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International Contemporary Ensemble

New York, NY         

ICE is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced.
With a flexible roster of 33 leading instrumentalists performing in forces ranging from solos to large ensembles, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) functions as performer, presenter, and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and pursuing groundbreaking strategies for audience engagement. In an era of radical change, ICE redefines concert music as it brings together new work and new listeners.
Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered over 650 compositions, the majority by emerging composers, in venues ranging from New York’s Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to galleries, bars, clubs, and schools around the world. ICE has released acclaimed albums on the Bridge, Naxos, Tzadik, New Focus, Nonesuch, Kairos and Mode labels, and recently launched its own in-house, artist-curated TUNDRA label.
With lead support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ICE launched ICElab in 2011. ICElab places teams of ICE musicians in close collaboration with six emerging composers each year to develop works that push the boundaries of musical exploration. ICElab projects are featured in more than twenty performances each season and documented online through digitICE, ICE’s free digital media library.
ICE’s commitment to build a diverse, engaged audience for the music of our time has inspired The Listening Room, a new educational initiative targeting underserved public schools. Using team-based composition and graphic notation, ICE musicians lead students in the creation of new musical works, nurturing collaborative creative skills and building an appreciation for musical experimentation.

Introduction to ICE

Recent highlights include multi-year residencies with the Mostly Mozart Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; eight world premieres in a three-concert ICElab showcase in Mostly Mozart 2013; the premiere of “the whisper opera” by David Lang, with whom ICE will be re-uniting at Carnegie Hall to mentor young composers and ensembles through performances of new commissions; a performance with the Face the Music alt-classical teen ensemble broadcast on WNYC; and coast-to-coast touring in the US and to Japan, Brazil and Europe.

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Marcos Balter – AEsopica (2011)

“The restless young virtuosos known as ICE are worth hearing no matter what they undertake. Here, continuing their innovative ICElab series, they perform ‘Aesopica,’ a brash, whimsical song cycle by Marcos Balter based on Aesop’s fables; Peter Tantsits, a tenor both skillful and brave, serves as the narrator and soloist.” The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)

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ICElab Presents Carla Kihlstedt at the Baryshnikov Arts Center

At the culmination of each ICElab incubation residency, ICE performs selections from the music created over the course of the week, and the composer and musicians provide spoken introductions for the audience. Not shown are the lively conversations between composer, musicians and audience afterwards! For ICE, audience members are collaborators in the commissioning process, and these free work-in-progress showings are at the heart of opening up the process of creating and performing new music for the benefit of all.

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