MusicNOW was founded in 2006 by Cincinnati born Bryce Dessner with the mission to present the best in contemporary music, offer artists an opportunity to take risks and commission new work. For the eleventh consecutive year, MusicNOW is proud to present a program of exciting music from some of the most adventurous artists working today while continuing the three-year old collaboration with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Louis Langrée. The weekend-long series will feature Punch Brothers, Sam Amidon, Luluc and Chris, as well as performances by Kronos Quartet, Musical America Artist of the Year Jenny Koh, and Composer-in-Residence and Pultizer Prize winner Julia Wolfe. The weekend will also include a special world premiere full orchestra version of Bryce Dessner’s Aheym, performed by the CSO and Kronos Quartet, as well as the U.S. premiere of Dessner’s Réponse Lutoslawski, performed by the CSO.
Each Note Secure said of the festival, “MusicNOW is a special event. It’s the best weekend of music you can experience. Each night, it’s not just another touring set from a band halfway through a 15-city trek. It’s not a musician playing the same set list they have dragged across the country for six months. No, MusicNOW is a unique experience. Amazing, unique, only here, only now. That right there could be a tagline for the festival.”
You can hear this happening on the recently released MusicNOW:10 Years compilation. And you can see it in the documentary video for compilation track "Love More" being newly released yesterday. "Love More" is a contemporary song written by Sharon Van Etten, but at MusicNOW it was performed by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir) with backing by Aaron & Bryce Dessner, Colin Stetson, and members of the yMusic Ensemble. The magic encapsulated by this first time collaboration would resonate through the player's activities in the years to follow. Colin and two yMusic members became a core part of the Bon Iver live band, which recorded 2011's self-titled album that won Bon Iver a Gramnmy for Best New Artist. Aaron would go on to produce Van Etten's 2012 breakout release Tramp. Aaron Dessner & Justin Vernon went on to launch Wisconsin’s Eaux Claires festival in 2015, inspired by the example of Cincinnati's MusicNOW. From a small festival in Ohio, a world of creativity germinates and grows.
As Dessner explains, "By keeping the festival small, using volunteers, creating a family vibe... we've built something of a refuge for creativity here. You can almost see the weight fall off the shoulders of some artists who may be expected to perform a certain way on the commercial circuit but who feel free to present radically different works here or allow work to develop organically in front of a live audience." This spirit of fostering intimacy and collaboration continues to drive the festival curation.
“The CSO’s partnership with MusicNOW is something that makes Cincinnati an extraordinary place for the arts,” said CSO Music Director Louis Langrée. “This free collaboration between artists and genres, offering various aspects of contemporary music, creates a vibrant atmosphere for artistic experimentation. It is an event truly at the heart of the CSO’s mission ‘to seek and share inspiration.’ By bringing works from Lutoslawski and Lindberg that have been heard by orchestral audiences, and performing them alongside brand-new works by Bryce and others, the hope is that everyone in the audience will hear something new and have their sensitivities reawakened.”
Through the years, MusicNOW has invited contemporary musicians and risk-taking artists who do not fit neatly into genre defined categories, and played host to sold out audiences experiencing contemporary chamber music, world premiere commissions, indie rock performances and visual art installations. Festival alumni include Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Glen Hansard and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Tinariwen, Robin Pecknold, St. Vincent, So Percussion, Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens, Toumani Diabate, Perfume Genius, and more.
The full 2016 Festival Schedule follows:
Friday, March 18th – Music Hall (on sale now)
Dessner: Ahyem (with CSO)
Anna Clyne: The Seamstress (with Jennifer Koh and CSO)
Julia Wolfe: My Beautiful Scream (with Kronos Quartet and CSO)
Chris Thile (solo)
Saturday, March 19th – Music Hall (on sale now)
Lutoslawski: Musique Funèbre (with CSO)
Dessner: Réponse Lutoslawski (with CSO)
Terry Riley: The Sands (with Kronos Quartet and CSO)
Magnus Lindberg: Feria (with CSO)
Sunday, March 20th – Cincinnati Masonic Center Auditorium (on sale Jan. 29th at Noon EST)
Tickets for March 18th & 19th can be found here
Two day passes for Music Hall shows are also available for $80-$100
Tickets for March 20th can be found here
General Admission tickets are available for $30