The 2018 Ecstatic Music Festival runs from January 27 to April 26 at The Kaufman Center in NYC, bringing together many artists and composers across various genres for collaborative performances. This year's edition includes Xena Rubinos and Adam Schatz teaming up to perform new, reworked versions of Xenia's material on January 27; Kronos Quartet partnering with young orchestral ensemble Face the Music for Kronos' "Fifty for the Future" series on February 5; Arone Dyer's Dronechoir (mem Buke and Gase) with poet Mahogany L. Browne on March 1; Glasser (with Robbie Lee and Eleonore Oppenheim) and big dog little dog on March 22; Bent Knee and Mantra Percussion premiering a new collaborative project on March 29; Julianna Barwick and ModernMedieval both premiering new material on April 19; and much more.

Consistent with years past, this year's festival includes Bang on a Can People's Commissioning Fund Concert, which features new music from George Lewis and Angélica Negrón, with "historic" commissioned pieces by Thurston Moore, Pamela Z, Annea Lockwood, and Lukas Ligeti.

Tickets for all these performances are on sale now. Discounted passes for the whole festival are also available as are discounts for buying tickets to multiple shows. Some of the 2018 Ecstatic Music Festival performances will be streamed live on Q2 Music. You can view the fest's full schedule and more details about individual performances below.


Saturday, Jan. 27, 7:30pm
Xenia Rubinos & Adam Schatz's Civil Engineering
“Xenia Rubinos can make social consciousness sensual,” says the New York Times. Her catchy yet exuberantly visceral songs meld weighty social issues with intimately personal ones and draw from a broad palette of influences ranging from Caribbean and jazz to indie rock, hip-hop and punk. Xenia will team up with Adam Schatz’s Civil Engineering, a high-energy, 10-member multi-dimensional big band led by the protean multi-instrumentalist Schatz, “New York’s Indie Rock Zelig” (New York Observer) and Landlady frontman, to perform new arrangements of her songs, his songs, and composers they love, and to premiere new works written for the Ecstatic Music Festival.

Monday, Feb. 5, 7:30pm
Kronos Quartet & Face The Music
The adventurous, Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet – one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of our time – joins NYC’s acclaimed youth new music ensemble Face the Music (“a force in the New York new-music world” – New York Times) to perform new works written for Kronos’ “Fifty for the Future,” a commissioning, education and legacy project showcasing contemporary approaches to the string quartet that features new works by some of today’s foremost composers. The program also includes new works by Face the Music member composers. The two ensembles will perform separately and together. This concert is made possible thanks to the generosity of Eugene M. Lang Foundation.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 7:30pm
Bang on a Can People's Commissioning Fund Concert
A New Sounds Live co-presentation hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer & streamed live on Q2 Music

World premieres by George Lewis and Angélica Negrón, plus a new look at “historic” PCF-commissioned pieces by Pamela Z, Annea Lockwood, Lukas Ligeti and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore

Bang on a Can’s People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) is a radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission works from adventurous composers. Founded in 1997, long before crowd-funding became the norm through Kickstarter and the like, Bang on a Can’s PCF has pooled contributions of all sizes from hundreds of friends and fans and since its inception has commissioned over 50 works of music for New York’s electric Bang on a Can All-Stars.

Thursday, Mar. 1, 7:30pm
Arone Dyer's Dronechoir & Mahogany L. Browne
Dronechoir is the latest innovation by Arone Dyer of Buke and Gase, the band Pitchfork calls “never anything less than absolutely thrilling.” Dyer has assembled a group of talented women from completely different musical backgrounds to engage in spontaneous performance that bridges the gaps between them. They’ll be joined by the celebrated poet Mahogany L. Browne, Cave Canem Fellow and Programming Coordinator of Black Lives Matter Pratt @ Pratt Institute, for an evening of powerful vocal performances addressing Black Lives, gender equity and racial equality.

Thursday, Mar. 22, 7:30pm
Glasser (with Robbie Lee & Eleonore Oppenheim) & big dog little dog
Glasser (aka Cameron Mesirow), known for her ethereal vocals and atmospheric electro-pop, will venture into fresh sonic territory with her new all-acoustic trio, which features multi-instrumentalist Robbie Lee and bassist Eleonore Oppenheim. They will be joined by big dog little dog, the new duo project of composer-violinist Jessie Montgomery (“daring…inventive” – New York Times; “turbulent, wildly colorful, exploding with life” – Washington Post), and the “quietly virtuosic” (New York Times) bassist and songwriter Eleonore Oppenheim. Each band will perform sets of their own material, then together they’ll premiere a new piece written for the 2018 Ecstatic Music Festival.

Thursday, Mar. 29, 7:30pm
Bent Knee & Mantra Percussion
“The silo-smashing sextet Bent Knee taps into chamber pop, industrial rock, metal and prog-rock” (Wall Street Journal). The hard-hitting, experimental Boston band comes together with the visionary, “superhuman” (Time Out New York) Mantra Percussion for new works expanding their already enormous scope and sound. The two ensembles will perform separate sets and then come together to premiere a new work by Bent Knee that weaves influences from across the rock, pop and avant-garde spectrums into a seamless, thrilling whole.

Saturday, Apr. 14, 7:30pm
Jeremy Flower, John Hollenbeck, Ethan Iverson, Carla Kihlstedt, Christopher Tordini & Patrick Zimmerli
The evening begins with a CD release celebration of composer-saxophonist Patrick Zimmerli’s Clockworks, a musical meditation on time, in all its forms, performed by Zimmerli with former Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Chris Tordini and composer-jazz drummer John Hollenbeck. In the evening’s second half, pop/art song composer-violinist-vocalist Carla Kihlstedt and composer Jeremy Flower join Zimmerli, Tordini and Hollenbeck for the world premiere of Songs of Mourning, an exploration of sorrow ranging from the political to the personal, and other works from their cumulative pasts.

Thursday, Apr. 19, 7:30pm
ModernMedieval & Julianna Barwick
A New Sounds Live co-presentation hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer & streamed live on Q2 Music
Some of the greatest voices in contemporary music come together! Julianna Barwick’s ethereal, powerfully emotive voice paired with celebrated performers of early music ascends into a thrilling and truly ecstatic sonic world. Featuring premieres of new works by Barwick, Caleb Burhans, “New York’s mohawked Mozart” (Time Out New York), and Caroline Shaw, the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. The three-member super-group ModernMedieval features former Anonymous 4 founder Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek and Roomful of Teeth’s Martha Cluver and Eliza Bagg.

Thursday, Apr. 26, 7:30 pm
Margaret Leng Tan Premieres George Crumb, Suzanne Farrin, & Kelly Moran
A New Sounds Live co-presentation hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer & streamed live on Q2 Music
“Margaret Leng Tan — the formidable doyenne of the avant-garde piano — has built a career on upending tradition, pushing her instrument into fresh, no-holds-barred sonic worlds,” raves the Washington Post. Tan gives the New York premiere of Metamorphoses, a major new work written for her by the seminal 20th century composer George Crumb, for amplified piano, toy piano, percussion and voice. Metamorphoses is performed with Monica Duncan’s video projections, in which atmospheric visual textures complement the music. Tan will also premiere two new EMF-commissioned pieces by young composers responding to Cage and Crumb’s influence: a work for prepared piano by Kelly Moran, and a haunting new piece by 2017 Rome Prize winner Suzanne Farrin that acknowledges not only Crumb’s important contribution to American music, but, in Farrin’s words, “also Margaret Leng Tan’s special role as the artist who has brought the piano’s insides to life on stage.” Works by Toby Twining and John Cage round out the program.

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