John Aylward | Artistic Director
John Aylward | Director/Composer/Piano
John Aylward is a composer, performer and Ecce’s Artistic Director. His music has been praised for its “brilliant energetic rhythmic figures…imaginative sonorities and harmonies that always move, always inflect” and its “zones of suspended motion and otherworldly calm” (American Academy of Arts and Letters). Aylward’s music is frequently performed within the U.S and abroad by numerous leading ensembles and soloists.
Aylward has been awarded fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Koussevitzky Foundation at the the Library of Congress, the Fulbright Foundation (to Germany) and First Prize from the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) and many other awards and honors. He has also been awarded fellowships and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Tanglewood, the Aspen Music School, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. John is Associate Professor of Music Composition at Clark University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is published by Composers Edition and is also an Affiliate Composer at Poco Forte music.
Jean-Philippe Wurtz, Conductor. Music Director | Etchings Festival
Over the span of his career, Jean-Philippe Wurts has conducted Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Linea, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Ensemble Plural, Ensemble Smash, Ensemble Accroche Note, Orchestre National des Pays de Loire, Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, and many others.
His commitment to teaching music has led to regular collaborations with the music schools (Musikhochschulen) of Bremen, Essen, Karlsruhe, in Germany, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse (National Conservatory of Music and Dance) in Paris, the Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin, the Strasbourg conservatory and the Eötvös Foundation in Hungary.
As a conductor he has performed many premieres, among them pieces by Klaus Huber, Péter Eötvös, Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Jarrell, Wolfgang Rihm, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Unsuk Chin, Raphaël Cendo, Francesco Filidei, Alberto Posadas, Mark André, Frédéric Durieux, etc.
In September 2015 he was appointed artistic director of the Voix Nouvelles program at the Royaumont Foundation.
One of the most sought after contemporary violinists in today’s dynamic atmosphere of composers, creators, and improvisors, Jennifer Choi is involved in engaging musical projects and is a pioneer in performances that stretch the limits of conventional violin.
She has premiered numerous solo and chamber works to critical acclaim by the likes of John Zorn, Randall Woolf, Elliott Sharp, and most recently in concertos by Wadada Leo Smith, Orlando Garcia, and Daniel Felsenfeld.
As a collaborator, Jennifer has been a member of the Either/Or Ensemble since 2007, when the premiere performances of composers like Helmut Lachenmann, Keeril Makan, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir were given, and frequently performs in Anti-Depressant duo with pianist Kathleen Supové, performing challenging and accessible works by American composers. In the 2011-2012 season, she toured with the string quartet ETHEL, and in previous seasons played and recorded with the Sirius Quartet, Fireworks Ensemble, and Classical Jam at venues like Barge Music, Caramoor, Strathmore, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Roulette, LPR, and the Stone.
Jennifer’s debut solo album, Violectrica - works for violin and electronics, was featured on WQXR, as well as her latest album on the New Focus label, African Math, with works by Martin Scherzinger. She can be heard on over a dozen albums on TZADIK, and in Target, featuring works by Keeril Makan on the Starkland label.
In 2000, the same year that she gave her debut recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Jennifer began improvising professionally, and subsequently toured some of the world’s largest jazz festivals as violinist of the Susie Ibarra Trio. She also performed with Vijay Iyer, Ikue Mori, Erik Friedlander, Craig Taborn, and the late Derek Bailey, among others.
Ashleigh Gordon | viola
John Popham | cello
Cellist John Popham is a chamber musician and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. His playing has been described as “brilliant” and “virtuosic” (Kronen Zeitung), “warm but variegated”, and “finely polished” (The New York Times).
Currently a member of Either/Or Ensemble and LONGLEASH, Mr. Popham has performed internationally with groups including Klangforum Wien, Talea Ensemble, and the Argento Chamber Ensemble. He has appeared as soloist with the Louisville Orchestra, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, the Red Light Ensemble, and the Kunstuniversität Graz Chorus.
Recent festival appearances include Brücken (Austria), Open Musik (Austria), IMPULS (Austria), the Vermont Mozart Festival, USINESONORE (Switzerland), Bay Chamber (Maine), the Contemporary Classical Music Festival (Peru), Lucerne Festival, and Klangspuren (Austria).
