Called a “world-wide phenomenon” by Boston’s WBUR, A Far Cry has nurtured a distinct approach to music-making since its founding in 2007. The self-conducted orchestra is a democracy in which decisions are made collectively and leadership rotates among the players (“Criers”). This structure has led to consistently thoughtful, innovative, and unpredictable programming—and impactful collaborations with celebrated performers and composers. Over the past year, A Far Cry has risen to the top of Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart, been named Boston’s best classical ensemble by The Improper Bostonian, and celebrated two Grammy nominations for its Visions and Variations. Boston Musical Intelligencer sums up the group: “In its first decade, this conductor-free ensemble has earned and sustained a reputation for top-drawer playing, engrossing programming, and outstanding guest artists.”
A Far Cry’s omnivorous approach has led to collaborations with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Simone Dinnerstein, Roomful of Teeth, the Silk Road Ensemble, Vijay Iyer, and David Krakauer. A Far Cry’s 13th season in 2019–20 includes nine Boston-area concerts as part of the group’s own series, and a celebration of the conclusion of a 10-year residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with three concerts—the last a blowout/collaboration with Boston hip-hop luminary Moe Pope. The orchestra also tours its “Memory” program, with concerts at University of Colorado, Wake Forest University, and a debut performance at the Kennedy Center in March.
Recent tour highlights include two new commissioning projects: Philip Glass’ third piano concerto with soloist Simone Dinnerstein, and The Blue Hour, “a gorgeous and remarkably unified work” (Washington Post) written by a collaborative of five leading female composers—Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider—and featuring Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza.
A Far Cry’s Crier Records launched auspiciously in 2014 with the Grammy-nominated album Dreams and Prayers. The label’s second release, Law of Mosaics, was included on many 2014 Top 10 lists, notably from New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and WQXR’s Q2 Music, which named A Far Cry as one of the “Imagination-Grabbing, Trailblazing Artists of 2014.” In 2018, Crier Records released A Far Cry’s Visions and Variations, featuring variations by Britten and Prokofiev, and Ethan Wood’s re-imagining of Mozart’s “Ah vous-dirai-je Maman.” The album received two Grammy nominations, including one for Best Chamber Music Performance.
The 18 Criers are proud to call Boston home, and maintain strong roots in the city, rehearsing at their storefront music center in Jamaica Plain and fulfilling the role of Chamber-Orchestra-in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Collaborating with local students through educational partnerships with the New England Conservatory and Project STEP, A Far Cry aims to pass on the spirit of collaboratively-empowered music to the next generation.
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