ABOUT THE BLACKBOX ENSEMBLE
The BlackBox Ensemble is a New York City-based contemporary music ensemble devoted to using new music as a platform to engage critically with the social and cultural issues of our time. We do so by curating thought-provoking programs that reflect this mission. Sometimes, this means producing concerts with works that speak directly to specific social issues; other times, this means curating programs that ask questions about the role of arts in social change.
Our name, BlackBox, is inspired by this term's meaning in other fields. In theatre, a Black Box is a type of performance space - usually a square room with black walls - that offers flexible staging and seating arrangements, creating an environment ripe for creative experimentation and intimate human connection. Meanwhile, in science, computing, and the humanities, a "black box" is a system with defined inputs and outputs whose inner workings are unknown. We believe that music, as a cultural medium, fills the role of the black box, enacting an ambiguous but vital relationship between artistic expression and social life. In doing so, we follow the inspiration of the theatrical definition – to foster experimentation, innovation, and human connection.
Since our founding in the summer of 2018, the BlackBox Ensemble has performed ambitious programs in venues throughout New York City. Recent projects included a Julius Eastman “Play-In,” a performance of Julius Eastman’s “Femenine” in Marsha P. Johnson State Park; a program of works by inti figgis-vizueta, Katherine Balch, and Frederic Rzewski at Spectrum in December 2019; and a performance of Julius Eastman’s “Gay Guerrilla” at the Church of St. John’s in the Village as part of the Stonewall50 Festival. In December 2020, we realized Elegy, a visual concert featuring music by Juhi Bansal, Carlos Simon, Yaz Lancaster, Brittany J. Green and Jessica Mays, along with a companion album. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of Ian A. Frederick’s CONDOR, a four-movement piece based on the works of Colombian artist Alejandro Obregón, and a collaboration with composer-vocalist Tanner Porter.