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Five Boroughs Music Festival Season Features Concerts by Rolston Quartet, Lorelei Ensemble, ICE, UpBeat NYC, and TENET


Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) announces programming for its 2017-2018 season, continuing its mission of bringing affordable, world-class performances of traditional and contemporary chamber music to all five boroughs of New York City.

Throughout the season, 5BMF presents the Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Bronx premieres of the second volume of its Five Borough Songbook. The project, which premiered in Manhattan and Queens last year for 5BMF's 10th anniversary season, features 20 new commissions inspired by New York City places, people and poetry from twenty composers, and includes solo songs, duets and ensemble works scored for various combinations of voice, piano and cello.

The Five Borough Songbook, Volume II receives its Staten Island premiere on Saturday, September 16 at 4:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, preceded by a 3:30 p.m chat with some of the project's commissioned composers and lyricists. The next day, on Sunday, September 17 at 5:00 p.m., the program premieres in the Bronx at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, preceded by a 4:30 p.m. composer chat. The final stop of the borough premiere tour takes place at National Sawdust in Brooklyn on Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a composer chat at 7:00 p.m.

The Five Borough Songbook, Volume II includes works by Matthew Aucoin, Lembit Beecher, Conrad Cummings, Jonathan Dawe, Evan Fein, Daniel Felsenfeld, Herschel Garfein, Whitney George, Marie Incontrera, Laura Kaminsky, Libby Larsen, Hannah Lash, Missy Mazzoli, Jessie Montgomery, Robert Paterson, Paola Prestini, Kevin Puts, Kamala Sankaram, Gregory Spears and Bora Yoon. Performers this season include sopranos Justine Aronson and Marnie Breckenridge; mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider; tenors William Ferguson and Michael Slattery; baritones Christopher Dylan Herbert and Sidney Outlaw; cellist Sophie Shao; and pianists Thomas Bagwell and Erika Switzer.

Additional concerts throughout the season include:

  • A performance by the electrifying Canadian ensemble Rolston String Quartet on Friday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. at South Oxford Space in Brooklyn in a program of Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 18, No. 3; Debussy's String Quartet Op. 10; and Schumann's String Quartet Op. 41, No. 3.
  • A concert featuring the acclaimed all-female vocal group, the Lorelei Ensemble on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at Manhattan's Church of St. Luke in the Fields. The program, entitled Impermanence/Reconstructed, a fascinating melding of early-Renaissance works with contemporary Eastern, Western, and American sounds from across the ages including selected motets by Guillaume Du Fay, Codex Calixtinus, and Torino Codex; Toru Takemitsu's Wind Horse (Vocalise I & II); Peter Gilbert's Tsukimi; Steve Reich's Know What Is Above You; Joshua Bornfield's Reconstruction; Shawn Kirchner's Rose/Riddle Rainbows; Joshua Shank's Saro; William Billings' Africa; and contemporary shape-note tunes by Adam Simon‚ Dana Maiben‚ and Moira Smiley.
  • A collaboration with South-Bronx music education non-profit UpBeat NYC and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. as part of Pregones Theater's "March is Music" week. Under the auspices of ICE's EntICE educational initiative, instrumentalists from ICE will present a concert of contemporary works, performed side-by-side with youth musicians from UpBeat's free, community programs.
  • Two concerts featuring pre-eminent New York City-based early music ensemble TENET on Friday, May 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the King Manor Museum in Queens and Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church Riverdale in the Bronx. The program, The Sounds of Time: Songs of the Trouveres, includes medieval songs by the French troubadours.

"5BMF's 2017-2018 season features the perfect lineup of programs to launch us into our second decade, with the wide variety of chamber music offerings that our audiences have grown to expect from us," says Artistic Director Jesse Blumberg. "We're delighted that our Five Borough Songbook, Volume II will complete its five-borough premiere tour this fall, and we welcome the amazing groups making their 5BMF debuts this season: Rolston String Quartet, Lorelei Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, and UpBeat NYC. In addition, we continue to deepen our relationships with host venues and arts organizations all over the city (we'll be visiting the Bronx three times this season - a first for 5BMF!). It's an honor to bring some of North America's most acclaimed musicians to unexpected venues and neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs this season."

