude on New Amsterdam records in November 2010. it has been praised for its seamless fusion of rock and classical chamber music idioms as well as its unconcealed political messages; New Music Box finds it “devoid of the awkwardness one hears much too often in these attempts at cross-genre pollination”, Arcane Candy remarks that it “could easily keep a whole nation full of chamber rock lovers well lubricated for a whole year,” and The Silent Ballet finds it to “inhabit a world in which all genres are on an equal playing field.”