NOW ENSEMBLE is a dynamic young group of performers and composers dedicated to making new chamber music for the 21st century. With its 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 a blend of musical influences that reflects the diverse backgrounds and listening experiences of its members. Their music has been described as “formal elegance … with a pop honed concision and rhythmic vitality” by Time Out New York, and their sophomore release has been called “a truly delightful experience from beginning to end” by The Silent Ballet. They play in concert halls and art museums, rock clubs and jazz venues, for large audiences and for intimate gatherings, acoustic and plugged in. Above all, they strive for performances that are as lively and engaging as they are rigorous and technically sophisticated.
Since 2004, NOW has maintained its lineup with Alex Sopp on the flute, Sara Phillips on the clarinet, Mark Dancigers on the electric guitar, Michael Mizrahi on the piano, and Peter Rosenfeld on the double bass, and with Patrick Burke and Judd Greenstein, along with Mark, as the composers. Each of the performers in NOW Ensemble are virtuoso players with distinguished solo careers and a wide variety of experience in other ensembles and genres of music. They’ve given recitals in Carnegie Hall, been members of world class orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, and the American Composers Orchestra, and have appeared onstage and on recordings with indie rockers like Sufjan Stevens, The National, and Bright Black Morning Light. This breadth of experience, rather than distracting from their roles in NOW Ensemble, brings an essential diversity of sound and perspective to the group, something that is required in their interpretations of the widely varied scores and approaches that they encounter when working with today’s best young composers.
Because of its unique instrumentation, NOW Ensemble relies on composers of new works to increase its repertoire. NOW Ensemble has cast its lot with the exciting voices in its own generation of composers, and have commissioned works by Timothy Andres, William Brittelle, Anna Clyne, David Crowell, Corey Dargel, Andrew McKenna Lee, David T. Little, Missy Mazzoli, Matt McBane, Nico Muhly, Tristan Perich, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Jason Treuting, Stefan Weisman, and many other young new music luminaries. This decision has made NOW a critical element in any discussion of the up-and-coming composers who are quickly rising to prominence in New York and around the country.
NOW Ensemble has released two albums, both on New Amsterdam Records. Their 2008 debut, NOW, features compositions by Judd Greenstein, Patrick Burke, Mark Dancigers, and Nico Muhly, and received a five-star rave reviews from Time Out New York / Chicago. Their sophomore album, Awake, was likewise praised, called “terrific” by Anne Midgette in The Washington Post, and named “Album of the Week” (WQXR). The album was enthusiastically profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered, and immediately thereafter surged to #1 on the Amazon Chamber Music Chart.