In 2007 we posted an article entitled, Alias: A New Kind of Ensemble. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight it can easily seen that Alias was, and still is, part of a trend—a movement among musicians to form “alternative ensembles.” In an effort to understand more about this trend, the Eastman School of Music recently inaugurated the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research with its focus on alternative ensembles.
But, what is an “alternative ensemble?” While the field is constantly evolving, the Paul Judy Center finds that alternative ensembles typically embody one or more of these features:
- Non-traditional instrumentation, or instrumentation that is flexible
- Artist centered, possibly artist-run, and/or innovative methods of organization and management
- New and engaging ways of connecting with audiences
- Participatory concert atmospheres
- Performances in unique venues and drawing in new concert-goers
- Multimedia or interdisciplinary components
- Innovation in music programming (Not necessarily new music focused – combining musical genres, finding unique threads and themes between works, presenting unique perspectives or presentations of music old or new)
In the 2007 article that follows you will see that Alias fits many, if not all of our parameters. Take a look at the Alias website. They have continued to evolve. A lot can happen in six years. . . .and look for more on alternative ensembles here on Polyphonic. Read the article here.