Metropolis Ensemble is a dynamically evolving 21st century orchestra. Dedicated to creating a future for classical music that is of and for the time we live in, Metropolis Ensemble’s driving force is its founder and artistic director, Andrew Cyr, a Grammy Award-nominated orchestra conductor.
An agile, evolving collective of composers and performers, Metropolis Ensemble has won national and international recognition for its seven studio recordings, in collaboration with artists as wide-ranging as Questlove, Avi Avital, Wye Oak, Emily Wells, Timo Andres, Kristin Lee, and Conor Hanick, including winning Canada’s prestigious Juno Award for Best Classical Composition in 2013 for Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto. Metropolis Ensemble received its first Classical Nomination Grammy Award for Avner Dorman’s Mandolin Concerto.
For over a decade Metropolis has served as an incubator for today’s most outstanding emerging composers and performers to present bold new work. Commissioning over 150 works of music from a dynamic mix of rising-star composers, Metropolis Ensemble collaborations have been presented by Hollywood Bowl, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, The Met Museum, Creative Time, Lincoln Center “Out of Doors” and “American Songbook” series, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, (Le) Poisson Rouge, The Wordless Music Series, The Public Theater, Ecstatic Music, The Phillips Collection, and Sounds from a Safe Harbour.
In 2013, Metropolis made its Off-Broadway debut with a new children’s opera by David Bruce at New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street, produced in collaboration with The Royal Opera House of London II and The Opera Group. Through these performances Metropolis has garnered a reputation for presenting “new music played with the same kind of panache and bravura we usually experience only in performances of standard repertoire” (Esa-Pekka Salonen).
Metropolis Ensemble is a dynamically evolving 21st Century Orchestra. We are creating a future for classical music that is of and for the time we live in.
Metropolis Ensemble is rooted in the conception of music as a living art-form: continuously renewed, new works by emerging composers provide the focal point of each concert and project.
By closely working with young composers whose backgrounds and points of inspiration come from diverse musical spheres - pop, electronica, jazz, world, rock, classical, modern and folk - each concert promises to display a kaleidoscopic sense of intertwined musical collaboration between artists and genres present and past. While every show’s concept and venue are different and most of our music is new, what doesn’t change are the principles that guide us. These are:
Empowerment. We create exceptional opportunities for talented young people.
Exploration. We develop new artistic voices, audiences, venues and expressions, in a deep spirit of openness and collaboration. At every event we lead the audience, the community and indeed ourselves on a journey of new experience.
Celebration. We celebrate inspiration, invitation and engagement, every day.
Discovery. Vibrant young artists working in an atmosphere of exploration and invention mean our shows are surprising, fun, and memorable.
Execution. Our players and composers are all virtuoso artists. We are committed to realizing everything we do at this level.
Grammy-nominated conductor Andrew Cyr, a “prominent influence in the world of newly emerging music” (Washington Post), is a leader in the rapidly growing contemporary music scene. His passion for creating new platforms for outstanding emerging composers and performing artists led him to found Metropolis Ensemble in 2006.
Cyr's work as conductor has been described by Esa-Pekka Salonen as "...precise, rhythmically incisive and fluid. He made complex new pieces sound natural and organic.” In addition to championing new work from the next generation of composers, Cyr has also led performances and recordings with a broad range of artists who defy classification, including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Ragnar Kjartansson, Emily Wells, Wye Oak, Deerhoof, and the Paris band BabX, among others.
Metropolis Ensemble thrives in a state of creative flux. Resident Artists and Composers rotate in and out and eventually become Alumni; new talent is constantly brought in; every presentation’s concept and many venues are different; and most of Metropolis Ensemble’s music is new.
Through its unique collaborative process, Metropolis Ensemble exists to support ascending contemporary classical performers and composers, often engaging them with other bleeding-edge cultural innovators and artists.
Metropolis Ensemble events result through intense small group collaborations between its Resident Artists, Composers, and Artistic Director Andrew Cyr. These collaborations start with the initial conceptualization and don’t end until the last performance.
For over a decade Metropolis has served as an incubator for today’s most outstanding emerging composers and performers to present bold new work. The organization has commissioned over 150 works of music from a dynamic mix of emerging composers.
By fostering the commission and creation of outstanding new music, we providing vital support to leading young composers by facilitating a work's performance, recording, radio broadcast, online video and audio streaming, and enable young composers to collaborate with expert musicians who are passionate about the work of their contemporaries.
In addition, Metropolis Ensemble composers are often commissioned multiple times, across a span of several seasons, to allow them the opportunity to develop a body of work, explore new ground, and receive promotional and career support through performances, recordings, marketing, publicity, and mentoring.
Through this model of collaborative and foundational support, Metropolis is investing in the present and future vibrancy of classical music.
Metropolis Ensemble’s most recent studio album entitled “Spiritual America” (music by William Brittelle), was released in 2019 in a new collaboration with Nonesuch and New Amsterdam Records (also made in collaboration with the indie-band Wye Oak and The Grammy-Award Winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus).
Metropolis Ensemble also recently collaborated in studio with artist Emily Wells, developing a co-commission for composer Michi Wiancko with Saint Paul’s Liquid Music Series, to create and record Wells’ latest album project entitled, “This World is Too___For You.” Metropolis Ensemble performed this album as part of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival on June 22, 2019.
