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For the past ten years, adventurous indie classical chamber group Ensemble Pi have played an annual “peace concert,” featuring socially relevant compositions from across the years as well as most of the classical music spectrum. This year’s sold-out multimedia performance Saturday night in the comfortable downstairs auditorium at the Sheen Center on Bleecker Street explored music and writing on themes of captivity and imprisonment.
from Lucid Culture
Even by avant garde standards, chamber group Ensemble Pi stand out not only for the adventurousness of their commissions and their repertoire, but also for their fearlessly political stance.
KAMINSKY: Vukovar Trio; Duo; Wave Hill; Triftmusik; Music for Artur; Cadmium Yellow; Transformations
American Record Guide May/June 2013
Ensemble Pi; Cassatt & Colorado Quartets
Albany 1393 [2CD] 112 minutes
"The evening was one of the most extraordinary and profoundly-moving musical performance events I have ever experienced. The concert was conceived and presented with an intelligence and compassion which intensified the independent merits and beauties of the (seven?) works scheduled. The pieces included were by one writer and three composers all of whose work performed that night, as described by The Cell in its press release, "addresses some of the 'silences' enforced or suggested by governments or the media".
Every piece of music on this compelling tribute to a loving father and husband, who also happened to be a musical explorer par excellence (he founded the Electronic Music Studio), compels one to trot out the term sui generis. Each of the six pieces, none more than 16 minutes long, engages its audience with a unique musical slant.
Artists have long created art as a means of political protest with works like Picasso’s “Guernica”? now a tribute to victims of war. Composers have a less direct means of rebellion than the more literal expression of painters, photographers and playwrights. But even if there had not been descriptions in the program, the new music performed at the Great Hall at Cooper Union on Saturday evening during a concert commemorating the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq clearly evoked conflict and anguish.
New York Times
New York Times