Tickets for all Five Boroughs Music Festival concerts, ranging between $10 and $40, are available by visiting

2017-18 Concert Information

Justine Aronson, soprano (November only)
Thomas Bagwell, piano
Erika Switzer, piano (November only)
Marnie Breckenridge, soprano
Amanda Crider, mezzo-soprano
William Ferguson, tenor (November only)
Michael Slattery, tenor (September only)
Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone (November only)
Sidney Outlaw, baritone
Sophie Shao, cello
Additional performers TBA

Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Composer Chat)
Trinity Lutheran Church - Staten Island Premiere
309 St Pauls Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10304

Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Composer Chat)
Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture - Bronx Premiere
4450 Fieldston Road
Riverdale, New York 10471

Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (7:00 p.m. Composer Chat)
National Sawdust - Brooklyn Premiere
80 N 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249


Luri Lee, Violin
Jeffrey Dyrda, Violin
Hezekiah Leung, Viola
Jonathan Lo, Cello

Friday, October 13, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St
Brooklyn NY 11217


Sarah Brailey, soprano
Margot Rood, soprano
Sonja Tengblad, soprano
Christina English, mezzo-soprano
Clare McNamara, mezzo-soprano
Sophie Michaux, mezzo-soprano
Stephanie Kacoyanis, alto
Emily Marvosh, alto
Beth Willer, alto and conductor

Friday, February 9, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Luke in the Fields
487 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014



Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.
Pregones Theater
571-575 Walton Avenue
Bronx, NY 10451


Jolle Greenleaf, soprano
Virginia Warnken Kelsey, mezzo-soprano
Jason McStoots, tenor
Robert Mealy, vielle
Shira Kammen, winds
Charlie Weaver, lute

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
King Manor Museum
150-03 Jamaica Ave.
Queens, NY 11432

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Christ Church Riverdale
5030 Henry Hudson Pkwy
Bronx, NY 10471



About the Rolston String Quartet
First Prize winner of the prestigious 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Rolston String Quartet has become Canada's newest ensemble attracting attention on the international stage. Previously the Graduate Quartet-in-Residence at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, this fall they take up the position of Yale School of Music's Quartet-in-Residence. The quartet has participated in residencies and fellowships at the Académie musicale de Villecroze, Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, McGill International String Quartet Academy, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, and the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festival. The Rolston String Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity's Chamber Music Residency. They take their name after the Canadian violinist Thomas Rolston, founder and long-time director of the Music and Sound Programs at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. They were the only ensemble to be featured on CBC's 2016 list of hot Canadian classical musicians under 30.

About the Lorelei Ensemble
Heralded for its "warm, lithe, and beautifully blended" (The New York Times) sound and "impeccable musicality" (The Boston Globe), Boston's Lorelei Ensemble is quickly becoming recognized as a source of some of the most innovative and inventive programming in Boston and beyond. Lorelei is an all-professional vocal ensemble, comprising nine women whose expertise ranges from early to contemporary repertoire, and whose independent careers as soloists and ensemble singers across the globe lend to the rich and diverse vocal palette that defines the ensemble's consistent delivery of "exact, smooth, and stylish" programming (The Boston Globe). Committed to the expansion of the repertoire for women's voices, Lorelei has commissioned and premiered more than fifty new works since its founding in 2007, and continues to expose and reinvent early works of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque repertoires. Lorelei also works with established and emerging composers from the United States and abroad to create new works that reveal the extraordinary flexibility and strength of the human voice.

