The CCCC’s resident Grossman Ensemble is a supergroup of 13 contemporary music specialists,exclusively performing new works from leading and emerging composers. The ensemble engages in a unique, creative workshopping process focusing on interaction between composers, musicians, and conductors for three months leading up to the performance.
The ensemble workshops and performs 12 world premiere works by commissioned guest composers, University of Chicago faculty, and students each season. The ensemble has performed works by Shulamit Ran, David Rakowski, Carlos Sanchez-Guiterrez, Chen Yi, Steve Lehman, Kate Soper, David Dzubay, and more.
On Friday, August 21, 2020, the Grossman Ensemble releases its debut album, Fountain of Time, on its own imprint, CCCC Records. Read more and preview the album.
Members of the Grossman Ensemble:
Tim Munro, flute Greg Beyer, percussion
Ben Melsky, harp John Corkill, percussion
Andrew Nogal, oboe Spektral Quartet
Daniel Pesca, piano Clara Lyon, violin
Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh, clarinet Maeve Feinberg, violin
Taimur Sullivan, saxophone Doyle Armbrust, viola
Matthew Oliphant, horn Russell Rolen, cello
The Grossman Ensemble is co-directed by Sam Pluta and Augusta Read Thomas.
The Grossman Ensemble is made possible by generous support from the Sanford J. Grossman Charitable Trust.
Tim Munro is a Chicago-based, triple-Grammy-winning musician. His diverse work as a flutist, speaker, writer and teacher is united by a single goal: to draw audiences into an engrossing and whimsical musical world.
Born in Brisbane, Australia, Tim was the flutist and co-artistic director of the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird from 2006 till 2015. As a member of eighth blackbird, Tim performed at major concert venues in 40 US states and abroad, worked as soloist with America’s finest orchestras, curated three music festivals, and premiered more than 100 new works, including Steve Reich’s “Double Sextet” (Pulitzer Prize winner, 2009). Tim won his third Grammy Award as a member of eighth blackbird in 2016, for the Cedille Records album “Filament.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, “the fierce virtuosity of Tim Munro was worth the price of admission all by itself.” Tim’s solo performances are “captivating”, “bravura”, “charismatic” (The New York Times), “engrossing” (Chicago Tribune) and “brilliantly clear and beautifully balanced” (Sydney Morning Herald). Tim memorizes his solo repertoire, leaving him free to add a theatrical dimension to his shows.
Oboist Andrew Nogal is an acclaimed orchestral performer, chamber musician, and interpreter of contemporary music.
A longtime member of Chicago’s Ensemble Dal Niente, he has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the CSO MusicNOWEnsemble, Talea Ensemble, Nunc, and Alarm Will Sound. His festival appearances include Ojai, Astoria, Peninsula, Great Lakes Chamber Music, June in Buffalo, Ravinia, and the NY PHIL Biennial. Internationally, he performed at the International Double Reed Society 2015 conference in Tokyo and the College Music Society 2017 conference in Sydney. For three summers, he performed under the direction of Pierre Boulez at the Lucerne Festival Academy. Nogal was awarded first prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition 2011 and received the Kranichstein Music Prize at the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music 2012.
Also a dedicated educator, Nogal has taught at Loyola University Chicago and the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. He has led master classes at the University of Oregon, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Williams College, and The Banff Centre. Nogal studied at Northwestern University, where he earned bachelors degrees in Music Performance and Art History as well as a masters degree in Music Performance.