Dedicated to new music performance, Mr. Popham has worked with composers including Pierre Boulez, Tristan Murail, Steve Reich, Nils Vigeland, and Reiko Füting. The recipient of a Fulbright research grant, Mr. Popham spent the 2013/2014 academic year in Austria, where he studied the performance practice of Klangforum Wien and worked with leading figures in contemporary Austrian music: Beat Furrer, Georg Friedrich Haas, Klaus Lang, and Pierluigi Billone.
Mr. Popham is currently cello faculty of the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. He received his BM and MM from the Manhattan School of Music where he was a student of David Geber and David Soyer and was awarded the Manhattan School of Music Full Scholarship. He has recorded for Tzadik, Carrier, New Focus, Albany, and Arte Nova records.
Hassan Anderson | oboe, special programs coordinator
A multitalented artist, American oboist Hassan Anderson is a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher noted for his clarity of tone, range of colors and energetic stage presence. A popular collaborator, amongst his numerous guest appearances with distinguished ensembles are performances with the American Ballet Theater, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Ecce Ensemble, Harlem Chamber Players and the Juilliard Orchestra.
Mr. Anderson has recorded an album of works by various artists including Schumann, Gershwin, Avner Dorman (world premiere) and Jonathan Keren (world premiere) with SHUFFLE Concert (in house label, October 2013). He is also featured on “Unremembered”, a song cycle by Sarah Kirkland Snider (New Amsterdam Records, September 2015). With SHUFFLE Concert, he can next be heard on their upcoming CD to be released in 2016-17, which will include the commissioned world premiere of Piotr Szewczyk’s Twisted Dances for Oboe, Violin, Cello and Piano.
Equally adept in the classical and jazz genres, and dedicated to the next generation of musicians, Mr. Anderson regularly schedules teaching opportunities around his performances. He has served as a teaching artist for Carnegie Hall and The Little Orchestra Society in New York City, and Jazz House Kids, the only community arts organization in New Jersey exclusively dedicated to educating children through jazz. Currently, Mr. Anderson serves on the faculty of the renowned Juilliard School Music Advancement Program, and as Assistant conductor New Jersey City University Orchestra, a post he has held since 2014.
Roberta Michel | flute
Brooklyn-based flutist Roberta Michel is dedicated to the music of our time. Praising her “extreme adventurousness,” New York Concert Review said she “riveted with her performance, inspiring one to want a repeated hearing.” A founding member of Duo RoMi and Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Michel has also performed with: Ecce Ensemble, Portland String Quartet, Newspeak, SEM Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, Argento, Iktus, Wordless Music Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble LPR, and Cygnus Ensemble among others. Recent venues include: Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tulley Hall, Merkin Hall, The Kennedy Center, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She can be heard on New Dynamic, Innova, Tzadik, and Meta Records. Michel has commissioned and premiered hundreds of new works and has worked with many notable composers of our day.
Julia Den Boer | piano
French-American pianist Julia Den Boer is a strong advocate of contemporary music. Based in New York city, she performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician and has commissioned and premiered numerous works. She is committed to exploring and pushing her instrument’s boundaries through close collaboration with composers and has had the opportunity to work with some of the most prominent composers of our time such as Heinz Holliger, Philippe Leroux, Martin Matalon and Kaija Saariaho.
Julia is a recipient of the Solti Foundation award, was awarded the Prix Mention Speciale Maurice Ohana at the 2012 International Orleans Competition, and won the ninth annual Mikhashoff Trust Fund for New Music Pianist/Composer Commissioning Project with composer Zosha Di Castri. She is part of Kylwyria, a New-York based horn, violin and piano trio dedicated to commissioning new repertoire for their unique instrumentation.
Recent and upcoming performances include solo and ensemble performances at the Festival d'Automne in Paris, Unerhörte Musik in Berlin, the Tectonics Festival in Glasgow, the CMC in Toronto, the Banff Center, Miller Theater (NYC), the North Carolina New Music Initiative, the SWR in Freiburg, New Music Concerts in Toronto, the MATA Festival, the International Computer Music Conference, the Klangspuren Festival in Austria, and Manifeste at IRCAM.
Julia is a native of Lyon, France. She holds a Bachelor of Music from McGill University where she studied with Sara Laimon and holds a Master and Doctorate of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook University where she studied under the mentorship of Gilbert Kalish.
