Ensemble Signal

Spring 2016

Ensemble Signal, described by the New York Times as “one of the most vital groups of its kind,” is a NY-based ensemble dedicated to offering the broadest possible audience access to a diverse range of contemporary works.

Ensemble Signal open rehearsal. Performers are blindfolded to prepare for Performance in the Dark.

Signal’s passion for the diverse range of music being written today is a driving force behind their fearlessly adventurous projects. Signal is flexible in size and instrumentation - everything from solo to large contemporary ensemble in any possible combination - enabling it to meet the ever-changing demands on the 21st century performing ensemble. Signal has been particularly noted for engaging the public in the unique communal experience of hearing rarely performed works extremely up close.  Since its debut in 2008, the Ensemble has performed over 100 concerts, has given the NY, world, or US premieres of over 20 works, and co-produced five recordings. 

Doug Perkins shows Lauren Radnofsky how a percussionist plays cello at the Community Concert on 5/1/16

During Spring 2016, Ensemble Signal undertook an ambitious residency comprised of two non-consecutive weeks of performances, workshops, masterclasses, and other interactions with UB students and faculty. During their first week in residence, Feb. 8-12, Ensemble Signal provied a leadership talk, The Entrepreneurial Artist, where UB students learned how Ensemble Signal got started and got first-hand advice about how to become a professional artist. Additionally, they held an open rehearsal and a master class for UB music students.

The first week of residency culminated in a concert on February 12thPerformance in the Dark. The concert started with Steve Reich's Drumming: Part 1, performed by Doug Perkins of Signal along with Prof. Tom Kolor and students Stephen Lattimore and John Smigielski. Ensemble Signal then performed Georg Friedrich Haas's String Quartet no.3–entirely from memory in total darkness. It was a musical experience like no other and had to be experienced to be believed!

Ensemble Signal performs In C with students from Buffalo String Works.

The second week of residency, May 1-5, was even more ambitious than the first. Ensemble Signal undertook 20 performances in 5 days, including a series of 15 "pop-up concerts" around UB North Campus on May 2nd (think traveling minstrels), and a collaborative workshop performance of Terry Riley’s In C in the Student Union Lobby with UB students performing alongside Ensemble Signal (think "flash orchestra").  Many UB music students participated, and many more enjoyed the performance of this minimalist masterpiece.

Courtney Orlando and Yuki Numata Resnik perform music by Bach, Bartok, and others for the residents of Fox Run at Orchard Park, 5/1/16

The second residency week also included three community concerts, one for the retirees at Fox Run in Orchard Park (May 1) and two for the west side community (May 1 and May 4) , co-sponsored by Buffalo String Works, a non-profit, after-school music program which serves refugee and immigrant families in Buffalo. The May 4th event was an interactive performance by Ensemble Signal with the students of Buffalo String Works.

The capstone to Ensembles Signal’s residency was a large-scale concert celebrating the music of Steve Reich on May 5th in the Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on UB's North Campus.

CAI Pilot Projects

The Creative Arts Initiative will present a few pilot projects in 2015-16 while artist proposals for 2016-17 are being submitted and reviewed. These projects were suggested by CAI Co-Directors and partners in the Buffalo Arts Community.