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Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble

Lauded for providing “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for adventurous concertgoers,” Zeitgeist is a new music chamber ensemble comprised of two percussion, piano and woodwinds. One of the longest established new music groups in the country, Zeitgeist commissions and presents a wide variety of new music for audiences in the Twin Cities and on tour. Always eager to explore new artistic frontiers, Zeitgeist collaborates with poets, choreographers, directors, visual artists and sound artists of all types to create imaginative new work that challenges the boundaries of traditional chamber music.

Zeitgeist has maintained a fierce dedication to the creation of new music for the past three decades, commissioning more than 400 works and collaborating with emerging composers and some of the finest established composers of our time. Highlights include Sound Stage by Paul Dresher (2001), a music-theater work featuring Zeitgeist and a 17-foot high musical pendulum, Walker Art Center premieres of Pine Eyes by Martin Bresnick (2006) and The Making of Americans by Anthony Gatto and Jay Scheib (2008), a 30th anniversary celebration (2008) Glancing Back/Charging Forward: 30 Years of Groundbreaking Music featuring the world premieres of works by 30 Minnesota composers, For the Birds (2010), an evening-length chamber suite with narration by composer Victor Zupanc and humorist Kevin Kling, the premiere of Spiral XIV “Nimmitta” (2012) by Cambodian American composer Chinary Ung, and Saint Paul Food Opera (2016), a dining and music collaboration between composer Ben Houge and five Saint Paul chefs.

Zeitgeist has released numerous recordings, including She is a Phantom (music of Harold Budd),  Shape Shifting (music by Scott Miller, poetry by Philippe Costaglioli), In Bone-Colored Light (works by Ethan Wickman, Anthony Gatto, Katherine Jackanich, and Jerome Kitzke), Night Singing (music of Andrew Rindfleisch), Tipping Point (chamber works by Scott Miller), and For the Birds (music by Victor Zupanc, poetry by Kevin Kling).

Zeitgeist played works in progress by composers Jarrad Powell and David Mahler at Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Music in Motion project, a nation-wide endeavour sponsored by Relache designed to have a dramatic impact on the process of creation and presentation of new musical works for mixed ensembles by composers from diverse cultures.  Jack Straw in collaboration with Cornish College of the Arts and Relache, hosted a Music in Motion event at its studios on March 8th, 1996. In addition to the mentioned works in progress, Zeitgeist played compositions by Tony Stark and W.C. Handy. The members at the time were Jay Johnson on Percussion, Heather Barringer on Percussion, Tom Linker on Piano and Ruth MacKenzie on Voice.

Composer in Residence 1996 : Performed and recorded works in progress by Music in Motion resident composers Jarrad Powell and David Mahler, as well as Tony Stark and W.C. Handy.