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International Contemporary Ensemble Announces Leadership Transitions


Rebekah Heller, Marcos Balter, David Byrd-Marrow & Du Yun appointed to Board, Eddy Kwon appointed Director of Individual Giving

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."

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