Metropolis Ensemble also appeared with The Roots on their critically acclaimed albums on Def Jam Records “Undun” and “and then you shoot your cousin” and in 2014, was invited to perform excerpts from the album on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Also in 2014, producer David Frost received a Classical Producer of the Year Grammy Award for work that included Metropolis Ensemble’s recording of the music of Brooklyn-based composer Timo Andres, recorded at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall and released on Nonesuch Records. Metropolis Ensemble has won Canada’s prestigious Juno Award (2013) and 2010 a Grammy-Award nomination for their debut album.
Embodying the fluidity of today’s music scene, Metropolis Ensemble has also collaborated with a wide-array of artists who defy classification, including several large-scale concert productions with Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, presented at BAM and Philadelphia’s Verizon Center.
Metropolis has also performed with artists such as Oscar-Nominated filmmaker Rithy Panh, Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, Oscar-Winning composer Tan Dun, independent creators and bands such as Wye Oak, Deerhoof, San Fermin, BabX, Emily Wells, Sonnymoon, Jeremy Ellis,Tom Krell and How to Dress Well, and jazz greats David Murray and DD Jackson.
To illustrate a recent collaboration, Metropolis Ensemble partnered with Cambodian Living Arts and The Office to create Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia, a new multi-disciplinary work written by survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide. This project has toured Melbourne, Paris, Boston, New York, Taiwan, and Cambodia.
In 2017, Metropolis Ensemble began a bold new experiment by operating our own pop-up event space entitled 1 Rivington, named after its address.
The loft, a former art gallery, has been home to over 60 chamber music concerts to date, ranging from a Fraser episode set to music by Doug Balliett; residencies featuring award-winning string quartets such as MIVOS, Argus, Aizuri quartets; collaborations with new composer collectives like Kinds of Kings; 2 piano festivals with David Kaplan and Piano Blueprints, in partnership with Yahama; and dozens of composer and performer-curated experiments, new music projects, workshops, and performances.
Metropolis Ensemble is also equally dedicated to making a difference in its local community via its education program for underserved children called Youth Works.
The program reaches over 400 middle school students across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx through innovative partnerships with organizations such as the Young Composers and Improviser’s Workshop, TEAK, and ComposerCraft to teach music composition and perform student works.
By bringing together the very best and brightest young composers and instrumentalists, Metropolis Ensemble empowers emerging classical talent with the right resources to create new platforms and launch sustainable careers.
Through this model of collaborative and foundational support, Metropolis invests in the present and future vibrancy of classical music. In recent seasons, Metropolis-affiliated artists have received some of the highest accolades, including The Guggenheim Fellowship, The Pulitzer Prize, The Rome Prize, Grammy Awards and Nominations, and many of the top competition prizes world-wide.
Metropolis Ensemble composers have gone on to be commissioned, engaged as composer-in-residence, and performed by some of the most prestigious orchestras and organizations in the world including: Chicago Symphony, LA Philharmonic, Royal Opera House of London, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Festival, Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society, and the Salzburg Festival, among others.
Metropolis Ensemble's unique vision enables these emerging composers the opportunity to engage their artistry with a top-notch flexible musical ensemble composed of the most sought-after musicians. These include recent national and international competition winners and finalists as well as current participants in the most prestigious young artist programs and new music ensembles, such as Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two, The Academy of Carnegie Hall, Marlboro, ICE, Astral Artists, and Concert Artists Guild.
The enthusiasm, skill, and advocacy that these young musicians embody for the music of their time infuses our concerts with virtuosity, artistic integrity, and spirit.
In 2011, The Artists Fund was established to honor the vision of Metropolis Ensemble board member June Wu and her passionate dedication to our community of composers and artists. The Artists Fund helped Metropolis launch our Resident Artist Series, among other artist-led creative and career-building endeavors, to more fully engage our mission to emerge the next generation of outstanding composers and musicians.
Please consider making a generous commitment to The Artists Fund with a tax-deductible contribution online now in honor of June and the work she so strongly champions. Thank you for supporting Metropolis Ensemble!
In recent seasons, Metropolis-affiliated artists have received some of the highest accolades, including The Guggenheim Fellowship, The Pulitzer Prize, The Rome Prize, Grammy Awards and Nominations, and many of the top competition prizes world-wide.
Many Metropolis Ensemble alumni are now leading the top orchestra’s world-wide, including of recent note: Frank Huang (concertmaster, New York Philharmonic), Andrew Wan (concertmaster, Montreal Symphony), Erin Keefe (concertmaster, Minnesota Orchestra), among others. Resident Composers have included internationally recognized composers such as Avner Dorman, Du Yun, David Bruce, Vivian Fung, Timo Andres, Anna Clyne, and Caroline Shaw.
Metropolis Ensemble composers have gone on to be commissioned, engaged as composer-in-residence, and performed by some of the most prestigious orchestras and organizations in the world including: Chicago Symphony, LA Philharmonic, Royal Opera House of London, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Festival, Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society, and the Salzburg Festival, among others.
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Andrew Cyr, founder/artistic director
Molly Joyce, media and web marketing
Sequoia Sellinger, program coordinator
Christopher Botta, engineer and production
June Wu, president
Jennifer Salomon, secretary
Mikhail Iliev, treasurer
Edward Jones, president emeritus
Mali Sananikone Gaw