"Ensemble39 combines great chops with a fearless attitude to repertoire and performance. This is no ordinary chamber ensemble!"
says Grammy-award winning contemporary ensemble eighth blackbird. E39, as the group is known among those who have experienced its thrilling performances, is quickly establishing its style, sound and programs. Inspired by Sergei Prokofiev’s Quintet, Op. 39, for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and bass, its unique mix of strings and winds embraces many musical styles, from the classical oboe to the jazz bass, the klezmer clarinet to the old time fiddle.
Since 2011, commissions for the Philadelphia-based ensemble have reached the double digits and continued to multiply. E39 has worked with some of the best young composers of their generation. From independent commissions to residencies with composers at the Curtis Institute of Music (2012), University of Pennsylvania (2014), and a performance at the Juilliard School for composer Katerina Kramarchuk (2013), Ensemble39 enjoys watching works transform from the initial reading to performance.
The group balances old and new in its diverse programming. In 2013 the ensemble premiered its creative new arrangement of Mozart’s Serenade in C minor (arr. Andrew Hsu); and following a week-long residency with eighth blackbird (2013), premiered six new pieces based on Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals, Songs of Love and War.
E39 changes the conventional concert paradigm, exploring new venues, seeking diverse collaborators, loosening the presentation protocol, and pursuing mixtape-style programming. Equally at home in traditional concert spaces, art galleries, bars, pop-ups, living rooms, libraries, and schools, appearances have included Philadelphia’s AxD Gallery, Dresden’s Glaeserne Manufaktur, World Café Live, Philadelphia’s FringeArts, Savannah Music Festival, Miller Theater and Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, Chile. The musicians don’t mind if you enjoy a beer or meal with the music, and hope you will connect with them before, during, or after the show.