Katherine Schoepﬂin Jimoh is a Chicago based clarinetist, vocalist, pianist and composer. She is currently a member of Ensemble Dal Niente, University of Chicago’s Grossman Ensemble, and the faculty ensemble at The Walden School. Katherine is the singer, songwriter and pianist for her band Katet. Katherine has had the privilege of working with and performing the works of Hans Abrahamsen, Louis Andriessen, Raphael Cendo, Brian Ferneyhough, Lee Hyla, George Lewis, Enno Poppe and Augusta Read Thomas. Highlights in Katherine’s career include performing Enno Poppe’s clarinet concerto, Holz, sitting principal clarinetist of the Kakogawa Philharmonic Orchestra in Hyogo prefecture, touring with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, being a participant at The Henry Mancini Institute in LA, and receiving an Essentially Ellington jazz soloist award for the clarinet. Katherine earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University where she won the IU clarinet concerto competition and was awarded a Performer’s Certiﬁcate. She earned her Master of Music degree from McGill University where she was awarded a full Schulich School of Music scholarship.
Taimur Sullivan is Associate Professor of Saxophone at Northwestern University, and a member of the acclaimed PRISM Quartet. His performances have taken him from the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Knitting Factory, to concerto engagements with the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and St. Petersburg Symphony of Russia. He has garnered critical praise as "outstanding...his melodies phrased as if this were an old and cherished classic, his virtuosity supreme" (New York Times), and as a player of "dazzling proficiency" (American Record Guide). Mr. Sullivan has dedicated much of his career to commissioning new repertoire for the saxophone, and has given the world premieres of over 200 solo and chamber works spanning classical, jazz, electronic, and world music collaborations. In honor of Mr. Sullivan’s distinguished record of promoting and presenting new works for the saxophone, Meet The Composer named him one of eight "Soloist Champions" in the United States. Prior to arriving at Northwestern University, Mr. Sullivan served on the performance faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Columbia University. He appears on over 30 recordings, and performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces.
Hornist Matthew Oliphant is a new music and chamber music specialist living in Chicago, IL. Oliphant is fast becoming known as an adventurous and courageous young player. As solo hornist with new music group Ensemble Dal Niente, he performs the music of our time by established and emerging composers, as well as classics of the new music repertoire.
In demand as a freelance chamber musician, he has performed with Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Access Contemporary Music, Present Music, the New Millennium Woodwind Quintet, and on the Rush Hour concert series. Also an orchestra player he regularly plays with the Lyric Opera (Chicago), the Milwaukee Symphony, and has served as guest principal horn of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra Prometheus.
As a member of Axiom Brass from 2007-2014, he traveled the country performing for and engaging with audiences through music. Far from being constrained by the classical tradition, he regularly performs with experimental ensemble a.pe.ri.od.ic, performed as a member of the free jazz/classical/improv hybrid ensemble the Tomorrow Music Orchestra.
Fulbright Scholar, composer, educator, and “prodigiously talented percussionist” (Chicago Classical Review), Gregory Beyer is a contemporary music specialist who blends the disciplines of orchestral, jazz, and world music into a singular artistic voice. He is the Artistic Director of Arcomusical, a non-profit organization advocating the awareness and artistic advancement of the Afro-Brazilian berimbau and related musical bows. Arcomusical released its first album, MeiaMeia, in 2016, and has subsequently appeared on WNYC, WBEZ, and NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. Arcomusical is a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant recipient.
Beyer is Director of Percussion Studies at Northern Illinois University, where he directs the New Music, Percussion, and Latin Jazz Ensembles. He is a core member of the Chicago-based new music ensemble, Dal Niente. Beyer spent the 2015-2016 year in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, teaching at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, and training capoeira Angola with Mestra Alcione Oliveira of the Capoeira Angola Dobrada Association. Work with a group of musicians on musical bow studies, he gradually formed Arcomusical Brasil, a sister ensemble to Projeto Arcomusical and part of the Arcomusical organization. Beyer traveled with this ensemble to South Africa to perform at the international Bow Music Conference.