Mike Truesdell | percussion
Most percussionists choose one of two avenues into the life of a percussionist: through drum set or piano. Mike Truesdell picked the second…kind of. Starting his musical career on a Cracker Jack box with a ruler taped to it, Mike mastered the art of holding this box under his chin until he graduated to a violin so small that could double as a Christmas ornament. Everything went well for him until he was required to add vibrato to a note. Then, after promptly discontinuing the violin, he started piano lessons with the irreplaceable Vicki Jenks, who fostered him in both piano and percussion until he was ready to leave the nest.
Upon leaving the nest, he settled in at Lawrence University under the wing of Dane Richeson, a master in the art of…encouragement. By encouraging travel, Dane inspired Mike to study abroad in Amsterdam with Peter Prommel and members of the Concertgebouw. Then, upon graduation, Mike set off to Lucerne, Switzerland to work with Pierre Boulez and the members of Ensemble Intercontemporain. In a rare moment of reflection, Mike was proud that his musical tastes had grown from “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” to Boulez.
Lawrence took a lot out of Mike…in a good way… but still he felt that grad school had to wait. So it did. In his two years in between schools, he started up the Savanna Oaks Percussion Ensemble (SOPE, for short), which turned out to be among the most rewarding experiences of his life, but because at first he really didn’t care for middle schoolers (especially in large groups), it took a bit to get used to it. He learned to love ‘em, though, and they had a fabulous two years of playing at the airport, teachers’ meetings, lunches, and going to Red Robin.
Also in that time, Mike teamed up with two of his great friends, Dane Crozier and John Doing and formed Spectrum Trio, the self-proclaimed “greatest group of all time.” They were even the #1 album sales at PASIC in 2009!
Then, Mike decided to get on with the whole school thing and went to Juilliard, where he studied with Dan Druckman, Gordon Gottlieb, Markus Rhoten and Greg Zuber. He even knew some folks from Lawrence U who were also starting up there! For all the hype, it was a great place to go to school with some amazing opportunities. He worked with world-class performers, conductors, and composers and met some close friends who he still plays with today!
After getting a Masters degree, Mike had a momentary lapse of concentration and decided to go back to school again, though this time for 5 years, to somehow grasp that illusive DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts). He finished up with that degree, also at Juilliard, in May of 2016. After a summer of fun in the sun of Ojai, California, Mike started up as Assistant Professor of Percussion at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. And this is where he is sitting while he writes this bio.
Lots of people give a bad rap to companies and endorsements, but we would have a tough time in the music world without them. Share the love, hug a percussion company today. Huge shout-outs to Marimba One, Zildjian, and Black Swamp Percussion!
If you didn’t know where you were…more info about Mike can be found at www.miketruesdell.com
Laine Rettmer | Video Artist, Director
Laine Rettmer | Video Artist, Director
Laine Rettmer is a video artist and opera director whose work explores performance, gender, and methods of social control. Her work has been shown at The Clay Arts Center (2018), the Museum of Fine Art (2017), the Boston Independent Film Festival (2017), FPAC (2017), Manifesta (2016), Yuan Art Museum (2016), Yve Yang Gallery (2016), Perkins and Ping (2016), Present Company (2015), NADA NY, NADA Presents, (2014). For the past four years she was the resident stage director for the New York based company LoftOpera, with whom her Macbeth last December received a Freddie Award for best new production, and her Barber of Seville was named one of the top 10 classical music productions of 2014 by the New York Times. She has also worked extensively on new opera with companies such as New York City Opera, Ecce Ensemble, Guerrilla Opera, Rhymes with Opera, and Fresh Squeezed Opera. Recent awards received include a MAP Fund grant for a collaborative opera, Standby Snow: Chronicle of a Heat Wave, a Fellowship from the Center for Arts Design and Social Research, a Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, an Art School Alliance Fellowship from HFBK Hamburg and a residency at Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts in Iceland. Rettmer is currently a Residential Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and teaching at Northeastern University. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.
Colin Gee | Movement Artist
Born in California and trained as an actor at the Dell’ Arte School of Physical Theater (1991-1992) and the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris (1994 – 1996), Colin Gee was the founding Whitney Live artist-in-residence at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the 2009 visiting artist-in-residence at the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine. He performed as a clown in the Cirque du Soleil production Dralion (2001-’04), and has created works for film, performance and opera since 2002.
