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​​​​​​​International Contemporary Ensemble Announces Leadership Transitions 

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Changes include bassoonist Rebekah Heller's transition from Co-Artistic Director to Board Member and more.

​​​​​​​International Contemporary Ensemble Announces Leadership Transitions 

The pioneering International Contemporary Ensemble announces bassoonist Rebekah Heller's transition from Co-Artistic Director to Board Member, and welcomes a new cohort of Board Members with close ties to the Ensemble: Marcos Balter, David Byrd-Marrow, and Du Yun. Eddy Kwon joins the Ensemble's staff as Director of Individual Giving.

After a decade of service on the staff of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Rebekah Heller transitions to a new role on the Board of Directors. During her nearly three-year tenure as Co-Artistic Artistic Director, Heller worked to center the group's artistic planning around partnerships and initiatives that advanced socially engaged programming, and policies and practices that maximized performer agency. She will continue to provide her leadership and fundraising expertise from her seat on the Board, and will remain on as a bassoonist in the Ensemble, participating in both performance and mentorship opportunities, including a robust partnership with the College of Performing Arts at The New School, where Heller is a faculty member. Heller's next artistic project focuses on community-building, and a celebration of diverse artistic voices in the bassoon world, featuring works for seven bassoons by Finola Merivale, Clifton Joey Guidry III, and Anahita Abbasi. An upcoming collaboration with Matana Roberts is also in the works.

Rebekah Heller says, "I am thrilled to continue serving the musical community, and this incredible organization, in a new role on the Board of Directors. And to join with a cohort of new board members that include such close collaborators and brilliant artists is a dream come true. I have high hopes that under the continued stellar leadership of Jennifer Kessler and Ross Karre, and the incredible group of innovators on the Board, we will continue to blaze trails in artistic ingenuity, racial and social justice in the soundmaking world, and compassionate leadership in mentoring early-career artists."

"Rebekah Heller mesmerizes audiences from the stage. But behind the scenes, she has elevated countless voices to new expressive heights." says Artistic Director Ross Karre. "The arts ecosystem is fueled by her tireless integrity and bottomless compassion. We all owe her a huge gesture of gratitude for her work with the International Contemporary Ensemble and her dynamic presence beyond."

Interdisciplinary artist and development professional Eddy Kwon recently joined the staff as Director of Individual Giving to continue to lead and develop the Ensemble's fundraising activities. Until 2020, Kwon served as Artistic Director of Price Hill Will, a non-profit comprehensive community development corporation serving the diverse neighborhood of Price Hill, Cincinnati. "For the past two decades, the International Contemporary Ensemble has worked tirelessly to cultivate a more engaged, adventurous, and connected cultural ecosystem through music. I'm thrilled to be joining the fantastic team at this critical juncture, and I look forward to working with the incredible staff, board, and band to deepen and expand the Ensemble's community of supporters," says Kwon.

In this moment of leadership transition, three other artists, who are close collaborators of the Ensemble, join the Board. Esteemed composer Marcos Balter has been developing new work with the Ensemble since 2005. "Having collaborated with the Ensemble since its early days, I'm excited to join the Board and its quest for a future of continuous curiosity and limitlessness," says Balter. Horn player David Byrd-Marrow joined the Ensemble in 2008 and has since been a part of numerous world premiere performances, commissions, and the Ensemble's summer program Ensemble Evolution. Du Yun, a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble and Pulitzer Prize-winner, joins the Board with great enthusiasm, stating, "2020 is a year of catalyst. 2020 is a year, for many of us, of re-assessment, of pausing and recharging. It is an exciting time to join the Board of the International Contemporary Ensemble, a group that I grew up with. It is a moment of transfiguration that I am looking forward to. It is a necessary time to shift together. Let's dream collectively again what collaborations would mean in today's world, and furthermore, what kind of music we will make and lead, in years beyond 2020."

Executive Director Jennifer Kessler says, "As part of our journey to re-imagine our future as a musical collective through the lenses of justice and equity, it is imperative that our board members, and key decision-makers at the International Contemporary Ensemble, bring a breadth and depth of knowledge from many different fields, as well as a commitment to equity. We are thrilled to welcome extraordinary leadership to the International Contemporary Ensemble: Marcos Balter, David Byrd-Marrow, Rebekah Heller, and Du Yun, who each bring deep artistic and educational experience to the Board of Directors, and Eddy Kwon as our Director of Individual Giving, who grew a community development organization exponentially. I am excited to work with them and the rest of the board on our next chapter of transformation, to ensure that as we continue to create spaces for artists to develop, perform, and collaborate on their works, we work to amplify the voices of composers and artists who have historically been under-represented on the world's stages."

