Within the Common Practice Era (what most people think of when they hear the words “classical music”), there are several established instrumentations: common terms include the symphony orchestra and the string quartet. Quartets still abound within the music of our lifetimes, but the common “large ensemble” setup of today is considerably smaller. In general this music is written for one person per instrument, with doublings occurring most commonly in the violins and percussion. This pared-down instrumentation is incredibly flexible: composers have access to the entire orchestral palette, from the delicate textures heard in Kaija Saariaho’s Lichtbogen to the strident melodies of Andrew Norman’s Try.
This season, we have taken great care to select venues well-suited to our projects and our size. To create an intimate and immersive experience, we looked for spaces just large enough to fit everyone: MATCH Gallery, Turrell Skyspace, Rothko Chapel. These are all unusual settings for a concert, and each came with its own set of logistical challenges, but the final product was well worth the extra effort. When so much of our repertoire aims for a visceral, emotional reaction from the listener, part of our task is to ensure that our sound and expression are enhanced by the venue. We want you to sit up close, we want you to feel what we feel, and we want to scare the wits out of you.