About ACME: American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Led by artistic director and cellist Clarice Jensen, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers. The ensemble presents cutting-edge literature by living composers alongside the “classics” of the contemporary. ACME’s dedication to new music extends across genres, and has earned the group a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. Time Out New Yorkcalls the group “one of New York’s brightest new music indie-bands.” The New York Times describes ACME’s performances as “vital,” “brilliant,” and “electrifying."
ACME has performed at Le Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Noguchi Museum, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Columbia University's Miller Theatre, Stanford Lively Arts in California, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT, and All Tomorrow’s Parties in the UK, among others. ACME's instrumentation is flexible, and includes some of New York's most sought-after, engaging musicians. Core ACME members include violinists Caleb Burhans, Ben Russell, and Caroline Shaw, violist Nadia Sirota, cellist Clarice Jensen, flutist Alex Sopp, pianist Timothy Andres, and percussionist Chris Thompson.
ACME does not subscribe to one stylistic movement or genre; its concerts present all genres of contemporary music in the same light and with the same conviction. Time Out New York reports, “[Artistic Director Clarice] Jensen has earned a sterling reputation for her fresh, inclusive mix of minimalists, maximalists, eclectics and newcomers.” Since its first New York concert season in 2004, the ensemble has performed works by John Adams, John Luther Adams, Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars, Caleb Burhans, John Cage, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Jacob Druckman, Jefferson Friedman, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, Donald Martino, Olivier Messiaen, Nico Muhly, Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Arnold Schoenberg, Toru Takemitsu, Kevin Volans, Charles Wuorinen, Iannis Xenakis, Chen Yi, and more.
ACME has also collaborated with bands and artists including Grizzly Bear (in concert and on their best-selling album, Veckatimest, featuring strings by Nico Muhly); electronica duo Matmos (on The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast, with strings by Jefferson Friedman); Craig Wedren (former frontman of the avant-rock band Shudder To Think); prepared-pianist Hauschka; composers/performers Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, and Dustin O'Halloran, and Micachu & The Shapes.
2012-2013 highlights for ACME include July performances with otherworldly indie-duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen in Chicago's massive Millennium Park and at Le Poisson Rouge; a special September 11 performance of Steve Reich’s complete string quartets, the world premiere of the all-live version of WTC 9/11, at Le Poisson Rouge; a three-night run in October as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival, performing the world premiere of Phil Kline's Out Cold with vocalist Theo Bleckmann; as well as performances presented by the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and The Morgan Library in New York. In April 2013, the ensemble is in residence at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center workshopping a new opera about Nikola Tesla with Phil Kline and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. Also in spring 2013, ACME will release The Music of Joseph Byrd – a rediscovered contemporary of La Monte Young and Morton Feldman and a player in the Fluxus art movement – on New World Records.
Other recent highlights include performances in Boston at Jordan Hall and at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, opening two sold-out concerts by rock singer and guitarist Jeff Mangum; a 12-city tour across the US with A Winged Victory for the Sullen performing at venues including The Satellite in Los Angeles, Triple Door in Seattle, and the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis; a performance at Stanford Lively Arts in the world premiere of a new work commissioned from Ingram Marshall for ACME with acclaimed male a cappella group Lionheart; a performance in the UK at the popular All Tomorrow's Parties festival, playing Gavin Bryars' Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet for an audience of over 1000 people; and a two-night run at The Kitchen, presenting a world premiere by avant-guitarist and composer Mick Barr alongside the premiere of William Brittelle's chamber cycle Loving the Chambered Nautilus, ACME's recording of which was released in June 2012 on New Amsterdam Records.
Important past performances include ACME’s Carnegie Hall debut performing the world premiere of Timothy Andres’ Senior with the New York Youth Symphony in Stern Auditorium; a month-long residency at the Whitney Museum presented by the Wordless Music Series, for which ACME tailored a contemporary classical program to complement the indie-rock or electronica performer sharing the concert; and in Nico Muhly’s Tell the Way at St. Ann's Warehouse.
ACME was founded in 2004 by cellist Clarice Jensen, conductor Donato Cabrera, and publicist Christina Jensen, and has received support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Cary New Music Performance Fund, and the Greenwall Foundation. The ensemble is represented by Bernstein Artists, Inc.
For more information, visit www.acmemusic.org or www.facebook.com/americancontemporarymusicensemble.
[Last updated August 22, 2012]