Board President Claude Arpels says, "We are very excited about Rebekah joining the Board. No one knows this organization like she does, and her fundraising skills are invaluable to us, especially at this uncertain time. Three other artists will join the board with her, each of whom has a long history with the Ensemble. This brings the number of artists on our fourteen-person board to eight, which means we now have artist leadership at the board as well as the operating level."

About Rebekah Heller
Bassoonist Rebekah Heller is a dynamic soloist, collaborative artist, improviser, curator, and educator. A member of the International Contemporary Ensemble since 2008, Heller's professional journey epitomizes a hybrid career path that celebrates robust and diverse interests. Her passion for commissioning and performing new music, coupled with her expertise as a pedagogue, organizational dreamer, fundraiser, and conscientious curator, makes her uniquely positioned to guide early-career artists and arts organizations that seek to forge their own way. Heller is a passionate mentor and educator, and has given numerous lectures and workshops to young artists across the world. She joined the faculty of the College of Performing Arts (CoPA) and The Mannes School of Music at The New School in the fall of 2019.

Heller made her solo debut with the New York Philharmonic in September 2018, playing the music of longtime International Contemporary Ensemble collaborator Ash Fure, and has been a soloist with the Seattle Symphony, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony, among others. Before joining the International Contemporary Ensemble, Rebekah served as Principal Bassoonist of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. She lives in Manhattan. More info at

About Eddy Kwon
Eddy Kwon (they/them/their) is an interdisciplinary artist and development professional based in Cincinnati & Brooklyn. They are a 2016 United States Artists Ford Fellow and a finalist for the 2020 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities (Americans For The Arts). Until 2020, Eddy served as Artistic Director of Price Hill Will, a non-profit comprehensive community development corporation serving the diverse neighborhood of Price Hill, Cincinnati. As Artistic Director, Eddy was instrumental in integrating the arts and creative engagement into the organization's strategy for inclusive, equitable development. With Eddy's leadership, the arts budget grew by 400% and nearly all arts leadership positions were filled by Black, Latinx, POC, and trans/non-binary staff. As a violinist/violist, improviser, and movement artist, Eddy has collaborated with The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Roscoe Mitchell, Famoudou Don Moye, Akua Dixon, Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell, Jens Lekman, Degenerate Art Ensemble, and Senga Nengudi.

About Marcos Balter
Praised by The Chicago Tribune as "minutely crafted" and "utterly lovely," The New York Times as "whimsical" and "surreal," and The Washington Post as "dark and deeply poetic," the music of composer Marcos Balter (b.1974, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is at once emotionally visceral and intellectually complex, primarily rooted in experimental manipulations of timbre and hyper-dramatization of live performance. Past honors include fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the Tanglewood Music Center (Leonard Bernstein Fellow) as well as commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Music Now, Meet the Composer, Fromm Foundation at Harvard, The Holland/America Music Society, The MacArthur Foundation, and the Art Institute of Chicago. His works are published by PSNY (Schott), and commercial recordings of his music are available through New Amsterdam Records, New Focus Recording, Parlour Tapes+, and Navona Records. Learn more at

About David Byrd-Marrow
Atlanta native David Byrd-Marrow is the Solo hornist of the International Contemporary Ensemble. Working with a uniquely wide range of performers, he has premiered works by Matthias Pintscher, Arthur Kampela, George Lewis, Tyshawn Sorey, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, among others. He has performed at festivals including the Ojai Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, and as faculty at the Banff Music Centre. Formerly a member of Carnegie Hall's Ensemble Connect, he has also made appearances with the New York Philharmonic, The Knights, Decoda, the Atlanta and Tokyo symphony orchestras, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Washington National Opera and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Byrd-Marrow received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and Master of Music from Stony Brook University. David is the Assistant Professor of Horn at the Lamont School of Music, of The University of Denver.

About Du Yun
Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York City, works at the intersection of opera, orchestral, theatre, cabaret, musical, oral tradition, public performances, electronics, visual arts, and noise. Her body of work is championed by some of today's finest performing groups and organizations around the world. Known for her "relentless originality and unflinching social conscience" (The New Yorker), Du Yun's second opera, Angel's Bone (libretto by Royce Vavrek), won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize; in 2018 she was named a Guggenheim Fellow; and in 2019, she was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Composition category for her work Air Glow. As an avid performer and bandleader (Ok Miss), her onstage persona has been described by The New York Times as "an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge." Du Yun is Professor of Composition at the Peabody Institute, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. A community champion, Du Yun was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; served as the Artistic Director of MATA Festival (2014-2018); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival (National Sawdust); and founded FutureTradition, a global initiative that illuminates the provenance lineages of folk art and uses these structures to build cross-regional collaborations from the ground up. In 2018, Du Yun was named one of 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Foundation, and in 2019 the Beijing Music Festival named her "Artist of the Year."

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