Percussionist John Corkill, is currently serving on faculty at the University of Chicago, Loyola University, and the Merit School of Music. As a chamber musician, John has played with groups such as Third Coast Percussion, Eighth Blackbird, Ensemble Dal Niente, and the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble. Similarly, he has held residencies at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Yellow Barn Festivals. He has also garnered awards at the Yale Chamber Music Competition and the Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble Competition. In the realm of orchestral percussion, John has performed with ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony, Elgin Symphony, and NOVUS Orchestra. He has also had the privilege of working with many of today’s leading orchestral conductors and composers such Marin Alsop, Peter Oundjian, Reinbert de Leeuw, Matthias Pintscher, Aaron Jay Kernis, Augusta Reed Thomas, David Lang, Oliver Knussen, and Krzysztof Penderecki. John received his Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University where he graduated cum laude and Master of Music Degree from the Yale University School of Music. His teachers include Robert van Sice, Michael Burritt, and James Ross.
Dedicated to connecting audiences to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Chicago-based Ben Melsky is Executive Director and harpist of the internationally-acclaimed Ensemble Dal Niente. In close collaboration with composers and performers he encourages the creation of new work to break pre-conceived notions of the harp’s capabilities, activating new techniques, sounds, and performance practices.
Dedicated to connecting audiences to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Chicago-based Ben Melsky is Executive Director and harpist of the internationally-acclaimed Ensemble Dal Niente. In close collaboration with composers and performers he encourages the creation of new work to break pre-conceived notions of the harp’s capabilities, activating new techniques, sounds, and performance practices. Ben’s concert activities include national and international appearances in solo and chamber ensemble configurations. Most recently he has performed at the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), the Ecstatic Music Festival at the Kaufmann Center (NYC), Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music (Germany), and Art Institute of Chicago with upcoming engagements at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Festival Noon to Midnight, Stanford University, New Music New College, University of California Davis, and the Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva (Mexico City, MX).
Ben received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Northwestern University where he studied with Elizabeth Cifani and also where he received both BM and MM. He was a student participant in the 2016 Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music where he worked with harpist Gunnhilder Einarsdottir.
Daniel Pesca, pianist and composer, is both a passionate advocate for new music and a committed performer of the chamber music repertoire. He has shared the stage with many leading new music ensembles, including Ensemble Signal, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. He has recently performed at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, on the Dame Myra Hess concerts in Chicago, at June in Buffalo, and at festivals devoted to contemporary music in Spain, Italy, Greece, and Vermont. Among his concerto credits are a performance of the Carter Double Concerto at Zankel Hall, and solo appearances with the Orchestra of the League of Composers, the Slee Sinfonietta, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Oberlin Sinfonietta. Daniel is featured on CDs from Centaur Records, Block M Records, and Urtext Classics. He holds a doctorate from Eastman, where he led a class on contemporary keyboard music and studied piano with Nelita True. He has held teaching positions at Ithaca College, Syracuse University, and Northeastern Illinois University. He is director of the University of Chicago Chamber Music Program, and is a lecturer and artist-in-residence in the Department of Music.
Clara Lyon, violin
Maeve Feinberg, violin
Doyle Armbrust, viola
Russell Rolen, cello
Spektral Quartet actively pursues a vivid conversation between exhilarating works of the traditional canon and those written this decade, this year, or this week. With the New York Times writing that “they have everything: a supreme technical command that seems to come easily, a capacity to make complicated music clear, and, most notably...an ability to cast a magic spell”, Spektral is known for creating seamless connections across centuries, drawing in the listener with charismatic deliveries, interactive concert formats, an up-close atmosphere, and bold, inquisitive programming.
Nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY award, Spektral Quartet appears on the Sono Luminus, Azica Records, Nimbus Records, and Parlour Tapes+ labels, and is set to release a new album with saxophonist and MacArthur fellow Miguel Zenón in the summer of 2018. Recent residencies include Stanford University, New World Symphony, and Northwestern University, and the quartet is proud to serve as Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Chicago’s Department of Music. Dubbed “The city’s hottest string quartet” by the Chicago Tribune, Spektral Quartet is committed to championing the work of Chicago composers around the world, and reaching new audiences within the city limits through its new partnership with Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation.