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Lauded for providing “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for adventurous concertgoers,” Zeitgeist is a new music chamber ensemble comprised of two percussion, piano and woodwinds. One of the longest established new music groups in the country, Zeitgeist commissions and presents a wide variety of new music for audiences in the Twin Cities and on tour. Always eager to explore new artistic frontiers, Zeitgeist collaborates with poets, choreographers, directors, visual artists and sound artists of all types to create imaginative new work that challenges the boundaries of traditional chamber music. The members of Zeitgeist are: Heather Barringer, percussion; Patti Cudd, percussion; Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds; Nicola Melville, piano.

Zeitgeist has maintained a fierce dedication to the creation of new music for the past four decades, commissioning more than 400 works and collaborating with emerging composers and some of the finest established composers of our time, including Frederic Rzewski, Terry Riley, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Paul Dresher, Mark Applebaum, Arthur Kreiger, Scott Lindroth, Pamela Madsen, Edie Hill, Libby Larsen, John Luther Adams, Jin Hi Kim, Mary Ellen Childs, Martin Bresnick, Harold Budd, La Monte Young, Guy Klucevsek, and Chinary Ung. Zeitgeist’s upcoming commissioning projects include new works by Mary Ellen Childs, Davu Seru, Andrew Rindfleisch, and Pamela Z.

Further, Zeitgeist has earned an international reputation for superb craftsmanship, virtuosic performance, and an innovative approach to the presentation of contemporary music. Highlights include Sound Stage by Paul Dresher (2001), a music-theater work featuring Zeitgeist and a 17-foot high musical pendulum, Walker Art Center premieres of Pine Eyes by Martin Bresnick (2006) and The Making of Americans by Anthony Gatto and Jay Scheib (2008), a 30th anniversary celebration (2008) Glancing Back/Charging Forward: 30 Years of Groundbreaking Music featuring the world premieres of works by 30 Minnesota composers, For the Birds (2010), an evening-length chamber suite with narration by composer Victor Zupanc and humorist Kevin Kling, the premiere of Spiral XIV “Nimmitta” (2012) by Cambodian American composer Chinary Ung, and Saint Paul Food Opera (2016), a dining and music collaboration between composer Ben Houge and five Saint Paul chefs. 

Zeitgeist presents a full season of events for audiences in the Twin Cities. Highlights of the 2019-2020 season include Here and There, featuring Zeitgeist and No Exit New Music Ensemble (Cleveland); Zeitgeist Halloween Festival featuring newly commissioned work by Minnesota composers Asuka Kakitani, Queen Drea, and Nicholas Gaudette, plus performances by many other Twin Cities soloists and ensembles; The Blue in the Distance, a virtual reality experience by Scott Miller; Playing it Close to Home, featuring works by Randy Bauer plus winning compositions from our ever-popular Eric Stokes Song Contest; and Zeitgeist Early Music Festival, a four-day festival celebrating the music of Frederic Rzewski. 

Zeitgeist has released numerous recordings, including She is a Phantom (music of Harold Budd), A Decade (music of Frederic Rzewski), Intuitive Leaps (music of Terry Riley), Eric Stokes (music of Eric Stokes), If Tigers Were Clouds (music of experimental women composers), Shape Shifting (music by Scott Miller, poetry by Philippe Costaglioli), In Bone-Colored Light (works by Ethan Wickman, Anthony Gatto, Katherine Jackanich, and Jerome Kitzke), Night Singing (music of Andrew Rindfleisch), Here and Now (works by 30 Minnesota composers), Tipping Point (chamber works by Scott Miller), and For the Birds (music by Victor Zupanc, poetry by Kevin Kling).

Angles of Displacement from Angles of Repose by Ethan Wickman

Angles of Displacement from Angles of Repose by Ethan Wickman. Written for Zeitgeist and performed by Heather Barringer & Patti Cudd, percussion; Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds; and Shannon Wettstein, piano. Released on Zeitgeist’s innova Recordings CD “In Bone-Colored Light

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Excerpt from Pine Eyes by Martin Bresnick

This excerpt includes several movements of Pine Eyes by Martin Bresnick, a work for chamber music and narration written for Zeitgeist in 2008. It is performed here by Heather Barringer & Patti Cudd, percussion; Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds; Nikki Melville, piano; and Nicholas Nelson, narrator

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If Tigers Were Clouds by Eleanor Hovda

If Tigers Were Clouds was developed collaboratively with composer Eleanor Hovda in 1996. The work employs improvisation and extended techniques on each instrument.

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