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Ensemble Dal Niente

Chicago, IL            

Ensemble Dal Niente is a 22-member Chicago-based contemporary music collective that presents and performs new music in ways that redefine the listening experience and advance the art form. The programming, brought to life by a flexible repertoire-based instrumentation, seeks to challenge convention and create engaging, inspiring, and immersive experiences which connect audiences with the music of today. 

Described as “super-musicians” and noted for “bracing sonic adventures by some of the best new-music virtuous around” (Chicago Tribune), Dal Niente became the first-ever ensemble recipient of the Kranichstein Music Prize at the 2012 International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. 

The ensemble has commissioned or premiered more than 200 works in its history and has collaborated with visual artists and playwrights to create rich new experiences for audiences and people of diverse creative disciplines. Equally at home working with major international figures as with younger composers, recent collaborators include George Lewis, Greg Saunier, Marcos Balter, Chaya Czernowin, Augusta Read Thomas, Brian Ferneyhough, Kaija Saariaho, Bernard Rands, Hans Thomalla, Johannes Kreidler, Lee Hyla, Mark Andre, and Jay Alan Yim. Recent and upcoming performances include appearances at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC), Ravinia Festival (Illinois), Ecstatic Music Festival (New York),  Liquid Music Series (Minnesota), and the International Forum of New Music (Mexico City). Dal Niente’s education work has included residencies and workshops at K-12 schools in Chicago and recent university residencies at Northwestern, Harvard, Stanford, and Indiana.

The ensemble’s name, Dal Niente (“from nothing” in Italian), is a tribute to Helmut Lachenmann’s work for clarinet Dal niente (Interieur III), the courageously revolutionary style of which serves as an inspiration for its musicians.  The ensemble’s name also references its humble beginnings — founded in 2004 by a group of music students at various Chicago schools, the ensemble has risen from obscurity to a position as one North America’s significant contemporary music groups.