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Reviews

Reparations NOW! Ensemble Pi Draws Inspiration from Kendi and Coates

Saturday, December 5, 2020
Jillian Degroot

I Care if You Listen

"With this poignant and powerfully curated program, Ensemble Pi reminds us that the commitment to be a socially conscious artist means engaging thoughtfully with today’s critical issues. It means commissioning and performing work by today’s composers. It means creating a space to reflect and conversate, to share knowledge and resources. Music and art must not be a place into which we solely retreat, but a space to hold difficult, even painful conversations, and demand justice.”

‘A Gun Show’ Raises Questions Beyond the Music

Thursday, December 1, 2016
by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

The 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut struck the musicians of So Percussion deeply. In response, the quartet’s members — Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting — together with the director Ain Gordon and the choreographer Emily Johnson, a longtime collaborator, vowed to create a program that would investigate America’s relationship to guns. As they developed the idea, they mined their own childhood memories, took lessons at a shooting range, ordered rifle parts on the web and joined in a hunt.

A Characteristically Vivid, Potently Relevant Performance by Ensemble Pi

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
by delarue

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.

Ensemble Pi, much more than another new music group

Monday, November 12, 2012
posted by James Wagner

"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".

A touching tribute to Elias Tanenbaum that is played with conviction and verve

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Laurence Vittes

Gramophone

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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.

Compositions to Do Battle With War and Injustice

Tuesday, March 4, 2008
VIVIEN SCHWEITZER

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.