About UpBeat NYC
UpBeat NYC is a nonprofit organization that employs the beauty and challenges of music making to ignite a sense of possibility for children living in the South Bronx. Liza Austria and Richard Miller founded UpBeat in 2009 to address the lack of performing arts opportunities for New York City children, especially those residing in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx. The program serves children and families who have limited access to high quality arts education by providing immersive year-round music instruction during after school hours. As more and more children became consistent participants, they were able to form an ensemble that began performing in the neighborhood and around the city. The ensemble, now called the UpBeat Youth Orchestra, gave over 20 public performances in NYC last season, in venues such as El Museo del Barrio, the Hostos Center for Culture and the Arts, the Cinco de Mayo Festival in Flushing Meadow Park, the Lincoln Hospital, The New York City Marathon, the Longwood Arts Festival, Mott Haven Library's Summer Reading Kick-off, International Worker's Day, South Bronx Unite's Waterfront Celebration and the Queens Museum of Art. UpBeat now also boasts a Jazz and Latin Big Band, a Children's Orchestra, and a Children and Parent's Choir.

About the International Contemporary Ensemble
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble's 35 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE's programming since its founding in 2001, and the group's recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music's present. A recipient of the American Music Center's Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE has been featured at the Ojai Music Festival since 2015, and has appeared at festivals abroad such as Acht Brücken Cologne and Musica nova Helsinki.

Preëminent New York City-based early music ensemble TENET celebrates its ninth season in 2017-18. Under Artistic Director Jolle Greenleaf, TENET has won acclaim for its innovative programming, virtuosic singing and command of repertoire that spans the Middle Ages to the present day. Highlights of recent seasons include performances of J.S. Bach's motets, a three-year cycle of Carlo Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories, annual performances of works by Purcell and his contemporaries celebrating St. Cecilia (music's patron saint), a medieval survey series called The Sounds of Time, and original theatrical performances highlighting works composed by, for, and about women in 17th century Italy. Renowned for their interpretations of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, TENET's distinguished soloists' have been praised for their pristine one-voice-to-a-part singing "to an uncanny degree of precision" (The Boston Globe).

About Five Boroughs Music Festival
Five Boroughs Music Festival's mission is to enrich communities and cultivate new audiences by bringing world-class, affordable chamber music to all corners of New York City. 5BMF collaborates with local cultural institutions to present up-and-coming artists alongside the genre's most distinguished performers, and challenges the standard definition of 'chamber music' by presenting a broad range of musical styles, from early music to contemporary works, world music and other non-classical forms.

Led by founders Jesse Blumberg and Donna Breitzer since 2007, 5BMF has presented over 50 traditional and contemporary chamber music programs in ten complete cycles around NYC. Described as "imaginative" by The New York Times and "vital" by WQXR's Operavore blog, 5BMF's commitment to musical outreach and diverse programming has attracted positive attention from the NYC arts community from its earliest days. 5BMF's artist roster is comprised of diverse, talented emerging artists and distinguished musicians alike. Its venues are just as eclectic, and have included historic NYC landmarks such as Federal Hall, the University Church at Fordham University, Flushing Town Hall, King Manor Museum, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, among many others.

To mark its fifth season in 2011-2012, 5BMF commissioned 20 composers to create the Five Borough Songbook, a collection of 20 unique songs inspired by New York City places, themes and poetry. Throughout the course of the season, the Songbook premiered in every borough of NYC, and was released as a double-CD studio album in 2011 by Roven Records. Following the success of the original Songbook, 5BMF commissioned a second volume of 20 new works for its 10th anniversary; the resulting Songbook, Volume II will premiere in all five boroughs of NYC throughout 2017.

5BMF's programming is rooted in familiar classical music traditions, but is inclusive of a broad range of styles; art song recitals, early music, new music and other non-classical forms are all represented. By employing a broad definition of chamber music and sustaining a commitment to artistic outreach by bringing world class programs to neighborhoods all over the city, 5BMF offers an affordable, intimate concert experience to a wide variety of New York City audiences.

Please visit or email for more information.Five Boroughs Music Festival Season Features Concerts by Rolston Quartet, Lorelei Ensemble, ICE, UpBeat NYC, and TENET

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