This winter, Kaufman Center's second annual Ecstatic Music Festival will feature nearly 150 performers and composers from different musical backgrounds who are re-defining music today. In 11 collaborative concerts – all with first performances of new works – the festival will put its finger on the pulse of contemporary “post-classical” music, where lines between genres are blurred and audiences are equally likely to find classically-trained instrumentalists performing in downtown clubs and non-traditional venues as well as concert halls.
Hailed as "a who’s who of the current music scene" (WQXR), last winter’s Ecstatic Music Festival was a critical and popular success. Critics called the festival "too engaging, too thought-provoking, and too musically compelling to pass up” (Daniel Kushner, Huffington Post) and "the most bracing combinations of adventurous, fulfilling music in recent memory” (Joel Harrison, National Public Radio).
The 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival kicks off on Saturday, February 4, when Jherek Bischoff and the Wordless Music Orchestra will be joined by special guests David Byrne, Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Mirah and Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls). The festival continues throughout February and March with programs pairing artists well-known in the indie/pop world with composers and performers with a more classical bent in collaborations such as Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry with Son Lux and yMusic, Dan Deacon with NOW Ensemble and the Calder Quartet, and the Mountain Goats with the vocal quartet Anonymous 4.
The Ecstatic Music Festival is curated by Judd Greenstein, Co- Director of New Amsterdam Records. “This year's festival brings the themes from the 2011 festival into new focus, with an incredible breadth of creative musicians working in brand-new collaborations,” says Greenstein. “Most of this year's artists didn't know their collaborator before the festival brought them together, making the resulting concerts as adventurous for the artists as they are for the audience. The 2012 festival is also a celebration of geographic diversity, with artists from five countries and nine states, from China to Sweden, Washington to Texas, California to North Carolina, represented across the 11 evenings. All in all, the 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival continues to provide artists with the opportunity to grow in new directions, and provides audiences the opportunity to witness that growth as it occurs in front of them, live and on stage in one of New York's great concert halls.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome such a wonderful group of groundbreaking artists to Merkin Concert Hall, which is especially well-suited to this festival,” says Lydia Kontos, Executive Director of Kaufman Center. “Well known for its intimate scale and excellent acoustics, the hall combines the close connection between audience and performer you would experience in a smaller club with the extraordinary sound of a world-class concert hall.”
The Ecstatic Music Festival includes New Sounds® Live concerts hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer, which will be webcast live on Q2 Music and taped for future broadcast on WNYC. WQXR and Q2 Music are the media partners of the Ecstatic Music Festival. Q2 Music is the festival’s digital venue and will be the center for on-demand artist interviews and concert audio. The festival is presented in association with New Amsterdam Presents.