Works in 2014 include concert/opera Mouthpiece XX (story, direction, and performance, composed by and performed with Erin Gee) with Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, at Vienna Konzerthaus; and Mouthpiece VI+I, (composed by Erin Gee) performed with Fonema consort in Chicago. Also in 2014 he delivered the Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
In 2011 Gee was awarded a Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome for Frontier, a solo theatrical opera. Previous residencies for Frontier include NYU / Gallatin, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, New York Theater Workshop, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and the Whitney Museum. Workshop showings of Frontier have taken place at New York Theatre Workshop, Watermill Center, and LaGuardia Performing Arts Center.
In 2013 In the first place…, an EMPAC Dance Movies Commission was installed at EMPAC, and the video series I, who am the chorus, was produced by Wayne Ashley’s FuturePerfect. Two Satires (2012), a musical character study composed by Martin Brody, was performed in March with the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic at the American Academy in Rome.
The Fabulist (2011), an evening-length work on the Fables of Jean de la Fontaine was commissioned by, and premiered at, the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York. It was also included in the Kids Euro festival, produced by the French Embassy in Washington DC, also in November 2011.
In 2010, a dance collaboration with Judith Sanchez Ruiz, Blind Studies, premiered at Danspace Project, in New York. The video series I felt I’d been here before (2010), was commissioned and presented by Belfast Exposed Photographic Archive, in Belfast. A series of eight video works entitled History Plays (2010 – ongoing), responded to works of visual art held in the collection of the Whitney Museum. These works were presented by Whitney Live.
Frequently collaborating with sibling/composer Erin Gee, he provided the libretto for her opera SLEEP(2009), which premiered at the Zurich Opera House. In November of 2009, the concert/opera Mouthpiece XII, Mathilde of Loci, Part I, with libretto, performance, filmmaking, and direction by Colin Gee, composed by Erin Gee, was presented by the American Composer’s Orchestra at Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall.
Also in 2010, the video work Untitled (lightwell) was featured in the Contemporary Performance P4V Video Festival, and Portrait and Landscape was presented at Cornell University as part of the film festival, The Shifting Face: Portraiture and the Art of the Moving Image. A live performance, The Band (2010), that responded to and was performed on Martin Kersels’ sculptural installation 5 Songs, was featured in the Whitney Biennial.
Also in 2009, an essay on performance entitled Firespots was published in the Austrian art journal, kursiv, and a series of 10 video works, Studies for “Marley,” created with Angie Smalis in Limerick, Ireland, were presented through the Whitney Live residency. A video work Nested (2009), responding to Louise Bourgeouis’s The Nest, was commissioned by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The first works in the video/dance series, Portrait and Landscape (2006 – current), premiered in New York at Dance Theater Workshop in 2006. Recent works from the series include, untitled, stairwell (2009), untitled, lightwell (2009), untitled, conference room 1 and 2 (2009), Limerick Station (2009), untitled, café 1 and 2 (2009), exterior, house (2009), exterior, park (2009), and exterior, garden (2009). A second series included Hotel Lobby (2009), Field (2009), Hospitality (2009), and Market (2009). Cathedral Project (2009), a third series, comprised of 12 short films, was created in residence at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. These works premiered at the Whitney Museum through the ARTPORT and Whitney Live divisions.Studies for Portrait and Landscape (2009), was conducted as a residency at chashama, in New York.
Objective Suspense (2008), an object-theater work, was commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art and performed there by Gee over 500 times, as part of the exhibition “Alexander Calder: the Paris Years.” A series of three lectures entitled Line Takes Flight, were conducted in association with the performance.
Film/performance work Across The Road (2009) received a NYSCA Individual Artist Commissioning Award and was created through a four-week residency at Daghdha Dance Company in Limerick, Ireland, and a residency at The Chocolate Factory Theater in New York, where it premiered. An adaptation of Across The Road was produced as The Chestnut (2009), written, directed and set designed by Gee, with Limerick Youth Theatre, in Limerick Ireland.
Two screenplays, Across the Road (2007) and Lady Heard Voices (2007), were Official Selections for the Bare Bones International Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and a short film, Stardust (2007), premiered at the 2007 Brooklyn Arts Council film festival, September 11th, Remembered in Film. Other original film projects written and created by Gee include the short Hotel (2003), and Lady Heard Voices (2004), a Swedish production featuring Irene Hultman.